A MARCHINGTON pub scored a major coup by welcoming international chart stars UB40 for a publicity event on Saturday afternoon.
The reggae outfit have sold 120 million records and scored No 1 hits on both sides of the Atlantic and three founding members, Ali Campbell, Mickey Virtue and Astro, have recently reunited for a new world tour and album.
They will also be headlining The Bearded Theory Festival in South Derbyshire in May and chose the Dog and Partridge in Marchington for a promotional event for the festival.
Landlord Paul Needham has a reputation for putting on quality live music at the pub and has forged links with The Bearded Theory organisers, which helped him secure the coup.
The band enjoyed a pub lunch, posed for pictures and were interviewed by the visiting media before enjoying a drink in the garden and signing posters for fans.
Paul says: “I went to see UB40 at Loughborough University on their first tour back in 1979. So I have always been a fan. It’s great to welcome them as part of our links with The Bearded Theory Festival now it has moved to Catton Hall.”
Paul has an enviable track record for booking bands and has seen Pulp, Oasis, The Prodigy and Skunk Anansie at his venues in the past. At the Dog and Partridge he runs a well-respected music club but having UB40 drop in is his biggest coup yet for Marchington.
“We are linking up with the Acoustic Festival in Uttoxeter now as well, so hopefully we will get one or two more events like this in the future,” he said.
UB40 frontman Ali Campbell told the Advertiser he was delighted to spend an afternoon at a pub that took its music seriously.
He said: “What’s happening to pubs all over the country is a tragedy. As a result, live venues are getting fewer and further between. We started by playing in pubs but that scene is fast dwindling.”
Ali, Mickey and Astro only got back together as UB40 at the back end of last year.
Ali said: “We did our first gig with Astro back just before Christmas and that went brilliantly. It was the first time together for six years. We have a new album coming out and we have now kicked off the 2014 world tour.
“We will be back here to do The Bearded Theory Festival. It’s always exciting for us to do festivals and we are the perfect festival band – even if I say so myself - because in the 1980s and 1990s we had more than 40 Top 20 hits. We were the most prolific pop band of the era so we have a wealth of hits to draw on. In a festival situation we can keep the crowd happy because they know all the tunes. And if it’s not raining it’s all OK.”
UB40’s string of Top 10 hits includes Red Red Red Wine and Can’t Help Falling in Love.
Ali said: “When we started we were just trying to get off the dole, we were all on £7.90 a week and had been for three years. So to still be doing it, successfully and internationally, 35 year later makes me laugh.”
UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, will be the closing act at The Bearded Theory Festival at Catton Hall, which runs from May 22-25.
Go to www.beardedtheory.co.uk.