Shropshire hall ready for Sir Cliff
With just two weeks to go until the Peter Pan of pop rocks a county house in Shropshire, owners have revealed it will also mark a diamond anniversary for the venue.
It's 60 years since Georgian country house Walcot Hall at Lydbury North came into the ownership of the Parish family, so it fitting that they will be celebrating with two big gigs – Sir Cliff Richard on June 21 and duo Michael Ball and Alfie Boe the day before on June 20.
The double date marks a first for the wedding and holiday cottage venue, with its 350 acres of farm and woodland set to host the two back-to-back concerts on specially constructed outdoor stages.
Musical theatre star Michael Ball and tenor Alfie Boe will be appearing following 29 sold out show in 2016, off the back of their platinum-selling album Together while Sir Cliff is showcasing his new album Just...Fabulous Rock 'n' Roll, in which the icon returns to his roots with new recordings of favourites from the golden era of the 1950s and early 1960s.
Lucinda Parish, whose father-in-law moved to the hall in 1957, just one year before Sir Cliff's debut single Move It, said: "When people found out who was coming they just could not believe it. There's been great excitement locally, everyone's coming and we think it will be fabulous.
"It's very good for rural Shropshire that these things are happening and they're not just for big cities."
She said thousands of fans will be at both fully-seated concerts, so it has meant some re-organisation at the hall, once owned by Clive of India.
Much of the grazing land is let to farmers, so they will be moving stock out for the duration. However, wedding ceremonies are still scheduled for both the weekend before and after midweek gigs.
Lucinda added: "Our wedding parties have exclusive use of the venue and we had to make sure the build of the stage doesn't interfere with that but everyone has been very accommodating."
Peter Taylor, director of North West-based concert promoters Cuffe and Taylor, presenting the two days of gigs, said: “We cannot wait for this show, it is going to be amazing.
“Walcot Hall is such a fabulous place, a wonderful setting. Music fans are in for a real treat, both in terms of the fantastic shows on stage by Cliff Richard, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, and by visiting this fantastic country estate.
“These are going to be concerts that will live long in the memory,” he said.
A handful of tickets are still available for both gig, from www.livenation.co.uk and www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 844 0444.