The serene and picturesque surroundings of the Ribble Valley are hardly the venue you would expect to be going to a rock festival.
But that is exactly what is happening in the summer of 2016.
It is about celebrating the area as a whole and working together to make this a great occasion and something that I hope will become a regular thingSteve Norman
And with legendary artistes such as Simply Red and Jools Holland set to headline, the Valley is going to be rocking.
One of the main movers behind the Summer Days Festival is also something of a legend himself, Steve Norman of the iconic 80s band Spandau Ballet whose strong of hits including “True’’ and “Gold’’ secured their place in the halls of fame as one of the best known pop bands of the century.
An accomplished musician, writer and producer Londoner Steve admits he has been won over by the Ribble Valley and its residents who he says have given him a warm Lancashire welcome.
“I want Summer Days to be a celebration of the area and also the wealth of local young talent that you have here. We want to showcase some of the bands from the area and I am in talks with the Grand Theatre to make that happen.’’
Steve’s philanthropic approach stems from the early days when Spandau Ballet was just starting out and all they wanted was a break and he wants to give the youngsters of today a chance to show off their talent. He knows first hand how hard it is to break into the music industry.
He said: “I remember what it was like. All we wanted to do was play our music and be a band. We weren’t bothered about the fame, that came later and there is always a downside to it.’’
A real family man, Steve beams with pride when he talks about his two children Lara and Jack. Both grown up, Jack has followed in his dad’s footsteps and plays in a band called Beasts. So Steve feels like everything has come full circle.
Securing names such as Simply Red for the Summer Days festival means there is a real buzz in the Ribble Valley about the event and people are already snapping up tickets. And Steve hopes that the whole community will get involved in the event.
He said: “This is not about coming to an area, staging an event and then leaving.
“It is about celebrating the area as a whole and working together to make this a great occasion and something that I hope will become a regular thing.’’
With the sensational Caro Emerald also set to headline the festival Steve also revealed he is in talks with another contemporary band for the last night of the concert. But he remained tight lipped about who it is for the time being!
He said: “I don’t want people to think this is a retro style festival. We will have a good mix of bands and musicians, this is a project I am really excited about.’’
Steve talks with great affection about his days with Spandau when he played his signature instrument, the saxophone and also the guitar, bass and percussion. The band first tasted success when they reached the top five with their Electronic Synth Pop New Wave debut single “To Cut A Long Story Short” in 1980.
The band were at the height of their fame in 1983 when they scored a succession of hit singles: “True” “Gold’” and “Only When You Leave” charted at numbers one two and three. The albums “True”, “Parade”, and “The Singles Collection” similarly peaked in the top three. Steve is famous for his short but brilliant saxophone solos, most notably the solo break in the international hit ‘True’.
The album “Through the Barricades” which shot into the UK top ten in 1986, showcases some of Steve’s best saxophone playing, The album was inspired by the death of a Spandau Ballet crew member, who was killed in Northern Ireland.
Steve has remained a member of Spandau Ballet, as well as working on many solo projects. He released the single “Once More” in 2009, which he co wrote, with Spandau Ballet, which climbed to the number seven position.
Summer Days will be held in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle with two live stages featuring more than 30 artists, a locally sourced gourmet food village and a dedicated real ale area.
For full details about tickets for the festival go to www.summerdays festival.com