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Stats show who rocked and who flopped at the Rochester Castle Concerts

By Chris Hunter

New figures show who's been top of the pops at Medway's Castle Concerts - and how the event has fared over the last five years.

Top sell-out performers include Craig David, who played two sold out nights to capacity crowds of 4,500 at the 2017 event; UB40 who sold the event out in 2014 and 2018; and Status Quo, who played to a sold-out crowd in 2016 after cancelling the previous year.

The figures - released following a Freedom of Information Request - show the concerts hit an all-time high last year, with Wet Wet Wet and the Magic of Motown also drawing capacity tickets sales, while the Proms finale sold 2,435, bringing total sales to 20,435.

Francis Rossi performs at Status Quo's concert in 2016
Francis Rossi performs at Status Quo's concert in 2016

But this year saw ticket sales crash to the lowest ever - with just 11,479 turning out over five nights of shows. Only headliners UB40 sold maximum tickets, while Jools Holland - admittedly competing with England's World Cup semi-final clash - sold only 959 tickets, and Ronan Keating only 1,314.

Organisers Medway Council fell under the spotlight as it was revealed the concerts made a loss of £305,000, with many blaming the performace on a new ban on drinks being brought into the venue for the main gigs.

The council said other big events around the county had possibly contributed to the poor-turnout, and were looking forward to booking some great acts to bring the crowds back.

But they've some work to go until they bring the ticket sales back to previous levels.

Craig David's second Castle Concerts gig in 2017
Craig David's second Castle Concerts gig in 2017

Even when Status Quo cancelled in 2015 and the event was reduced to three nights, organisers managed to sell 11,981 tickets with Peter Andre selling 4,445 tickets and Billy Ocean selling 4,433, before the ever popular Proms drew 3,103.

Medway Council's assistant director of transformation, Carrie McKenzie, says work is under way lining up top acts for next summer.

She said: “We have welcomed some fabulous names to perform in Medway at our Castle Concerts since they started.

"Year after year Medway residents have enjoyed the music of some of our greatest artists, from the legendary Status Quo and UB40 who performed this year, to chart topping Will Young and Craig David, and the Soul Party or Magic of Motown nights have always given people a great night’s dancing.

"This year’s lower numbers were disappointing for some of the nights but a combination of a wide range of other outdoor concerts this summer as well as England’s success in the World Cup were probably a factor in keeping people away.

"We are busy working on the line up for next year’s concerts and hope that people will come back again.

"And where else can you enjoy great live music in such an iconic, intimate setting as our beautiful castle enjoying music and dancing under the stars?"

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