‘Calling Planet Earth’ perform on stage (1) (1)

The annual ‘Audlem Party on the Park’ music concert proved another big hit, writes Jonathan White.

This year was the 25th anniversary for Audlem Special Events Team, who organise the event.

Comperes on the day were Dave Johnson, Justine Cope and Kevin Fernihough from Blue Sky Radio – a new commercial radio station for Staffordshire and Cheshire.

They also called out birthdays and anniversaries and kept the crowd entertained during the intervals with audience participation for a number of hits including Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo and Y.M.C.A. by Village People.

Three-piece rock band Gambler were the first band on stage and got the crowd in the mood playing a string of classic hit records from artists including Foo Fighters, U2, Queen, Robbie Williams, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, The Doobie Brothers, Status Quo, Fleetwood Mac, Bryan Adams, Boston, and Don Henley.

The main act was Calling Planet Earth, on their 2024 tour, who took the audience on a journey through one of the greatest musical eras of all time – the electrifying 80s.

‘Calling Planet Earth’ perform on stage (2) (1)
‘Calling Planet Earth’ perform on stage

The trio of talented singers Michael King, Jay Ashton, Vicky Kaylor, with a skilful backing band, performed songs by Gary Numan, Visage, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, The Human League, Yazoo, Japan, ABC, OMD, Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, and Marc Almond; reaching a crescendo with their rousing rendition of Duran Duran’s, Rio.

Despite some drizzly rain, the event was enjoyed by a sold-out audience of hundreds of people, who brought their picnics and danced into the night.

The main sponsor was EPG Security Systems. The other sponsors were Hall Smith Whittingham, Baker Wynne & Wilson, and PET Hire.

Saxophonist from ‘Calling Planet Earth’ (1)
Saxophonist from ‘Calling Planet Earth’

A representative from ASET said: “It is hard to believe that it is 25 years since an idea over a pint in one of our local pubs evolved into Party on the Park as it is today.

“It all started during a discussion on whether we could bring the BBC Proms live to Audlem on large screens on the playing field. We soon found out that due to the cost and copyright laws it wasn’t possible and the idea of staging our very own Proms on the Park materialised.

“On Saturday 24th June 2000 the first Proms on the Park took place with some very nervous ASET members. Would people come? Would we cover our costs? It was a huge financial risk and could have led to the instant demise of Audlem Special Events Team. BUT you did come and we did cover our costs and the rest as they say is history.

“As the years rolled on and tastes changed Proms in the Park evolved into what it is today, Party on the Park. Although at times ASET was walking a financial tightrope we managed to engage some amazing performers. Highlights include The Westenders with their music from the shows, the ABBA tribute band starring one of the original Mamma Mia cast from the London stage show, 80’s Mania, QEII (Queen), our own Gambler and many more, to last year’s wonderful performance by Roy Hemmings (an original Drifter) and the Dictionary of Soul.

“One of our proudest achievements was when we managed to reschedule Party on the Park in 2021 after the Government extended the COVID lockdown days before the event. Having endured social isolation for 2 years it was truly memorable to witness the whole village celebrate together in true Audlem party style.

“As everyone has experienced, costs of everything have risen significantly over the last few years and this year’s bill to stage Party on the Park has amounted to just under £30,000. This is an incredible amount of money to raise and we could not achieve this without the continued support of our loyal sponsors and you for buying the tickets

“So, thank you all for supporting ASET for the last 25 years and here’s to the next!”

l-r Chris White - Mark Ray - Andrew Feltham enjoy the music (1)
l-r Chris White – Mark Ray – Andrew Feltham enjoy the music
Aerial view of Calling Planet Earth performing (2) (1)
Aerial view of Calling Planet Earth performing

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