Sgt Pepper top of the bill at Beatles Day
It’s Beatles Day at White Rock Theatre this Sunday so it must be spring! There’s a special anniversary this year – it’s 50 years since the phenomenal Sgt Pepper album was launched on an unsuspecting world. Nick Terdre remembers it well. Photos by Russell Jacobs of the 2016 event.
It was epoch-changing – but I won’t bore you with the details, just have another listen. Even 50 years on it’s still amazing.
So it will obviously feature on Beatles Day. But not to excess – organiser Pete Prescott has a long-standing policy of ensuring we don’t get too many renditions of the same songs. Once a number of performers have signed up to do Blackbird, or whatever, he asks others to do something else. After all, there’s plenty to choose from.
But there will be a Sgt Pepper climax, featuring “the best bits” and performed by a band put together for the occasion by Pete, with Claire Hamill, Martin Blackman and the man himself on vocals. That will be the penultimate act on the main stage, at 10pm.
Something to look forward to, then – if you’ve got the stamina. Getting the most out of Beatles Day, a 10 and a half-hour marathon starting at midday, is a physical challenge as well as a musical cornucopia. Ninety seven acts, with some 500 musicians, will be appearing on the theatre’s three stages: the Sussex Hall in the basement and the intimate acoustic stage in the upstairs cafe bar in addition to the main stage.
There are 23 new acts this year, including Cushty, Black Sheep, The Three of Us, Charlie’s Angels, the Kayleigh Ann Band, As Is Now, Cool Ukes, Keren Keeler-Moore, Sharon Selens and Katie Louise Wren. There’s Hall & Blokes Ukulele Band, reggae band Mighty Sounds and Geri and The Attrix – obviously they’ve been given an early slot.
Also watch out for the Savoy Truffles – four girls doing a song each backed by Pete’s band. Altogether 10 of Pete’s music students will be performing during the day.
There are the usual Hastings veterans including Carol Prior, Roger Carey, Mike Hatchard and Rick Pentecost, and no shortage of local choirs and ensembles such as Sound Waves, Vocal Explosion, Hastings Gospel Soul Choir, the Conquest Choir, the Hastings Stage Studio School for the Performing Arts and dance troupe Gypsy John and the Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers.
Stall in town centre
To help publicise the event t-shirts, raffle tickets and memorabilia have been sold from a stall in the town centre the last couple of weekends. It will be there again on Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 4pm outside Café Nero.
Admission on the day is £15 for an adult. Wait a minute, wasn’t it only £12.50 for an adult last year? But think, what do you pay to see one or two acts performing for two or three hours here or at other venues in town? It’s a no-brainer – “I’ve been told by so many people that the ticket price is stupidly low,” says Pete.
Who would argue with that? Especially when we remember that all monies raised go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Last year it was around £26,000, and since Beatles Day started, the accumulated sum is close to £200,000. So keep up the good work, Beatles Day! And may a splendid time be guaranteed for all!
Beatles Day 2017 Sunday 2 April, White Rock Theatre, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX. Doors open 11.30am. Adults £15, children 5-14 years £7.50, family ticket (two adults plus two children or one adult plus three children) £35.
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