FOR any aspiring DJ, a gig at the Isle of Wight Festival and a slot playing at Lily Allen’s wedding would be the stuff of dreams.
But it’s very much a reality for pint-sized Ted Lavender – even though he’s a top tune spinner aged just 12.
Under the name of Ted at the Controls, the Purbrook Park pupil has been wowing crowds. And he practises mixing his favourite reggae tracks in his bedroom.
He got his first break when he played a slot at the Endorsit Festival, in Dorset, run by a friend of the family.
That was followed by a guest appearance at the Strummerville benefit gig at the Wedgewood Rooms in December, in aid of the musicians’ charity set up by the widow of Clash legend Joe Strummer.
In the audience was Dave Clark, from Southsea club night Hipshaker, who was so impressed he booked him for the Friday night at Hipshaker tent at the Isle of Wight Festival, next weekend.
Now he’s set to play at the wedding reception for pop singer Lily, who has links to Ted’s family.
Ted’s proud dad Andy, 50, said it all began a year ago when got his first decks. Mr Lavender, of London Road, Widley, said: ‘I’ve got quite a large, eclectic vinyl collection, and Ted really enjoyed playing my records but most of all he loves reggae and started buying his own. He saved up to buy his own decks and spent every hour he could on them.
‘The reaction he got from the first gigs was brilliant. After his set at the Endorsit Festival people were stopping him as he walked round, talking about his set.
‘My eldest daughter is Lily’s half-sister and we’re all going along to the wedding. Sarah just rang up and Lily really wants Ted to play at the wedding. He is not boastful at all. He’s a very quiet, unassuming person but once he’s on the decks you can’t get him off.’
Ted has already picked out his top tune for his festival debut next weekend, Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin. But he’ll be playing a different style for Lily’s wedding and he isn’t in the least nervous.
He said: ‘I’ll probably play more early stuff at Isle of Wight but it will be ska and different types of reggae at the wedding. I do a lot of practising and I don’t get nervous except at the beginning. Mostly it’s just really exciting.’
Of the bride-to-be he said: ‘She’s really nice, most of the time.’
Despite the promising career ahead of him he has decided to keep DJing as a side project – with an altogether different career path lined up.
‘I want to be an antiques dealer and I’ll probably do DJing at the weekends’, he said.