Rock star John Otway chooses to play special gig in a Vale of Belvoir village hall

John Otway (left) and Wild Willy Barrett, who are set to play an iconic gig at Eastwell Villlage Hall EMN-170613-135940001
John Otway (left) and Wild Willy Barrett, who are set to play an iconic gig at Eastwell Villlage Hall EMN-170613-135940001

It is often used for yoga classes, Scottish country dancing and afternoon tea but a Vale of Belvoir village hall with a growing reputation as a music venue has been chosen by a legendary rock duo as the venue to recreate their most iconic performance.

John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett have decided to play Eastwell Village Hall later this year for their one-off show.

Rock legend John Otway EMN-170613-152417001

Rock legend John Otway EMN-170613-152417001

Fans who attend will see Otway re-enacting the moment he jumped on an amplifier stack and came crashing down on the stage while playing live on BBC2’s The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1977.

Before that dramatic incident the pair were virtually unknown in the UK but it rocketed them to stardom, sparked big record sales and led to an invitation to appear on the biggest music show of them all, Top of the Pops.

So why Eastwell? In an exclusive interview with the Melton Times,

John explained: “When we were looking at venues Willy said ‘I know the perfect place’. He has played there before and he absolutely loved it.

Eastwell Village Hall EMN-170613-140409001

Eastwell Village Hall EMN-170613-140409001

“Willy thought it was a great place to celebrate our anniversary of that Whistle Test gig.

“I’ve rebuilt one of those old amps so I can re-enact that famous incident from the TV show.”

Undoubtedly that fall, during a performance of ‘Cheryl’s Going Home’, made them as a duo and they continue to gig together.

A You Tube clip of his gaffe has been viewed more than a million times.

“Wild Willy was actually really annoyed,” John revealed.

“This was our first big appearance on national TV and I managed to unplug his amplifier by what I did and he couldn’t play anymore.

“He thought it was one big cock-up at the time.

“It was only afterwards when we started to think that I might have done something rather clever.”

John added: “Before we had been playing to 40 to 50 people but after we went on TV that night we had audiences of 500 to 1,000.

“We were selling 10s of copies of the single before that show and after it was more like thousands.

“And three weeks after the programme we were on Top of the Pops with The Boom Town Rats and Paul McCartney.”

The award-winning £250,000 hall, which opened in 2015 , has hosted a series of concerts called Live@Eastwell, which were kicked off by Wild Willy Barrett’s French Connection.

Artists have said it offers superb acoustics and state-of- the-art lighting in modern comfortable surroundings, which combine to create a cosy, intimate atmosphere,

Village hall treasurer John Gass said: “The Otway and Barrett event is close to selling out already.

“It is certainly a coup for our little village and it shows just how much artists enjoy performing here.”

Go online at www.eastwell.org.uk/concerts or call 01949 869492 to buy tickets for the gig, which is on October 18.