LYME Regis’ giant Guitars On The Beach is to stage its smallest show ever.
The guitar festival, which traditionally draws crowds of thousands to the day of music on the sand, is to put on a one-off fundraiser at the Marine Theatre for just 350 people.
The rock and dance night, billed as ;Guitars On The Boards;, will be held on Saturday April 14 and will star Lyme’s hottest new young band, Dream Phaser, plus the Guitars On The Beach house band and “special surprise guests”.
The announcement of the all-hits show at the theatre comes as GOTB organisers say they are “over the moon and heading for Mars” with delight at how Lyme businesses are rallying round like never before to support and sponsor this year’s main event on the front beach on June 16.
Organisers have to raise about £7,000 to stage the massive guitar gig which draws guitarists and audiences from all over the UK and they are “chuffed to bits” that the town has already pledged £3,800 in sponsorship.
Local rock legend Ian Gillan – the Deep Purple frontman who led the huge sand band to achieving the UK record as ”Britain’s biggest band’ when 3,000 guitarists played along to ;Smoke On The Water’ at GOTB in 2014 – kicked off the sponsorship with £1,000.
Now his donation has been matched by major sponsors Lyme Bay Holidays and SWiM, the new beachfront restaurant which Richard and Nikki Cooper, the couple behind the successful Stable chain of restaurants, are soon to open at the old By The Bay premises.
Surge of local support
Generous sponsorship has also come from West Bay’s Snack Shack, Dennis Spacey’s Tukxi company and Lyme’s Westwood guest house, and Uplyme author and entrepreneur Chris Barez-Brown has made an opening bid of £500 in the auction to win the chance to play with the house band at the event’s climax ‘record bid’ mass playalong.
The surge of local support for the guitar event which has become one of West Dorset’s biggest summer attractions has thrilled GOTB’s team of Lyme-based organisers.
“The local support from businesses, the theatre and individuals for Guitars On The Beach this year is already tremendous and we are cock-a-hoop at the amazingly-kind generosity, what a town! It is no exaggeration to say that we are so chuffed to bits that our spirits are over the Moon and heading for Mars alongside Elon Musk’s space car,” said GOTB spokesman Geoff Baker.
“We are also overwhelmed by the huge number of great local musicians and bands from across the UK who are asking if they can perform on the beach on the day. The enthusiasm for Guitars On The Beach is soaring like never before and we’re aiming to make this year’s gig the best one yet.”
He added: “We are thrilled that Dream Phaser have agreed to play at the Guitars On The Boards show at the Marine in April, they are one of the hottest young bands in the town, all local musicians, and they should draw a big crowd.”
Groove and rock
Pete Wild, GOTB’s head of new talent development, said: “Dream Phaser sounds like a newly invented psychedelic guitar effects pedal, but it is in fact a seven-piece band of teenagers whose love of groove and rock has brought them together to craft a set of banging covers from across four decades.
“In their previous incarnation as Joe and The Juice they wowed the audience at GOTB 2017 when they played straight after the House Band and Mungo Jerry. Three original band members have now gone to the cities to pursue new lives so the remaining young musicians have regrouped with new additions and a new name.
“Their performance at GOTB last year was a real coming of age for the band. These guys are all local musicians who put in days after days of hard work into their passion for playing music and when they performed so well to a huge audience on the beach last year their confidence grew and now they are now truly on fire!
“Their set includes covers of The Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones , Red Hot Chilli Peppers , Jamiroquai, Lenny Kravitz and many more classic artists.
“One of the aims of GOTB is to actively encourage the next generation of music makers, so it is fitting to have Dream Phaser on the bill for our fundraiser at the Marine Theatre. And with the GOTB house band playing an all-hits set at full tilt and special surprise guests joining them onstage, it will be a fun night to remember.”
Councillor backs event
Besides the theatre gig to raise funds to cover production costs of GOTB 2018, the event’s organisers are also applying for a grant from Lyme Regis Town Council, and at least one of the councillors is already backing the big beach gig – colourful reggae DJ Councillor ‘Mad’ Jeff Scowen has agreed to perform at the June event, at which he will also act as MC, introducing the bands who will be playing from 10am to 10pm.
“We are delighted, honoured even, to have Mad Jeff onboard. He will be a star turn on the day and it’s heart-warming that he and so many of Lyme’s good people are generously getting behind what we aim to make the most special summer’s day for the whole of the town,” said Mr Baker.
Tickets costing £10 for the Guitars On The Boards show at the Marine Theatre are on sale from the Lyme Tourist Information Centre on 01297 442138.