John Lennon's former band to play Romstock this weekend
John Lennon's former band The Quarrymen will steal the spotlight when they perform at Romsley Music Festival this weekend.
The Quarrymen, formed by Lennon in 1956 before The Beatles, will be at the festival, known as Romstock, on June 9, with some of Lennon's former bandmates in the line-up.
Rod Davis, a former schoolfriend of Lennon's, will feature alongside Colin Hanton, Len Garry and Charles Newby – who have all performed alongside various members of The Beatles.
It has been organised after the festival’s band co-ordinator Mark Moran's daughter, who attends lives in Liverpool, told her father about a plaque on a house around the corner to where she lived in Woolton where the Quarrymen used to rehearse.
Mr Moran said: "I've always been a huge Beatles fan and it got me wondering whether The Quarrymen were still going. I always remember that famous photo of The Quarrymen performing at the Woolton church fete.
"There was this blue plaque on this detached house which states its the birthplace of The Beatles. The Quarrymen recorded there and I just thought wow.
"I managed to get in touch with Rod Davis to ask what the chances are for them to come and play at Romstock – and they have agreed. I couldn't believe it – it is amazing.
"It is a great opportunity for Beatles and music fans in general to embrace musical history on our doorstep."
Lennon formed skiffle band The Quarrymen at Liverpool's Quarry Bank School before Paul McCartney and George Harrison joined the existing line-up. The band later evolved to become The Beatles.
Rod revealed that the original members of The Quarrymen reunited when they were persuaded to take to the stage when they all attended The Cavern Club's 40th birthday in 1997 and have been playing together since.
Three of the original band members – Rod, Colin and Len – are set to take to the stage at the music festival at Romsley Playing Fields, off St Kenelms Road, on Saturday. They will be joined by Chas Newby, who played bass with The Beatles during several gigs, shortly after Stuart Sutcliffe's departure.
Rod said: "I met John when I was five-years-old at Sunday school and then we later went to the same school when we were 11-years-old. When we were 14 we formed The Quarrymen – we were inspired by the music of Lonnie Donnigan.
"I was one of the original members of The Quarrymen – I started off as the banjo player, I only played alongside John.
"People joined the band and people left – I left as they became more of a rock and roll group. I was more interested in blues and you can't have a banjo player in a rock and roll band. Paul McCartney actually took over my place!
"We are really looking forward to this weekend. Our performance will feature four guys who have all played with various members of The Beatles. We play the music we were playing in the 1950's. There are so many Beatles lookalike and soundalike bands but people want to hear the music that inspired them in the 50's.
"We have never played an outdoor festival before so Romstock seemed like a lot of fun – it will be an experience."
At least 1,000 merrymakers are expected to descend upon Romsley Playing Fields to enjoy the nine-hour festivities.
The festival, which is in its seventh year, launched in 2012 for the Queen's Jubilee and now attracts more than 1,000 people.
Cash raised during the celebrations, which end at 9pm, will support youth projects in the parish.
Mr Moran added: "This year's line up is quite sensational. We say after every year that we won't be able to better the previous Romstock, but we always manage to prove ourselves wrong."
The UK's number one Madness tribute band 'Prone to Madness' will open the festival at noon, followed by nine other acts including The Quarrymen - who will meet and greet the audience after their performance.
Youngsters will have the chance to enjoy a children's play area and skate park, while a bar will be on offer for adults.
Romsley parish chairman and event organiser David Powell said: "We like to spring a few surprises and this year it will be 'Grease'.
"A band has been created especially for it and the performers are well known 'legends', but we're not saying who they are - Grease is the word."
Early bird wrist bands, which are £15 per adult, £3 for over-5s, are available from Romsley's Co-op or online at romsleyparishcouncil.gov.uk/romstock