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Canterbury: Spitfire Ground hosts UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, plus Level 42

By What's On reporter

It’s a dream line-up by any music lover’s standards.

Reggae giants UB40 – featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue – will play a gig with another huge band from the 80s, Level 42, this weekend.

As the sun hopefully shines down on the home of Kent cricket, at the Spitfire Ground, the trio, backed by an eight-piece reggae band, will take to the stage for a session to kick off the summer.

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue

For Astro, who has been with the reggae group since it was formed in 1978, it sounds like a dream. “I personally can’t wait, Canterbury is a beautiful location. I hope the weather is right so that people can come out with their picnic blankets.”

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue will aim to cram as many of their greatest hits – and there’s plenty of them, including the epic No.1 Red, Red Wine – into their two-hour show, alongside tracks from their new album, Unplugged.

“When I look into the audience I see older people as well as kids in their teens and they know all our songs,” he added, saying: “We are on a mission that is nowhere near finished – we are going to be here for a while.”

Ali added: “We cannot wait to perform for all our fans in Kent and pull out all the favourites that our fans love the most.”

Mark King of Level 42

Mark King of Level 42

Joining them will be Level 42, who visited the county to play at Margate last year. Lead singer Mark King said: “To share the stage with such an iconic band as UB40 is an opportunity we could not refuse.”

To date the band have released 14 studio albums and seven live albums, among others, notching up 18 top 40 singles, including Lessons in Love, Something About You and Running in the Family and Hot Water.


UB40 - featuring Ali Campbell, Astro & Mickey Virtue - take to the Canterbury stage for a night of music with special guests Level 42, The Original Wailers and introducing Raging Fyah.

They have released hit after hit since they formed in 1978, with three UK No.1s, and 17 Top 10 tracks, and they released of their brand new Unplugged album in November last year, which offers an inventive new spin on UB40’s early gems plus the hits with which they later wooed the world.

The Spitfire Ground is a popular location for open air concerts

The Spitfire Ground is a popular location for open air concerts

Since reuniting three years ago, Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue have developed into a formidable touring outfit and made some inventive moves, including playing the vineyards of New Zealand for a Red Red Winery Tour.

Level 42 and Mark King have sold more than 30m albums worldwide. Their catalogue was recently re-issued and they were chosen to be included in BBC Radio 2’s Sounds of the Eighties compilation album.

Also performing will be the Original Wailers, playing well-loved Bob Marley and the Wailers definitive songs. Joining the line-up is one of Jamaica’s promising young acts, Raging Fyah, who were personally invited by Ali Campbell.

Kent Cricket CEO Jamie Clifford said: “There’s a Caribbean flavour to our 2017 schedule with the FGS Plant tour to Antigua, followed by the visit of the West Indies to Canterbury, so we’re delighted to welcome the most popular UK reggae act of all time.”


UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue will be bringing their music to Canterbury this June for the first time since the 1980s.

The trio, backed by a band, will play at the Spitfire Ground in Old Dover Road, on Saturday, June 3. It is a standing event, from 4pm, supported by Level 42, the Original Wailers and Raging Fyah. Under 16s need to be accompanied by an adult. To book click here.

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