Rock'n'Roll HQ organised the 2005 Eddie Cochran weekend at Chippenham and have already booked the event for 2006. They are also organising other gigs and a statue appeal for Eddie. See web site: www.rocknrollhq.com


Festival Shows
Undying Love for Cochran

(With kind permission of Joanne Moore, Deputy Editor of the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald)

GAZETTE & HEARLD: PARTYGOERS rocked around the clock for three days at the annual Eddie Cochran festival held in Chippenham. Regular rock and rollers from all over the county and fans from Cornwall to Scotland got into the high spirits and jived until their feet were sore.

Billed a huge success and described as magical, the festival, a celebration of Cochran's life featured live music, a motor cavalcade and stalls.

It came close to buckling this year when 2004 organiser, John Knight, was declared bankrupt and lacked the funds to book the venue.

But Bristol Cochran fans Ken Hersey and Gwen Hale stepped into the breach and set up a new event at the Olympiad in just nine weeks.

Ms Hale said: "It's been really successful. People have come because of the memories they have of Eddie Cochran. It's 45 years since his tragic accident but every year is special.

"The sound that he had was different to every other rock and roll artist and no one has recreated that.

"I'm 62 years old and I've been into rock and roll since I was 12. I love the music and in my head I'm 17 all over again. It keeps you young. I can still get out there and enjoy it and dance."

Dressed from head to toe in 1950s ensembles, the women oozed style in flowing skirts sprinkled with polka dots and the men exuded coolness in leather jackets with the collars turned up.

Couples danced the days away to Blackcat from Essex, the Flying Saucers from London and the John Lewis Rock'n'Roll Trio from Wales, the glitter from their clothes sparkling in the bright lights.

Joy Giles, 53, from Dorset has only missed one festival out of the ten that have been hosted in Chippenham and said it is extra special to her because she shares Cochran's birthday.

"It's brilliant," she said. "We were really pleased it still happened this year because we had already bought our tickets after the 2004 event. "We would be really upset if the festival didn't carry on."

Forty-year-old Janet Salisbury and her pal Hayley McCue, 25, both from Gloucestershire, were camping for the whole weekend and brought five different outfits each in case they couldn't decide what to wear. "Everyone should come, it's brilliant," Ms Salisbury said.

Organisers Mr Hersey and Ms Hale have already booked the Olympiad for next year's festival, from September 15 to 17. "We just want people to come back every year to support us," Ms Hale said. "We'll give it all we've got to keep rock and roll alive."

And in time for the 2006 extravaganza, which may include artists such as Paul Ansels No9, House Rockers, Sugar Creek Trio and Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers, there might be an extra special addition outside.

Mr Hersey said they had been fundraising so a statue of Cochran could be put up close to the Olympiad. Rock and roll legend Charlie Gracie, who still performs in Philadelphia, had offered to unveil it. They just need the green light from North Wiltshire District Council before the statue can go ahead.

Mr Hersey added: "We couldn't do this without our friends. We've had so many best wishes and we want to thank them all."

See archive at http://archive.thisiswiltshire.co.uk/2005/9/22/250273.html.



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