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Pete Brown Band at last year's Beatles Day (photo: Andrew Clifton).

Pete Brown Band at last year’s Beatles Day (photo: Andrew Clifton).

Beatles Day 20 – as founder Pete prepares to say goodbye

It’s the 20th edition of Beatles Day this Sunday and founder and mainstay Pete Prescott’s last hurrah. He takes his leave as organiser against the background of a record number of acts and the inauguration of a fourth stage to accommodate them all. Nick Terdre reports.

In 2000, when Pete Prescott had the serendipitous idea of organising an afternoon of music dedicated solely to the Beatles, he little guessed where it would lead to. This Sunday sees the 20th edition of Beatles Day at White Rock Theatre, now its established headquarters.

Over the years the show has just gone on growing – there’s no shortage of musicians willing to give their time and music for nothing. Altogether this year there will be a record number of 104 acts and more than 500 performers, Pete tells HOT.

quartet 350

Photo: Andrew Clifton.

To accommodate the increased numbers a second acoustic stage will be opened in the main bar on the ground floor. That makes stage no 4, in addition to the stages in the main auditorium and the Sussex Hall stage downstairs, and the acoustic stage in the upstairs bar.

Beatles Day is an enthusiastic supporter of MacMillan Cancer Support, which receives all the profits. Last year this amounted to just over £27,000, bringing the grand total over the years to £275,000.

Twenty years and out

By the time Sunday is over, Pete hopes that the magical figure of £300,000 will have been reached. After 20 years he is planning, anyway, to give up his role as committee chairman. Although there are five other committee members taking care of matters such as sponsors and social media communications, he has a hands-on role liaising with the bands, organising sound systems, keyboards, drum kits and all sorts and generally keeping the show on the road.

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Photo: Johnny Powell.

“It’s quite stressful,” he says. “In fact from January through to March it’s bloody awful!” A successor is being sought to take over – one promising candidate has been identified. Beatles Day is such an established part of Hastings’ musical calendar that it’s inconceivable that it could come cease when Pete steps down.

However our man intends to continue making his musical contribution. This year, with an eight-piece band, he will present his traditional offering of side two of the Abbey Road album, as well as making several guest appearances with other acts. And in future? “If asked, I’ll still perform,” he says.

The usual suspects will all be there, says Pete, reeling off a list of names: Claire Hamill, Liane Carroll, Gypsy John and the Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers, Chantelle Duncan, The Rockitmen, Pass the Cat, Rufus Stone, Mike Hatchard, the Hastings Stage School, Autistix – and that’s just the main stage. A full listing can be found on the Beatles Day website.

 

Beatles Day 20 Sunday 7 April, 12 noon-10.30pm, White Rock Theatre, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX. Admission: adult £15, child 5-14 years £7.50, family tickets £35. Available on the door or online (£1 booking fee on online purchases).

trio 600

Photo: Andrew Clifton.

 

 

 

 

Posted 23:25 Friday, Apr 5, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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