80s revival festival to hit Cheltenham next summer
By David Wood
Where: Jonny Rocks Stadium, Cheltenham
When: Saturday, May 23
Discover the 80s is one of the most exciting events to join the Cheltenham's summer music calendar, featuring Marc Almond, Heather Small, The South, China Crisis and Johnny Hates Jazz in one incredible line-up.
This is retro revival at its finest, promising an unforgettable night of evocative fun and some of the best music from the decade.
Marc Almond is an internationally acclaimed music artist who has sold over 30 million records worldwide and is an icon and influence to a generation of musicians. The former founder of 'electro duo' Soft Cell alongside David Bell, who achieved international acclaim with four albums and the hugely successful single Tainted Love. Soft Cell parted amicably in 1984 to pursue solo projects, after which Marc recorded the innovative and influential double album Torment and Toreros with Marc and the Mambas. A diverse and hugely successful solo career has followed, with more than a dozen musical albums and a second number one single; Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart in 1989 with 60s legend Gene Pitney.
Heather Small has enjoyed huge acclaim both as the former lead singer of M People and in a solo capacity as one of the seminal British voices of the time, not to mention a number of TV appearances with her infectious personality and sense of humour earning her place in the heart of the public. As part of M People, hits such as Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero achieved massive worldwide success. Heather has since had great successes with two solo
albums, with the title track of her Proud album going on to become the soundtrack to a whole host of very special events including London's successful 2012 Olympic bid, the 60th anniversary of VE Day in Trafalgar Square and England's victory at the Rugby World Cup celebrations.
The South are an impressive nine-piece band who feature former members of pop rock group The Beautiful South, who achieved over 15 million record sales, including singer Alison Wheeler and lifelong sax player Gaz Birtles. Since Dave Hemingway, the original singer, left the group at the end of 2016, Gaz has moved across to front the band with Alison and taken on vocal duties. They play the songs made famous by The Beautiful South - A Little Time (the number one single), Perfect 10, Rotterdam, Old Red Eyes Is Back, Good as Gold and Don't Marry Her plus many more singles and album tracks as well as a few choice South originals. Their songs span an impressive 20-year career starting way back in 1989!
China Crisis emerged in 1981 from their native Kirkby, Merseyside, as the song writing duo of vocalist/keyboardist Gary Daly and
guitarist/vocalist Eddie Lundon, who over the years have been accompanied by a gifted and creative but ever-mutable group of musicians both on stage and in their recordings. They are renowned for not just stretching the creative limits of their time but incorporating horns, strings, woodwinds, pedal steel; the result is an explosive combination of distinctive sounds that present elements of jazz, reggae, country and their own impressive melodies and harmonies. The clearly identifiable China Crisis sound has seen them garner an impressive 11 UK Top 50 singles and three UK Top 40 albums.
Johnny Hates Jazz consists of singer-songwriter Clark Datchler (vocals, keyboards) and producer-engineer Mike Nocito (bass guitar). The band is best known for a cycle of
hits in the late 1980s, the most successful being Shattered Dreams. Released in March 1987 it became a Top Five hit in the UK and throughout mainland Europe and Asia. This was followed by four other worldwide hits, being the anti-war anthem, I Don't Want To Be A Hero, Turn Back The Clock (featuring Kim Wilde on backing vocals), Heart Of Gold and Don't Say Its Love. In 1988 their album Turn Back The Clock entered the UK charts at Number One, going triple-platinum and selling over four million copies in the process. It is arguably one of the definitive albums of the 1980s.
Liz Doogan-Hobbs MBE, CEO of LHG Events, said "We're thrilled to announce yet another music offering to Cheltenham and are looking forward to working with the team at Jonny-Rocks Stadium again. It's a fantastic venue.
"Retro fans are in for an absolute treat with this incredible 80s line-up and we hope to see as many of you as possible. Be sure to embrace the theme and dress in your own take on 80s style, and really embrace the evening. Bring on the neon, bring on the shades, and let's have a party!"
Tickets for Discover the 80s go on general sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday, November 22) and will be available from the Cheltenham Town Football Club website.
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