‘Great minds think alike’ say organisers as Jimi Hendrix anniversary set to be celebrated with two gigs in Dereham

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 September 2017

Jimi Hendrix photographed by Richard Snasdell in May 1967 at Spalding, Lincolnshire. he played in Dereham later that year.

Jimi Hendrix photographed by Richard Snasdell in May 1967 at Spalding, Lincolnshire. he played in Dereham later that year.

Fans of the music of Jimi Hendrix will be spoilt for choice as two gigs have been organised in Dereham on the same night to mark exactly 50 years since he played in the market town.

A poster advertising the Jimi Hendrix concert in Dereham. A poster advertising the Jimi Hendrix concert in Dereham.

The Norfolk Blues Society is having a gig at The Metro, formerly the Wellington Club where Hendrix played, on Saturday, October 7 while The Railway Tavern has tribute act Purple Jimi playing in the pub.

But both gig organisers say there is no rivalry between the two events and wish each other success.

Stewart and Doreen Aitken, founders of the Norfolk Blues Society, said their “same night, same building, 50 years on” anniversary event was sparked by an article in the Dereham Times at the beginning of the year which shared memories of the 1967 Hendrix gig from those lucky enough to get a ticket.

“This will be a totally, unique, unrepeatable experience, a night that you should not miss,” said Mr Aitken. “The top Norfolk blues musicians who will be playing their tribute to the great man on the night are Ron Sayer & friends, Against The Grain and an excellent band of musicians from the Norfolk Blues Society.”

Tickets for this event, costing £5, are available via the Metro Facebook page and here and funds raised will go to support the charitable education work of the Norfolk Blues Society. It starts at 9.30pm.

Mrs Aitken said they knew about the Railway Tavern gig and wished them a “hearty and successful night”.

“It is a case of great minds thinking alike,” she said. “The events have enough difference to appeal to a wide market and we feel that both venues deserve full support from live music fans in the town and surrounding areas as both are stalwarts of the Dereham Blues Festival.” Paul Sandford, landlord of the Railway Tavern, said their tribute night had been on their calendar for months. He previously said that as the Wellington Club was originally the Tavern Club they felt it was appropriate to do something to mark the anniversary at the pub.

Purple Jimi will play from 9pm, with free entry.

“I’m sure that both evenings will be a success,” said Mr Sandford. “We have had ours in the planning for a year or more.

“We are thankful we have the UK’s number one Jimi Hendrix tribute act and can offer them free of charge to the community.

Memories of another Hendrix tribute gig

Twenty five years ago Doreen and Stewart Aitken played key roles in another Hendrix tribute night - but this was to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Before the couple were married Doreen, then Parsons, painted a 10ft backdrop for a gig at the King’s Head in Norwich. Headlining the gig were Against the Grain, whose bass guitarist happened to be Stewart Aitken.

“I remember the event back in 1990 was so packed out there was about 50 standing outside and folk were walking down the road to the next pub to make use of their toilets,” said Mrs Aitken.

“The back drop was auctioned off for £60 and the money went to a drugs rehabilitation centre - Matthews Trust.

“This has brought back so many memories and it has made me realise just how long Stew and I have been organising fund-raising events and founding good cause organisations together.”

MORE: Fans remember the day Jimi Hendrix rocked Dereham

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