Melanie Hall

Ska and Mod Fest @ Riverside Live 2015

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Bruce Foxton

As many look to the release of the major festival line-ups for this summer, there’s a new festival launching right here in the North East.

A Ska and Mod Festival featuring Bruce Foxton from The Jam plus The Selecter, Secret Affair and The Lambrettas, along with more bands to be confirmed, on bank holiday Sunday, May 24, at Chester-le-Street Riverside Park.

Organiser of the one-day festival, Carl Marshall said: “It is great for us to announce that Bruce Foxton will bring the Mod sound to the Riverside for our first major gig. “

Offering a full day of music, with gates opening at 11.30am and performances throughout the day, the event finishes with a 90-minute set by Foxton’s as part of his The Public Gets What The Public Wants tour. Foxton is known as the bass player in legendary bands The Jam and Stiff Little Fingers, and shows his versatility as a musician, taking the lead on vocals in From The Jam. Foxton’s vocal ability was proven before he took lead vocals on David Watts (The Kinks) and News of the World.

Fellow bandmates come in the form of Russell Hastings, who joined Foxton in 2006, when both were touring with band The Gift. Finishing the power trio is drummer Smiley. Though the newest addition to the band, Smiley is arguably the most sought-after drummer on the planet. His previous work has won him the title of the backbone to a mass of great musicians including Joe Strummer, Robbie Williams, Bad Company, Squeeze and Steve Cooper, to name a few.

The 90-minute set by the band includes Jam classics such as Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, Town Called Malice, Going Underground and many more.

Other acts on the line-up include 2tone veterans The Selecter.  Their debut album, Too Much Pressure, was released in 1980 and remains a classic touchstone for a generation of ska lovers. Mixing punk, ska and reggae, it contains the irresistible hits On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Missing Words. The Selecter returned in 2011, fronted by the original singing duo of the 2-tone era, Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson.

Following the reunion of their original line-up, the band released the ten-track album, Made In Britain, in 2011, featuring covers of Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and a hugely popular anti-racist ska/reggae re-working of Woody Guthrie’s All You Fascists Bound To Lose’ – re-invented as Big In The Body- Small In The Mind. In 2013, they released another new album entitled String Theory to rave reviews and toured venues and festivals all over the world, including the influential Coachella USA festival.

Last year was The Selecter’s 35th anniversary and not only have they never sounded better, they are also still incredibly exciting and vital. They played Too Much Pressure in its entirety, plus a selection of other much-loved Selecter tracks at tours and festivals around the world in 2014, including Isle of Wight Festival and Glastonbury.

The rest of the line-up includes Secret Affair, The Lambrettas, Logoz, The last Faken, The Style Selektors, The Whodlums and many more.

Carl added: “With a full day of themed music planned, it is sure to be a great day to relax and enjoy the music and atmosphere and we have kept the ticket prices at a level that will attract all lovers of music.”

The festival is a 14+ event and under 18s are welcome to attend, providing they are supervised by an adult.

Ska and Mod Festival, Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street, May 24. Early bird tickets on sale now at £25 plus postage for a limited period, before standard tickets become available at £35 plus postage.

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