Such privilege to see ska legend Neville

In the latest ‘From The Newsroom’ column, Jeremy Ransome relives a great night at Festival Too…

A music legend was in town on Friday night and I can still feel a tingle in my spine when I think about seeing him on the Festival Too stage.

Yes, ‘The Original Rude Boy’ Neville Staple lit up a wet and dreary night in Lynn as he and his brilliant band treated the Tuesday Market Place crowd to some of his greatest hits.

Neville Staple at Festival Too
Neville Staple at Festival Too

Jamaican-born Neville, now 68, emigrated to the UK when he was five-years-old and burst on to the Two Tone ska scene with popular Coventry band The Specials in 1978, being at centre stage as they had huge hits such as ‘A Message To You, Rudy’, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Gangsters’, ‘Nite Klub’ and ‘Monkey Man’.

Neville treated us to all these hits on Friday evening, plus others he enjoyed when he formed breakaway band Fun Boy Three with the late, great Terry Hall. Songs such as ‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum’ and ‘Really Saying Something’.

After 45 years on the scene, Neville still has a great stage presence and it was clear that many had travelled some way to see this superb, free of charge concert.

This is a man who has been a major player in the British music scene over the years and he was performing in Lynn… for free. A man who worked alongside famous record producer Pete Waterman early in his career, played alongside punk icons The Clash and collaborated with No Doubt and pop sensation Gwen Stefani.

And, talking to those around me, no-one takes these three weekends of free music we enjoy every summer for granted – even after almost 40 years.

Example thrilled the crowds on Saturday night and, this weekend, we have The Routine and Slender Pins supporting From The Jam on Friday, before Feeder headline on Saturday, with support from Newton Faulkner and The Extons.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of the Festival Too committee and the generosity of local businesses, it’s all for free and gets better every year. So when you see one of those friendly faces with a collection bucket, please did deep, assured it’s helping us all enjoy another two weeks of top tunes in 2024.