I was lucky enough to grow up in the town of Maidenhead in Berkshire and ever since Norden Farm, Centre for the Arts was built in 2000, I have always wanted to play there. It was so close when I lived in Maidenhead, I used to walk to the venue and watch some of the live music events there. When I formed The Zoots, I hoped we’d, one day, perform at Norden Farm, and today was that day, The Zoots were finally playing at the venue a stone’s throw away from where the band was formed.
I had been looking forward to the show for a very long time. We had worked really heard to publicise the show and let everyone know we were performing locally. We had a lot of support from the local newspapers and press. It had been six years since my last local show in my hometown so I had lots of friends and family who were looking forward to coming to see us perform. The first 25 tickets were bought by my Mum and Dad, even though they had seen our show just a few weeks earlier at The Marine Theatre!
The way was bright as we made our way over to Maidenhead. Not only was it out debut performance at Norden Farm, but today was also our bass player, Tommy’s birthday! Simon bought him a much needed, alarm clock and we got him a guitar tuner!
We arrived in good time and set up our equipment.
After some careful planning with the excellent technical team at Norden Farm (Matt, Rob and Chris) we had arranged for some new video footage for the show which we were really excited about. The stage was a really nice size and the screen was fantastic! We had our newest addition to the band; Ed Scott, our sound guy who was making sure we sounded our best at his first public show with us.
Set up and soundcheck went smoothly, and before I knew it, we were on! I was overjoyed to see so many familiar faces, friends from school, family friends, old football team mates, friends I hadn’t seen for years and years. I can’t thank you all enough for coming.
During the quick interval between sets we got changed into our new outfits.
The second set started with Simon on drums who got the crowd clapping along. We celebrated 50 yeas since the release of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts club band by opening our second show with the first two songs from the album.
One of my favourite parts of the show was when my dear friend from school Sarah Pearce came up on stage. She was a great performer, we even had members of the audience ask if she was planted as she knew all the moves!
We continued with the show and sang Happy Birthday to Tommy twice, the second time Emma (Tommy’s lovely lady) bought out a cake with candles!
At the end of the show we had a fantastic applause and standing ovation from the crowd (most of which I knew)!
After the show it was great to catch up with some friends; Damian and Stuart pictured with the Yellow Zoots T-Shirts, Johnny and Debbie Debbie, Colin and Mel.
A special congratulations to Daniel Quarterman and his fiancee Katie Meyer who got engaged a few days before the show!
Thanks to Jane, Matt, Chris, Rob, Terri and all the team from Norden Farm. Thank you to Harriet for arranging all the posters, flyers and arranging the logistics for the band. Thank you so much to everyone who came and bought all their friends, Mum, Dad, Lizzie, Sarah, Nick, Tom , Sue, Jenny, Suzie, Vicki and Ben Melhuish , Christine Ward, Sandra and all her friends from Ridgeway, Pat & Clive Capp, Linda Draper, John and Jackie Hamilton, Jannie from Autocare and Cobus, Johnny and Debbie, Ben and Sarah Foster, Mary Greenhalgh, Brian, Yuliya Cheema, Daniel Quarterman and his fiancee Katie and their family. Thank you to Phil Dumville and his wife Sarah for coming down even though you hadn’t slept for days. Thank you to Tommy, Ben, Simon and Harriet for all your great work on stage. Thank you to Emma who helped with the merchandise stall and your general support. thank you to Ed our sound man for making sure everyone could hear everything.
We hope to see you all again at Norden Farm next year.
Lots of love,
The Zoots Jamie, Harriet, Ben, Simon and Tommy