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Gloucester Park


Gloucester Park Bandstand - Basildon    
Location: Gloucester Park
Photographer: Pete Scott
Year of photo: 29/07/1984
Copyright: Basildon History Online
Comments: Local band Big Lynne seen performing at the 1984 peace festival.

Built in the mid 1970s, the first notable event to feature its use was the 1978 Basildon Rock Festival. This free event, held on Sunday, 20th August featured mainly local bands and artists headed by The Opposition. That years event also saw an unscheduled appearance by another local band called The Vandals. Fronted by then unknown singer 'Alf' - now better known as Alison Moyet - she later went on to achieve fame as one half of chart act Yazoo with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke. Her success continued in 1984 went she embarked on a solo career. The Vandals guitarist, known only as 'the guitarist with no name', would later have a solo career releasing records under the name Robert Marlow.

In 1979 the event was held on Sunday, August 19th, and the festival's acts included 'Norman and the Worms', whose line-up featured future Depeche Mode member Martin Gore, and Phil Burdett, later to form and record as Phil Burdett & the New World Troubadours, both singing and playing guitar. Amongst their set list was a rendition of the popular 1960s Australian children's T.V. series theme Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, complete with drums!

The festival of 1980, held on 17th August, was another notable success and featured punk band the School Bullies, with future Cure member Perry Bamonte.

By 1983 the free Sunday summer event had become the "Gloucester Park Peace Festival". This new 'Festival For Peace' promotion organised by the Basildon and Billericay Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), took place on 17th July, with the main attractions being Basildon chart band The Pinkees, who scored a top ten hit in 1982, and another local act Big Lynne, who played again at the 1984 event held on 29th July. T.V's 'the greatest show on legs', a popular 3 man mild strip tease act, were also on the '84 bill.

The 1985 event, held on 4th August, was a big disappointment being rained off after only two bands had played.

Sunday July 13th, 1986 saw Erasure play one of their earliest concerts at the bandstand - a fitting start for band member and former Depeche Mode/Yazoo founder Vince Clarke, who once lived and was schooled locally. Electronic act Psychic TV were also part of the line up.

For 1987 the summer event was promoted as 'Essex Rock Festival' incorporating Essex Country Band Search '87. For this event held on Saturday 26th September the main attraction was ska band Bad Manners, fronted by Buster Bloodvessel, who had a run of chart hits during that decade. Among the other groups performing were the popular scottish band Runrig whose album The Cutter and the Clan charted the same year.

During the 1990s the bandstand fell out of use excepting a few smaller events and when the Basildon Festival relocated to the park from Wat Tyler in 2001 the bandstand was overlooked in favour of a larger stage erected specifically for the event.

During May 2002, after the council had deemed it superfluous, the bandstand was fenced off and demolished and the area grassed over. It is now the site of the Concord Skatepark, which opened on 30th July, 2005.

Page added: 2006
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2002 with revisions 2002-2007.
Copyright © 2002-2007, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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