The festival is the brainchild of Sean Flowerdew of Pama International who also helped organize the original festival 22 years ago at The Fridge in Brixton which featured Laurel Aitken, Bad Manners, Potato 5, The Loafers, Hotknives, The Deltones, Napolean Solo, The Braces, Capone and The Bullets and Skin Deep. Flowerdew (who recently announced that Pama International would be going on hiatus) has smartly reformed his original 80's UK ska band The Loafers to perform a one-off show during the festival. Other announced bands include my personal favorites Bim Skala Bim (who recently reunited for a series of shows - their first in 10 years) as well as 80's ska mainstays Napoleon Solo and Maroon Town
So far Flowerdew has deftly avoided the inevitable Beat band politics that are raised whenever Wakeling and Ranking Roger come within a few miles of one another. In answer to the question about why Wakeling's band and not Roger's got the invite, he posted the following on the Festival Facebook page: One of our aims with the festival is to bring bands to the UK that people can't see every month/week. I certainly applaud Rankin Roger and Everett Morton for what they've done with The Beat in the UK, but to make our festival a very special event we are inviting fantastic foreign bands that normally people don't get the opportunity to see perform in London. We had to have somebody representing the 2 Tone era, and Dave & his band were the one artist we could think of that hasn't performed here for years. He has been touring USA for the last 3 decades as the English Beat, and we are delighted to be bringing him to the UK. Personally I think its a great choice and will give the mostly British audience a chance to experience the solid show that Wakeling and his talented band have been consistently performing here in the States for the last five years.
In honor of Flowerdew and the The Loafers, below are two videos of the band performing 'The Undertaker' and 'Too Late Rudy' in their prime over 22 years ago:
With three headlining spots still open, who else do you think will get the invite? I have a hunch that another American band may get a nod. Perhaps The Aggrolites or even Hepcat. Let me know who you would like to see. In the meantime I will keep posting headliner updates.