Already this year fans have mourned the passing of David Bowie, Prince and Maurice White from Earth, Wind and Fire among others.
Spike’s All Star Band is made up of varying big name artists who play their own and other musicians’ hits for a great party atmosphere and Madeline Bell, who will be appearing with them, is planning a fitting send-off.
She says: ‘We want to do something big for this show. I would love to do a tribute to the people we have lost because there have been too many already this year.
‘I have spoken to Spike who asked what I want to do. I said: “Let’s do something different. We have lost some big names so let’s do a tribute’’, so that is something we might look at doing”.’
One of the great joys of playing festivals for Bell – and for solo artist and former Marillion frontman Fish, who will also be part of the SAS line-up at Wickham – is the chance to meet up with old friends in a happy environment.
Fish says: ‘I got very excited when I saw the Wickham line-up. To be honest, I didn’t know too much about the festival when Spike rang and asked if I would do it. Then I saw the line-up and thought: “Wow!” I said yes straight away. There are some fantastic artists there and it will be great to see a lot of old friends.
‘Festival bills like this are the only real chance we get to meet up and see people we have not seen for years.’
Bell adds: ‘The only other time we see them these days is at funerals – we don’t get too many weddings now! And it really has been a bad year for funerals.’
The pair will be joined at Wickham by Toyah Willcox and Queen drummer Roger Taylor for what is sure to be a magical night.
The band was founded by Spike Edney, who was Queen’s ‘fifth man’ and it has featured legendary names as diverse as Roger Daltrey, Lulu, Bob Geldof, Bruce Dickinson, Leo Sayer and Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley – who headlined Wickham last night.
Fish said: ‘I met Spike when he was playing keyboards with Queen on the Magic tour in ’86. Marillion played with them and when Spike set up the SAS Band, he contacted me about playing a few shows with them.
‘I had no hesitation getting involved – I thought it was a great concept. It did not quite work at first. We found the one-off gigs were better. We did try a tour but the fun went out of it a little, it became more like work. Changing things around a bit kept it fresh.’
This will be a special night for Spike, who comes from Portsmouth and whose first venture with the SAS Band was at the old Gosport Festival.
Saturday, August 6