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Jimi Hendrix festival coming to Folkestone

By Matt Leclere

The star frequently visited the town, playing and drinking in some of the clubs, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience played one of its early gigs in Folkestone in 1966.

Bassist Noel Redding was from Folkestone, so there are strong links between the town and one of the most influential and biggest bands in the world.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

The first weekend festival will be hosted in several venues around Folkestone between November 23 and 26.

It has been organised by a new group called Folkestone Music Town which is aiming to raise the profile of Folkestone’s music scene, past and present and promote it as a music destination for visitors.

The Hendrix Experience is marking what would have been the musician’s 75th birthday – November 27 – and release of their debut album 50 years ago.

The Hillside Club in Folkestone was one of the first gig venues for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966

The Hillside Club in Folkestone was one of the first gig venues for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966

Nina Clark, from Found in Music, the company behind Folkestone Music Town, said: “We’ve had a brilliant response from the local community about this event, with lots of participation from local talent, several venues getting involved, as well as local businesses picking up the theme.”

Redding, a former pupil at the Harvey Grammar School, met Hendrix in October 1966.

The band visited his hometown shortly after playing at The Hillside Club in Grace Hill on New Year’s Eve 1966, a few months before their debut album was released the following year.

Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix in their heyday

Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix in their heyday

According to Redding, the song Fire was based on a visit to Folkestone, when he and Hendrix were out walking and went back to his mother’s house in Seabrook to warm up.

It is said when they got back her dog was in the way and Hendrix wanted to stand by the fireplace which was immortalised in the song with the lyric: “Move over Rover, let Jimi take over.”

The festival kicks off at Chambers on Thursday, November 23, with the official launch night celebrated with Freak Flag, a trio recapturing the spirit of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Entry is free.

Bassist Noel Redding was from Folkestone

Bassist Noel Redding was from Folkestone

The following night, the Space Bar and Gallery in The Old High Street is hosting talks about Hendrix, called Let’s Talk About Jimi. It starts at 7.30pm.

Other venues include The Leas Cliff Hall, the Lime Bar in Tontine Street and the Rum Clinic in West Terrace.

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