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Concert tribute to The Beatles’ Mansfield performances

Posted onPosted on 28th Mar

A magical mystery tour into the past is bringing back a host of nostalgia and memories of famous Mansfield entertainment hotspot the Granada.

2023 marks 50 years since the cinema and music venue closed its doors for the final time — and to mark the milestone a two-month long exhibition is to be held at Mansfield Museum, from 1st April.

The celebrations started in March, however, when a concert celebrated 60 years since The Beatles famously played at the Granada.

The Beatles Summer Time evening at Forest Town Arena featured tribute band Hey Beatles and much more — including free jelly babies for the audience because George Harrison famously once said they were his favourite sweet, prompting people at the time to throw sweets at the band.

Local radio presenter and historian Ian Watkins, who is keeping the memories of the Granada alive at and through the museum exhibition, put on the gig.

“The event was really special for lots of reasons and it was great to be able to mark this moment in Mansfield music history,” he said.

“I was extremely proud to be compere alongside some really talented people, who totally captured the magic of the Granada.

“Thank you to all those who helped me put this together. I really hope those that attended enjoyed it.”

The concert included a special feature with singer Chris Montez, who headlined the original concert tour in 1963 and appeared at the Granada with The Beatles.

He took part in a Zoom interview with Ian, talking about the tour and his relationship with The Beatles.
Chris revealed the story of an incident that happened at a party in Mansfield Woodhouse after the show in Mansfield. Sandra Regan (formerly Hill) was famous for the parties at her home, where many Granada acts visited.

The story went that Chris was sleepy, so got back on the tour bus for a power nap. Later John Lennon poured a bottle of beer over his head while he was asleep. This led to a fight that Chris still remembers.

During the interview Chris thanked Sandy, who was in the audience at the Arena, for an excellent party.

Ian handed out free ice creams from a tray during the interval at the Arena, prompting some former Granada staff to joke that he was doing their job.

One former usherette who attended the tribute evening, Eileen Leverton, remembered going across the road from the venue and having a drink with The Beatles at the Eclipse pub.

Granada historian Ian Watkins with Alan Wilson, the last organist to play at the Granada.

Local singer-songwriter Ollie Hayes performed a set of songs from some of the other artists who visited the Granada, including Billy Fury, Shane Fenton and The Fentones, and a rendition of Chris Montez’s Lets Dance.

Projectionist Malcolm Appleby told the audience stories about the work that went into putting on shows on at the Granada.

Then the Hey Beatles played the exact set that The Beatles played at the Granada.

The event raised £500 for Lashes Foundation, a charity based in Forest Town, which was set up in memory of 13-year-old Evie Wilson, of Clipstone, to continue her community work.