Tributes to guitar hero who died while performing on stage

Allan's death has shocked and stunned the Barnoldswick community
Allan's death has shocked and stunned the Barnoldswick community
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Tributes are pouring in for a “legendary guitarist” who collapsed and died while performing on stage at a music festival.

Allan Parkinson, a member of rock band Dark Horse, was playing in front of hundreds of fans at Barnoldswick’s Bands on the Square (BOTS) event on Sunday evening when he collapsed.

Despite first aiders and paramedics trying to help the 67-year-old on the town square stage, they were unable to save him. After Mr Parkinson’s sudden death, Sunday’s show finished early as a mark of respect, but it continued as planned on Monday in his memory after his wife of 40 years, Jillian, made the request.

News of his death has shocked and stunned the Barnoldswick community and fans immediately took to social media to express their sadness.

Born in Barnoldswick, Allan started playing the guitar at 16 and performing in lots of local bands. The father-of-three formed the group “Slack Alice” in the early seventies with Malcolm Crossley, Chris Day and Cliff Stocker, who were a very popular and fondly remembered local blues rock band. He also enjoyed success with his local band DO-IT performing his own material to large crowds and performing on Sky TV in the early nineties.

Allan was regarded as one the best guitarist on the local music scene in the north of England, an amazing performer with fire and passion, and an excellent songwriter to boot.

He formed Dark Horse nearly 20 years ago and has played regularly across Lancashire and Yorkshire; although the line-up has changed a lot, the most recent being Samuel Hylands on vocals, Dave Horner on drums and his son James Parkinson on bass.

In 2012, James recorded Allan’s first solo album “Fire Burns Inside”. It contained all original material written by Allan.

James (36) said: “The album received fantastic reviews and it showcased his fiery, emotional guitar playing. My brother, Ben, recorded the drums and vocals too making it a real family affair.

“My dad will be remembered for teaching guitar to a huge number of budding Barnoldswick musicians. He helped enrich the music life of the town and his legacy that will live on for a very long time. People will have known him as a kind and extremely likeable man. He had a great sense of humour and his natural talent for guitar playing will be remembered forever.

“Allan died playing on stage in his home town, doing what he did best, and we take a great deal of comfort from this. Both me, mum and the family would like to thank all the musicians involved and all the BOTS staff who have been amazing.”

On Monday afternoon a minute’s silence was held at the BOTS to remember Allan and a rendition of one of his favourite songs “Whiteman Sings the Blues” from his album, “Fire Burns Inside”, was performed. This was followed by a one-hour long tribute in the evening where a packed and appreciate audience honoured his memory.

Organisers of BOTS posted on their Facebook page: “Following the tragic passing away of Barnoldswick music legend Allan Parkinson at Bands on the Square and, at the request of Allan’s family, the stage on the square will once again filled with music.

“Today is a tribute to Allan. We will be playing a track of Allan’s during this afternoon and holding a minutes silence for an inspirational man of music.”

Allan’s bandmate David Horner has also been speaking of his loss. He said: “We are all in shock. Allan was a great guy. He was honest, straight talking and had a good sense of humour. He was a fantastic guitarist. You just can’t describe his musicianship.”

Recalling the moments before his death, David added: “We were into our fifth song and we noticed Allan played a few dodgy chords, which just isn’t like him. The next minute he collapsed.

“Allan was a good friend and his sudden death has left a massive hole in our lives, which is going to very difficult to fill. He will be sorely missed.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We can confirm a man collapsed and died on stage at a music event in Barnoldswick on Sunday.”

Allan is survived by his wife Jillian, his three sons, Andrew, James and Ben and two grandchildren, Leo and Mai.