Rock legend aids Lyme guitars festival

PUBLISHED: 15:02 17 January 2018

Rock legend Ian Gillan. Picture: SUBMITTED

Rock legend Ian Gillan. Picture: SUBMITTED

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Deep Purple star Ian Gillan donates £1,000 to help stage this year’s record attempt

Rock legend Ian Gillan has come to the aid of Lyme Regis’ ‘Guitars On The Beach’ festival by kick-starting fundraising with a £1,000 donation.

The Deep Purple lead singer, who has a home near the town, has “astonished and delighted” organisers of the June 16 event with his generous contribution towards the £6,000 cost of staging Britain’s largest guitar event.

This year GOTB will be staged as a massive salute to rock legends lost in 2017 - including Chuck Berry, Tom Petty and AC/DC’s Malcolm Young.

Organisers are aiming to gather more than 1,000 amateur guitarists on Lyme beach to form an enormous “tribute” band to honour music megastars who died last year.

“We’re making Guitars On The Beach one big tribute show this year because without the influence of the genius guitarists whom we lost last year many of us would never have picked up the instrument in the first place,” said the spokesman.

“There will also be special tributes to Buddy Holly, to mark the 60th anniversary of the release of ‘Rave On’, and a big nod to another much-missed guitar legend, Rory Gallagher.

“We’ll be picking songs by these heroes that are easy to play along to so that both novice and accomplished guitarists can all join in the tribute and we are aiming to attract at least 1,000 people to perform together on the day.

“The selected songs will be announced shortly on the event’s new website – guitarsonthebeach.com – and its Facebook page, Guitars On The Beach Lyme Regis UK Record Bid.”

GOTB organisers are actively upping the ante in their fundraising and sponsorship drive this year, determined to make this the best GOTB yet.

Gabby Rabbitts, the new director of the Marine Theatre, is opening the doors there for a special fundraising evening on April 14, when the GOTB house band and other top local musicians will perform.

“Our fund-raiser at the Marine Theatre will be a night to remember, crammed with great local musicians, and we’ll rock the place,” added the spokesman.

Any businesses that would also like to sponsor GOTB or make donations should contact co-organiser Geoff Baker at geoffbaker12@btinternet.com

* Other local luminaries have also stepped up help GOTB go ahead this year. Author and entrepreneur Chris Barez-Brown, who lives in Uplyme, has made the opening bid of £500 in an auction which will see the highest bidder win a place in the house band at the traditional climax of GOTB, when the giant band on the sand performs the record bid songs.

And with a donation of another £500, long-time supporters Alison and Stuart Constable, owners of West Bay’s Snack Shack, have become the first of what organisers hope will be many local businesses to sponsor GOTB.

And Dennis Spacey, Axminster-based owner of the unique “Tukxi” three-wheeler taxi popular with visitors to Lyme, has joined the first GOTB sponsors too.

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