Anoraks on the Loose in Brighton – 1999

Sixties Icons terrorised by Knees Club Founder and Friends

(More pictures in our gallery...)

An assorted group of eight committed Anoraks, (myself, Chris, Pauline, Dave, Jenni, Doughnut Di, Hugo and Nick, plus three fairly normal people, my brother Paul and his wife Jan, and Jenni's friend Judy), spent the weekend of August 21st/22nd 1999 amongst throngs of groovers.

The event was the Millennium Festival of the Sixties, staged at the Brighton Centre by Christine and Mike Neal, publishers of Sixties music enthusiasts' magazine 'The Beat Goes On'. The festival, which was the couple's first venture on this scale, proved so successful that they staged a three-day event at the same venue the following year.

(Picture: Turn that shirt down a bit, Chris!)

Among the many acts appearing were the Tremeloes, Fortunes, Nashville Teens, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers and Jet Harris's Shadows. The event ran from noon each day till 12.30am the following day, with each band holding the stage for an hour, and 30-minute breaks in-between.

Many of the Sixties' icons at the festival had joined the Knees Club back in '66. They may well have forgotten this, but I haven't! Member #100, our KC Vice-president, Ray Ennis, was fronting the Swinging Blue Jeans as cheekily as ever. Then there was Tony Crane (#195) and Billy Kinsley (#196), of the Merseybeats, Mike Wilsh (#231) who wrote the Four Pennies' hit, 'Juliet', Chris Farlowe (#315), Dave Dee (#158) and never forgetting our old pal, Keith Skues (#235).

Alas, (despite soaring temperatures inside the Brighton Centre), unlike their Knees Club Founder, none of the aforementioned KC members had their patellae on display.

It proved impossible to catch every single one of the acts, as the necessity of eating and drinking intruded into the schedule at times, but every group we did see performed to the max! Much of the action I missed in the main hall was because it seemed that every time I went out to the loo, I'd meet another interesting person and get caught up in a fascinating conversation.

People had flocked to the event from all over the world and we were pleased to meet and make friends with Jari Havia from Finland and Kjell Dahl from Norway.

(Picture: Kjell with 'Bjorn' Matthew...)

Kjell found our clumsy attempts to pronounce his Christian name (it sounds something like 'shell') hilarious. He decided our efforts were so pathetic that we'd have to resort to calling him 'Fred'!

The Anoraks present were delighted to meet the comperes of the show. Chris and I werepleased to renew our acquaintanceship with pre-offshore radio hero, Brian Matthew. We then caught up with Cardboard Shoes, who sold quite a few autographed copies of 'Pop Went the Pirates'. It was our first encounter with Mike Read, who, fresh from his stint on the Mebo lll appeared on stage resplendent in a new RNI polo shirt. Mike assured us he'd had a great time on the ship.

(Picture: Three famous radio stars!)

Two other highlights of the weekend for me were revisiting my teens by dressing up in Sixties' gear (top picture and below, left) and winning some great prizes in a Jukebox Jury pop trivia quiz – by just ONE point!

Colin Gold gave a stunning performance, fronting his great tribute band, the Billy Fury Experience (below, centre) while Mike Read appears to be challenging Peter Sarstedt to 'get 'em off' for a knobbly knees contest.