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East 17 headline Sittingbourne's Party In The Park

Bad boys of 1990s pop East 17 are headlining Sittingbourne’s annual Party in the Park music festival this Saturday.

The band, now a trio, are playing the outdoor concert with top Kent groups Marylebone Jelly, The Chaucers, Taking Care of Vegas, Skadekat and Heroes.

The day of music is to raise funds for The Appleyard, formerly the UKP Leisure Club, in the Avenue of Remembrance.

East 17 will be playing Sittingbourne's Part in the Park this summer (12646502)
East 17 will be playing Sittingbourne's Part in the Park this summer (12646502)

Appleyard boss Mike Farrow said: “This is our single biggest fund-raiser of the year and helps keep the club going and subsidises our sports pitches."

He added: "There is a lot of competition these days where you can see bands for free so we wanted to put on something really special.

"People who have seen East 17 this year say they are still awesome. We have had requests for tickets from all over the place and are well on our way to selling out all 3,000 places."

East 17 will be playing Sittingbourne's Part in the Park this summer (12646505)
East 17 will be playing Sittingbourne's Part in the Park this summer (12646505)

The family-friendly concert is on the sports ground in Gore Court Road and will include outside bar, food, fairground rides and inflatables.

East 17 were founded in 1992 by songwriter Tony Mortimer and ex-Pet Shop Boys' manager Tom Watkins as the 'antidote' to Take That and sporting shaved heads and tattoos.

Mortimer's school-friend John Hendy was hired on backing vocals and Terry Coldwell and Brian Harvey, who were three years younger, were commandeered as dancers.

Shaved and tattooed: East 17 in the 1990s complete with orange 'boiler suits' (13030583)
Shaved and tattooed: East 17 in the 1990s complete with orange 'boiler suits' (13030583)

Rapper Harvey was soon promoted to lead singer to give the band a grittier sound.

The lads named themselves after the Walthamstow postcode where they lived and notched up 18 top 20 singles including House Of Love, It's Alright, Steam, Let It Rain and the Christmas number one Stay Another Day.

Ed Austin and Saul Watson of Marylebone Jelly. Picture: John Nurden (13022639)
Ed Austin and Saul Watson of Marylebone Jelly. Picture: John Nurden (13022639)

But it all came to an undignified end in 1997 when Harvey suggested in a radio interview that drugs were cool and "ecstasy can make you a better person."

He was sacked and when Mortimer left later, the band imploded.

It is now a three-piece led by original member Terry Coldwell.

The Chaucers at Ka Hula Festival Sittingbourne (13022805)
The Chaucers at Ka Hula Festival Sittingbourne (13022805)

Robbie Craig of Artful Dodger has been lead singer since 2014 and Terry John joined last year.

They have more UK shows in the pipeline along with a new single, Strip No 1.

Party In The Park tickets are £25 on the gate (£10 children) or £17.50 (£12.50 members, £7.50 children) in advance from 01795 427852 or theappleyard.net. Gates open 2pm.

Elvis fun band Taking Care Of Vegas. Picture: John Nurden (13022035)
Elvis fun band Taking Care Of Vegas. Picture: John Nurden (13022035)

What's On: For other Kent showbusiness stories head to our What’s On section


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