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Rochester Castle Concerts line-up packs plenty of punch

By Chris Hunter

You might not be able to bring any Red Red Wine to this year's Rochester Castle Concerts - but at least UB40's Ali Campbell will.

The 80s British reggae band frontman joins Jools Holland and Ronan Keating on a star-studded bill announced this week for the five-day music festival in July.

New alcohol restrictions banning ticket holders from bringing their own drinks bar sealed bottles of water have proved controversial - and opponents have slammed an exemption allowing Proms Night ticket holders to take bottles of champagne, Prosecco and Cava as "snobbish".

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UB40 will be the only ones bringing Red, Red Wine to this year's concert
UB40 will be the only ones bringing Red, Red Wine to this year's concert

But organisers Medway Council say the new rules are in line with industry standards, and hope the controversy is overshadowed by the new line-up announcement.

Kicking off proceedings on Tuesday July 10 are The Australian Pink Floyd - regarded by many as the top Pink Floyd tribute act in the world, having sold five million tickets worldwide in over 35 countries and even having played at David Gilmour's 50th birthday party.

Performing the prog-rock legends' hits like Another Brick in the Wall and Comfortably Numb with note for note perfection, the Australian tribute act is also known for its stunning light show and video animations, plus large inflatables including a giant pig and their own distinct pink kangaroo.

The following night will bring the arrival on stage of Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

Perhaps best known these days for his TV work - presenting "Later... with Jools Holland" and his annual New Year's Eve Hootenanny, Jools rose to prominence as a founding member of rock band Squeeze, and has enjoyed subsequent success leading his own band.

What do you think of the line-up? Vote in our poll here

Thursday July 12 will be headlined by Boyzone star turned solo artist Ronan Keating, who is sure to bring a set packed with hits like Love me for a Reason, When You Say Nothing at All, and Life is a Rollercoaster.

Friday night will bring UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue - all founding members of the original UB40, who have toured together since Campbell left UB40 in 2008.

Ronan Keating will be playing the Castle Concerts 2018
Ronan Keating will be playing the Castle Concerts 2018

After releasing a critically acclaimed top 10 album Silhouette in 2014, the band have plans to release a new studio album later this year - but fans can still expect classic numbers such as Red Red Wine and Can't Help Falling in Love.

The following night on Saturday July 14 The Proms audience are sure to enjoy a fizzing finale courtesy of The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra - and of course their own shop-bought bubbly.

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