31 performers and on-stage guests.
120 songs.
2 concerts.
2 films
18 hours of entertainment and socialising.

Two amazing days.



11.45am Vince Eager reminisces

5pm:  Vince Eager interviews Jack Good - 5pm Saturday.


Ritchie Brookes, Emily Buckley, Laura Buckley, Chris Bucknell, Doug Collins, Rob Dee, Russ Dee, Vince Eager, Richard Edwards, Martin "Fred" Featherstone, Jack Good, Dave Harman, Tony Harte, Daniel Heeney, Geoff Howlett, KD Kane, Chas McDevitt, Nick McNulty, Dave Michael, Colin Paul, Roger Sea, Ray Shenton, Garry Slade, Johnny Storme, Simon Taylor, Christie Taylor, Karen Taylor, Tony Turner, Clive Wilce, Dougie Wright.

Paul Beal, Mags Cummings, Christine Formosa, Jean Shenton, Ray Shenton (Production Controller), Henry Swindells, Pauline Swindells, Harry Whitehouse (Promoter and Producer), Louise Whitehouse, Maureen Whitehouse, Richard Whitehouse.


September 19-20, 2003

The Without You album project drew together a wonderful band of people, and the next step seemed to be to continue the momentum by organising a show on a really worthwhile scale.

I decided to consider a project in a centrally-located traditional theatre, with shows on a Friday and Saturday night, raising money for the heart fund at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.

Ray Shenton, a superb Billy Fury tribute artist who lives in the north-west, agreed to give me the benefit of his professional experience by becoming the show's Production Controller.

He and his wife Jean have provided unstinting support and counsel throughout the project.

About three years earlier, I had met Vince Eager, who was Billy’s flatmate for some time, and who now fronts a superb band, Rockola. Vince had become a good friend, and over a drink in a pub, he became my first, very valuable signing.

Vince agreed to headline the Saturday night show, and from that night, his inside knowledge, expertise and downright common sense proved to be some of our major assets.

An early favourite venue was Grantham Civic Centre, a fairly modern venue holding about 250 people. This fell through, however, and I turned my attention to my local theatre in Newark, which holds more than 600.

Billy had appeared on the stage twice, and it seemed a superb setting.

The theatre offered me their only available weekend dates at the end of summer - September 19 and 20.

Ray and Jean joined me one Friday afternoon while we looked over the facilities, and I wrote out a cheque for a 200 deposit.

I booked only the stalls, providing us with 350 seats, at a total cost of almost 1,000. We were committed!

I wanted to show the films Play It Cool and I’ve Gotta Horse.

However, I had no luck tracing prints of them, and I spent a lot of time trying to set up an arrangement to project the videos of them onto The Palace’s cinema screen,

Hiring the special projector would cost 500, and I was finding it impossible to get complete clearance for the videos. There was a vague promise that I would get permission if no one was specifically charged to see the films, but I couldn’t even get that in writing.

I was asking every possible contact on the internet for information on the films, and eventually, the National Film Museum told me that they believed Canal Plus had the last surviving prints.

This company confirmed that they did, in fact, have copies, and they referred me to their distributors, Winstone, who agreed to rent them to us.

Meanwhile, the Friday night cast was coming together.

Rob Dee and the Fury Sound were booked as the Friday night headline act, and many of the very talented artists who appear on the Without You album agreed to provide the support.

I had seen 16-year-old Laura Buckley perform at Margate and Liverpool, and I had the pleasure of listening to some superb recordings she had made.

I felt that Laura would provide excellent support for Vince on Saturday night, and through her manager, Kevin Summerfield, she was engaged to open the second half.

As we would have no rehearsal time for the Friday show, but as I wanted it to have a format that looked professional, I suggested to Ray that we should be inspired by Oh Boy.

The acts should appear stage left, then stage right, in quick succession, with a spotlight on the current performer, without individual introductions, then with featured spots for some artists to break up the routine.

That early idea was adopted and made to work brilliantly by Ray and Jean, who made the very sensible suggestion that each performer should also have a Billy Fury spot at the end.

There were still several unresolved questions.

Should we book another live band to close the first half of the Friday show? (Thank goodness we didn’t, as the length of the show proved a major headache.)

Ray offered to compere, but I also wanted him to display his considerable singing talents and open the Saturday show.

The problem of closing the first half proved a knotty one.

We investigated an Everly Brothers tribute act, among others, before Vince put me in touch with Chas McDevitt, the leader of the skiffle group that recorded the multi-million selling Freight Train in the late 1950s.

That was a wonderful break, as Chas proved to be a huge hit, and it also introduced me to his music.

The Palace were unsure whether two rooms upstairs would be available to us, as a lift was being installed during the summer, and building work could prevent access to the upper floor.

The bar of The Palace would hold no more than 100 in comfort for an extended period, so we had the problem of where to put folk on Saturday afternoon, if we had considerably more in attendance.

I provisionally booked a second venue, Gusto’s, 200 yards along the street, where I intended that our magical DJ Daniel Heeney should run his disco.

In the event, daytime bookings made this unnecessary, which meant that we had the great advantage of Daniel’s presence in the bar throughout most of the proceedings.

Early in the year, I had met the veteran television and record producer Jack Good, who has retired to rural Oxfordshire, and he very kindly agreed to attend on the Saturday afternoon to be interviewed on stage by Vince.

Vince also volunteered to speak about his life and times in the late 1950s/early 1960s in the morning.

I won’t detail my ambitious plans to attract other celebrity guests - all of which were either ignored or proved financially impractical - but we were very sad that Hal Carter was unable to attend through illness.

However, we did welcome Dougie Wright, a former drummer with Lord Rockingham’s XI and the John Barry Seven.

Through Vince, I invited Shane Fenton/Alvin Stardust to join Vince on stage after the showing of Play It Cool (Alvin, of course, appears in the film) but he was booked for a charity event on that day.

I wanted to have a high quality programme, but the local printers didn’t seem too keen to produce one to our specification.

I decided to take the plunge and buy the cheapest colour laser printer on the market, not realising that once the partially-charged toner cartridges that are supplied with new printers ran out, I would face a huge bill for new cartridges.

Nevertheless, I was very pleased with the end product.

It became clear that we would not have a huge audience, but I was determined that Alder Hey would get something from the show. I decided to cost the programmes separately, so that even if the festival made a loss, I could hand over the proceeds from the programme sales, plus the takings from a quiz run by Pauline Swindells.

A great deal of effort went into promoting the weekend. There were three mentions on Radio 2, and Vince and I even drove to Essex to appear as guests in a three hour show on Radio Caroline.

Finally, the countdown on the front page of billyfury.com reached Day 0 and I drove to The Palace soon after 1pm on Friday September 19.

I haven’t dwelt on the sets, as you can hear them all for yourself.

What happened backstage, I don’t know, because I wasn’t there. I do know that thanks to everyone involved, the shows went smoothly and professionally, and I would be delighted if Ray or Mags or Chrstine supplied me with an account of their work.

In fact, I’d be grateful for as many personal views as possible.

We set out to make this the friendly festival, and from start to finish, that’s exactly what it was.

The festival itself didn’t make a profit, but thanks to the programme sales, a donation from the Sound Of Fury fan club in return for their magazine and plaque sales on the festival desk, and the money raised by Pauline’s competition, we were able to send a cheque for 350 to Alder Hey.

I had a wonderful time with a lot of wonderful people, but with so much happening, I find it very difficult to separate events sufficiently to be able to report on them intelligently.

I do know that thanks to the brilliant organisation of Ray and Jean, the Oh Boy sequence went like a dream. The solo spots were superb, and our headliners, Rob Dee and the Fury Sound, were exceptional. What a show!

There was a big surprise at the start, as Johnny Storme, against all expectations, had made the journey from the Isle of Wight, and performed Billy’s unreleased single, I Must Be Dreaming.

Ray, I have to say, was a revelation as a compere. He built an instant rapport with the audience – well, they just loved him. Even my Mum was overwhelmed when he gave her a kiss.

On Saturday morning, those who managed to get out of bed in time were well rewarded by Play It Cool on the cinema screen, which we could see as it was intended to be seen.

The technical staff at The Palace had to spend five hours repairing it for projection (and, of course, we had to pay for that work) because when it was shown on a small screen in a museum on Merseyside in July, it was damaged and it was delivered to us in an unusable condition.

Vince gave a captivating talk on stage for 45 minutes about his times with Billy, before we broke for lunch,

I’ve Gotta Horse was next on the big screen, having needed only an hour’s work, caused by the fact that it appeared not to have been removed from the film can for more than 35 years.

We adjourned to the bar for Daniel’s disco, and discovered that several members of the audience had unsuspected talents during a karaoke session.

Vince interviewed Jack Good - what a splendid character he is - and Dougie Wright on stage, then we sought sustenance while waiting for the main show to start.

Ray opened proceedings with a brilliant selection of Billy songs, including a featured selection from the Billy album.

He called Chris Eley from the Sound Of Fury fan club, on stage and I was presented with a magnificent portrait.

Chas McDevitt was a revelation, with a relaxed 30 minute spot accompanied only by his acoustic guitar.

The second half opened with Laura, accompanied on guitar by Nick McNulty, and supported by her 11-year-old sister Emily for a confident and self-assured set.

Then came our superb headliners, Vince Eager and Rockola. I have seen Vince in action several times, but on Saturday, he was at his rocking best.

We closed with the remaining artists back on stage, leading the audience in Halfway To Paradise and In Thoughts Of You, then Vince brought the house down with Let’s Have A Party.

For the record, we issued 181 tickets for the Friday night, 140 for Saturday daytime and 316 for Saturday night.

That tells about 1% of the story of Fury Fest 03 - but the report is already far too long.  

Five months of work for an 18 hour show, but what a wonderful weekend.  How better can you enjoy yourself than being surrounded by your friends?

I’ll never forget it. - HW


I started work for FF03 months before the event. Putting a 50 question quiz together, printing out T shirts. Collecting prizes for the quiz….two of which, a cushion with a picture of Billy and a laundry bag with the FF3 poster on were homemade and unique. And, my friend Penny who made them up for me has my grateful thanks for doing such a wonderful job.

I travelled up from the Isle of Wight on the Thursday morning, arriving in Newark in the early afternoon. As I’d been sat in the car for four hours, the first thing we did was take a good walk and investigate the local pub. We stayed with Maureen and Harry and they made us so welcome it was like a home from home. We had dinner with Maureen and Harry on Thursday night, beautifully cooked and prepared by Maureen.

Friday morning, whilst Harry and Maureen were at work, we went into Newark and had a wander around. After lunch, prepared by Morrisons, but reheated by me!, we set off for the theatre. It was lovely to be so involved in everything that was taking place….meeting the artists as they arrived for rehearsals and, of course meeting up with everyone from the site. Moya and Harry turned me into an autograph hunting groupie…but I’m not complaining, I felt 16 again!!

Time just seemed to whiz by. Henry collected Maureen from work, we had dinner at a local restaurant where we met up with Pat and her husband and Mags and Chris. Then, it was show time.

As so much has been written about the show and the sound files are on the site….I’ll just say two words to describe the show…..stupendous and unforgettable. I loved the "Oh Boy" format…a masterstroke.

Saturday found us at the theatre bright and early. I sat through "Play it Cool" without smelling salts (quite an achievement as I thought Billy looked like sex on legs in this film…..cor!) Then, a sandwich lunch and after, a whole afternoon with the lovely Daniel. He is amazing…..he had the grown ups and the kiddies spellbound. 

I went to watch "I’ve got a horse". I’d never seen this film before and I have to admit, that I didn’t enjoy this one half as much as "Play it Cool". Yes, I know, Billy looked yummy, but I didn’t think the film did him any favours. Then Daniel’s karaoke……and well done the courageous Mags and Babs who joined in and sang.

Then, dinner and once again it was show time. Again, so much has been written about Saturday’s show that I’ll just say the same two words…stupendous and unforgettable.

The whole two days just flew by. I so enjoyed it all. Talking to Billy’s fans…meeting up with everyone from the site…..and having Kat and Maria’s company for the both of the shows….we didn’t stop laughing, or clapping, or being cheeky to the "stars" for a minute…..having Rob sing to me, twice, and thank you Rob for "My Girl"…….meeting Louise and Paul and of course, the very charming Richard…..and managing to keep Johnny Storme’s secret.

I so look forward to FF04.


At The Palace on Friday, I was greeted by a breath of fresh air as out from behind a table drifted Pauline, then I was whisked away to see Harry who at his point was looking like: "Oh heck, I hope everything will go well."

I sorted out my little spot out and set out my display boards, which I have been working on for so long, the my Billy disco lights, and I was then set.

Friday evening

I have now met not only the fantastic Rob Dee and Chris but also the lovely Pat and lots of people who took time out to say: Hi."

It was the people who made things so great.


After a fantastic Friday night's entertainment, I was there from 10 onwards as I was so excited to be there.

At this point I would like to say the foyer staff were brill and we all had a great day when I privately performmed a few songs for them while everyone else was watching the films.  The lady who served the tea brought in her own photo of Billy - what lovely people.

The karaoke went well in the afternoon, which I was really really pleased about as this was a special purchased on my behalf for the FF event,but it was worthwhile to hear the talented people such as Dave and Kevin - they must be professionals - the lovely Mags (secret preparation in the loos) Dave with the support of his kids and the forever lovely (if not shaking a little) Babs.


The evening was beyond words.  

I turned up in my gold drape, and even did my Billy card trick and a few balloon animals for the kids, and had a great night.

After ages looking forward to this, I would like to say thanks to one and all -
firstly Harry for the idea and the organisation and Ray Shenton for holding it all together.


To all the artists: Dave (mother will be proud of the plaque) Roger, Russ, Geoff, Trackback, the great sounding KD Kane, Garry Slade and Tony Harte (a versatile singer who would claim to be the most handsome) a very warm well done to the forever great Colin Paul, Laura and your sister (what a fantastic pair).

I would also like to point out what a fantastic sound was  produced by the PA.  It was the  highest of quality and enhanced what was already a fantastic sound from all.

A very warm and special thanks to all who said "hi" to me,  that's Linda the Essex Fury fan club and Chris of the Sound Of Fury .And there is one lady who looked after me, that's a lovely lady called Pat.

It was a great weekend and there is one line that says it all.  It's in the brochure.  

This was the friendly festival.


It's taken me a week to come down from my experience of Fury Fest.

I got down to newark about 3.30.  The first people i met were Pauline and her husband and Harry and Maureen.

From then on it was all go.  As soon as I walked into the theatre I was called up for my sound check.

Ray Shenton soon marked my card for me.  "Good news and bad news," he said.  "The good was you sounded fine.  The bad is you cannot walk round the stage.  You stand there where the spotlight is."

Next I met Colin Paul who I later shared a dressing room with.  What a fantastic guy.

Then Garry Slade.  What a giant in every sense.  Then the great Rob Dee.  I missed his show in Margate.  You were all I expected and more.

Then Geoff Howlett and his wife Judith.  What a great couple.  Then I saw Roger Sea and Trackback.  What a great band.

It wasn't until later that I saw the southern section of the show, but what pros: Dave Michael and Tony Harte.

Last but not least the Welsh lassie KD Kane. I've never heard a bad Welsh singer yet and she's no different.

On with the show.  Ray was supposed to start the show but when we heard Johnny Storme all of us back stage were looking through every crack in every curtain.  It was a great surprise Johnny and it was great to see you and your wife again.

Mags and Christine were fantastic behind the scenes.  One time we could not find  Dave Michael.  Mags was panicking because Ray told her she might have to go and sing "Oh Boy" instead.

The show absolutely flew.  After I finished my songs Ray gave me a Lancashire bear hug and cracked three of my ribs.  Thanks Ray.

Another lady I'm always glad to see is Jean Shenton.  She is always so friendly and like many other people was kept very busy.  If I've missed anybody out I'm so sorry.

Last of all I would like to thank all of the audience for making it one of the best nights of my life.

PS Ray, you were superb with me thanks.

Harry adds:  A domestic crisis stopped Russ from returning on Saturday, so he missed a surprise we had for him.  Everyone at the show signed a copy of the Without You album, which I forwarded to him, to recognise his remarkable help, in selling more than 60 copies at his gigs. 


The very First Fury Festival - Fury Fest 2003. THE SURPRISE!

Due to a gig falling on the same Saturday as the FF03 here on the Isle of Wight, I was resigned to missing, what I knew would be a great two day show. The nearer it got to the day, the more I wanted to be there, but knew that it would be almost impossible.

About four to five weeks before the show, I received an email from Ray Shenton, asking if I could send the backing track to him to use at FF03, as Harry really liked the song.
I umm’d and Aaah’d and after a while emailed Ray, asking him that if I was to travel up, would we be able to surprise Harry somehow with the song. He replied, saying leave it with me… and a few days later the plot was formed, the hotel booked (by Ray and Jean, in their name) and Johnny Storme was to get his own back on Harry’s big surprise at a club on the Island, where Johnny Storme had just started performing.

Friday 19th September 2003.

The day off was booked, tickets purchased, car serviced, and Diane and myself were on the Ferry at the start of a 5 hour journey to Newark. This was to be only the second time that we had traveled up on motorways…….. we only have a short duel carriage way here on the Island, so we aren’t experienced at Mainland driving. We had our maps out and an RAC route map from the internet. We got lost within the first few minutes, but were able to get back on track within a few miles!!

After arriving at the Millgate House Hotel, I phoned Ray, and Jean answered the phone. After making sure that the way was clear for us, Jean greeted us, and we booked in and hurried to our room so as no-one would see us. After settling in we saw people we recognized arrive, such as Mags, Dave Oram and his dear Wife, Russ Dee and his Wife and Geoff and Judith Howlett.
Others from the message board were seen coming in and a tall guy (Gary Slade) who promptly sat outside our window at a table with a drink. We were now prisoners in our room and remain so from 2.40pm until 6.30pm.

Not able to get out too find the theatre; I decided to phone Ray again to ask for directions. Little did I know, but Ray thought that I was Tony, as he was running a little late, and passed the phone over to Harry………( the one person whom I didn’t want to speak to at that time, seeing as it was him I was going to surprise!!!)
I managed to bluff my way through the conversation AND get the directions!!! Harry thought that who-ever was on the other end of the phone was either a complete nutter, or someone who was not as sober as he should have been!! He passed me back to Ray who as soon as he realized that it was me, told Harry that I was a friend, up to see the show. Harry then said to Ray that as soon as he sees me, he would apologise!!

Jean phoned later, and to make sure, gave me the directions again, telling me that Kat would be walking down to the theatre around 6.30pm.
We followed at a distance until we got to the theatre, ducking into shop door fronts every time She glanced back! Diane went on into the theatre, and I went to the side door, asking if I could see Ray.
After greeting me, Ray showed me up to the stage through a side door, and was promptly met by Mags.
You should have seen your face Mags, it was a picture!! Shock was an understatement!!
Ray got me to hide at the back whilst waiting to go on. I stood there for about five minutes, and then someone came up from the dressing room. Roger Sea passed by me, and glanced as he passed. A few seconds passed and he turned round again and said “You shouldn’t be here… you’re on the Isle of Wight!” We shook hands and I made him promise not to say a word to anyone!!
I thought that I’d better move round to the side so that no-one else could see me and give the game away. As I did, I noticed Dave Michael standing by the curtain ready to go on. I had to get into position, so I walked out of the darkness towards him. Another shocked Artist!! This was getting good!!
Ray introduced the song and I was on, no sound check, no nothing. The lights up, and I couldn’t see anyone within the audience. Hopefully Harry was there to be shocked, I thought. Thank you all for the applause, it was much appreciated. My task done, I entered the theatre to rejoin my wife Diane. I had no idea where she was, but knew she was near the front. Passing by the mixing desk and Jean, I was greeted by some guy called Harry!!!
He was suitably shocked and surprised to say the least.

Thanks Ray and Jean for the arranging and thanks to Pauline and Moya for keeping the secret. Sorry I couldn’t let more people in on it but I hope it was a nice surprise.

I will add a report on Friday’s Fury Fest at a later date, but I must congratulate everyone involved………… What a show!!


Newark, being only just up the A1 from us, was easy to get to; parking however, was more difficult. 

We (Track Back and myself) coordinated our arrival at the Palace Theatre to gain maximum publicity. However the television cameras hadn't yet arrived and the crowds of people were still looking for somewhere to park! Not put-off by this we found the stage entrance and unloaded the gear, wives s an' all...what a load!
We first met Rob Dee's wife, Chris. I had only met her once before, at Margate,  I recognised her but didn't know who she was and so I asked her. She remembered, but when she asked me I'd forgotten. I wasn't wearing a gold jacket so I couldn't have been Johnny Storme. 

Anyway we were told to go to the bar where Harry would look after us. (Yes, at last, a drink on Harry!)  Now, neither Dave, Doug or I had met Harry before. But we immediately recognised him, he was blond and sort-of mean looking, not a bit like his photo! 

He said to park just down the road, he said nobody should be further than three minutes walk away. I had forgotten that Nottinghamshire people can walk at 760 miles per hour. When we finally got back to the theatre it was dark, the TV cameras had gone and the crowds had disappeared. Harry asked where we had parked, we told him "on the sea front". Ok he said, that's Skegness! 
Magic Daniel had set-up in the bar, what a really great guy, we've met him now on several occasions, he gets taller each time. By the way, thanks for putting us in touch with Unicorn in Nottingham, they made my new black and silver jacket just for Fury Fest. 

Pauline and husband sold us everything going, we'll be paying-off the loan 'till next year! Nice to see you both again, we are still doing the competition, how long do we have?
We then went to our dressing room to have our afternoon sleep. At our age ( 32) one has to keep ones energy up! 

 Talking about energy, we met Mags and Chris, what a good job they did.
Having done the sound check we settled down to some real nervous tension. 

Ray looked calm and cool (drunk again) and said that 'stage right' was in fact 'stage left, and vice versa, I'm sure he's lost it; thank goodness Jean's still OK, what a fantastic job she made of the backing cue-ups, thanks Jean.
This big bloke, Garry Slade, was trying to get some '50s slap-back' from the FX generator, heaven knows what he was on about. The sound engineer was just as puzzled. Sounded OK in the end though, didn't it Garry? 

We saw Colin Paul in his dressing room, struggling to get his tight leather trousers on! Nice guy, great voice, shame about his dress sense. 

Russ Dee on the other hand was elegant and sounded great as well. Tony Harte, what can one say other than...pass.

Geoff H, first time we had met, hopefully not the last, great person: Dave Michael, a lot older than me! Not as 'ansum as Tony, but highly professional, good to work with you again.   KD, oh what a girl, looks, voice, movement, youth and from Wales (well nobody's perfect). Rob Dee and Band, great act guys. Then there was Johnny Storme.  When I first saw him hiding in the gloom back stage I nearly reported him as a cheap imitation.  I passed him before I recognised him. Without that gold jacket he could have been anyone. Nice one Johnny. 
Last, but by know means least...Track Back, who I am honoured to say I now work with solely and full time. You are truly talented musicians, great guys and my best friends. 

Our only regret is that we didn't met as many people as we would have wished as we had to leave before the end of the Friday show as we had another show the next day. However, what a night it was, what a fantastic charming theatre, what support (thanks family and friends), what great organisation. On behalf of Track Back and myself , thanks a million to Harry and everyone.



Billy Fury Fest 2003- a review by Chris Eley

Newark is a long way from Sussex and somewhere that I had never been before this special weekend. It is actually an enjoyable place, with the castle, pub boat on the river and a great little Theatre. As we entered the Theatre on Friday the 19th we just caught, literally, the final notes of I Must Be Dreaming performed by Johnny Storm. Apart from looking the part (we met later)I really cannot comment until I catch you again Johnny! The theatre has character, from the minarets outside to the well-maintained and colourful interior. I must mention how warm and helpful all of the staff were; and this certainly contributed to the weekend.

As we settled in the other acts, compared by the irrepressible Ray Shenton (how dare you have that much hair Ray!), came out and did their stuff ‘Oh Boy’style. The sincerity and conviction of each performer was wonderful to experience and it was a great pity that the theatre was not packed-as it should have been, and indeed was on the following night. However, enough of the faithful had rears on seats to make a good deal of well-deserved applause. The evening was broken into two halves but for ease I will just refer to the artists and the numbers I recall, as opposed to the strict running order. The opening act was veteran performer Tony Harte who delivered an enjoyable set of mostly Eddie Cochran numbers during the evening, one tribute to his old mate Heinz, plus a Billy number which closed the first half I think. Liked the Stormy Tempest jacket Tony. KD Kane, a bubbly young Welsh lady with a powerful voice (a cross between Tanya Tucker and Rachel Sweet) delivered Brenda Lee and Helen Shapiro numbers really well. Dave Michael was a new one on me and put a lot of energy into mostly Cliff and Buddy Holly numbers and a take on ‘I’ll Never fall in Love again’ that had shades of Johnny Ray (the original). Big bad Gary Slade (actually one of the nicest guys you could meet) looked awesome in a red drape jacket and blond stage wig. His voice was one of the highlights of the weekend, being excellent on Marty Wilde numbers (such as Danny) and the Billy numbers too. (Wondrous Place 63’ and a superb I’m lost Without You which was the highlight of the first half.)

Gary has two enjoyable new CDs available, one of Billy tracks and one mixed 50s/60’s. Contact Gary through Harry’s web site or write with an sae to me at SOF and I will contact Gary with your details. Colin Paul delivered his usual excellence with a voice so powerful and rich that it would need Robert Gordon on the same bill to come close. Even without the Persuaders it was a typically great performance during both halves of the show. It was a nice contemporary touch to do the new Elvis single Rubberneckin’ but as always it was the big voiced ballads like Somewhere and If I Can Dream that hit the spot for most persons present. An exception was the mid tempo rocker by Ben Hewitt (which most folk thought was a rare Elvis number), Ain’t Giving up Nothin’. Great set from one of the very best live performers around today. Two new nice CD releases available too, one rocking, one of love songs (all Elvis). Order via colinpaulandthepersuaders@hotmail.com. Russ Dee and Geoff Howlett I had never seen before and I enjoyed both seeing them perform and meeting them afterwards. Russ has possibly the most authentic Billy voice I have heard done on stage and, in a nice touch, chose the lesser known numbers such as Don’t walk Away and Sleepless Nights. These are difficult to do, as is Play it Cool and some others, but Russ pulled it off. No airs and graces here, and not much movement, just a straightforward vocal tribute. Geoff delivered some Johnny Tillotsen numbers well, one a tribute to his wife Judy, Judy. also Venus in Blue Jeans (the girls at school had different lyrics!)and a couple of Billy numbers, Do you really love me too and Because of Love I think. The ‘Sting’ type arrangement on his track on the Without You CD was actually accidental I discovered later! Track Back played some Shadows numbers, which are always welcome and their usual vocalist Roger Sea entertained with a selection of authentically delivered Bobby Vee numbers. Roger also did a couple of Billy numbers, A Thousand Stars and Nothin Shakin’ as I recall. Colin and Gary duetted on Forget Him (it was NOT Billy’s last vocal performance-but it was his final vinyl single release.)The vocal was 1970/71. I have known Rob Dee for awhile but only ever caught a couple of numbers before. Now he has a full band, The Fury Sound, and puts on quite a show. The set opened with the Tornados tribute to Billy, Love’n’Fury and then came astring of hits. I Will was dedicated to Moya (she gets everywhere!). One highlight was Running Around followed I think by Wedding bells, which I found quite authentic. For most people present it was the second half that got the place going. Following Do You Really Love Me Too there were three good rockers in a row. I feel that if Rob took a couple more numbers off side one of the We Want Billy album it could be even more effective. Perhaps Baby Come On and Just Because or Sweet Little 16 .It is mostly on the fast numbers that he comes through best on stage (and you do need a band for them to be effective). It was a professional , enjoyable and sincere tribute. The punters went home happy anyway. It had been a quite long but thoroughly enjoyable evening. Rob has a nice 12 Billy track CD available via his agent on 01452-728729.

Saturday morning 10am and there on the big screen for the first time since 1962 (or 1963 in the USA I think) was Play it Cool. Harry had managed to acquire what might be the only remaining films of this and I’ve Gotta Horse (shown in the afternoon). I have to say that the emotion of seeing Play it Cool again for the first time since I was 13 was considerable-afterwards I couldn’t thank Harry enough. It was like viewing it for the first time and Linda and I were totally riveted. I even noticed that Hal (Carter) was in two shots, not just twisting in the Lotus Room but gawping (Linda’s Northern expression) at the lady dancers legs. Nice one Hal! Actually, for us guys, there are some stunning ladies in the film, especially those lovely Chinese ladies in the Lotus Room. Hal remembers it well, and not just for the legs !At one stage it was taking so long to finish the shot that the Chinese food was going cold. Hal, Billy and the boys wolfed it down and there was none left for the shot. I, and Harry I know, were both terribly disappointed at the very poor turnout for Play it Cool. Many who missed it did say they regretted it so perhaps they will turn up if there is a replay. Certainly it is no work of art but as a vehicle for Billy’s riveting performances and as a time capsule back into our time, it is great, quite funny too. The supporting singers also give a lie to the rubbish about before the Beatles there was nothing. This is great pop and a slice of quintessential Englishness. The afternoon film went down quite well and the merchandising was really good, with CDs of many of the artists,a colour programme ,posters and other goodies. There was a DJ, Daniel Heeney, who as well as being impossible to miss (well over 6 feet tall with a mane of Elvis hair) was humerous, helpful, Billy knowledgeable and pleasant. Nice to see my old friend Kevin Summerfield (Laura’s manager) strut his stuff on the Karioke and also to meet new people like Mags Cummings (a tireless helper of Harry’s) and many other really nice folk who I hope will perhaps get to Mill Hill, Blackpool etc (and back again if there is another Fury Fest.) It was nice to see Mill Hill regulars and dedicated fans, Roy and Jane Hetherington there also to meet Maureen and Harry’s family again, among others. I It was a very friendly occasion.

During the late afternoon Vince Eager took to the stage and spoke for an hour about his time spent with Billy, from discovery at the Essoldo to sharing a flat in London. It was witty, informative and entertaining. Later Vince interviewed Jack Good on stage and that turned out to be another highlight, and often a real hoot, which is what I am sure Jack intended, because he is a fun character. These were things not to be missed. It was nice to chat briefly with Jack again and he was kind enough to remember Linda and I from Liverpool and to say that the Sound of Fury Presentation has pride of place in his home. Thanks Jack, we owe you a great deal. We also owe Vince for getting Jack to attend Liverpool and I did thank him on behalf of the SOF and fans everywhere. It was nice to eventually meet Vince who was very courteous and friendly.

Saturday night was the big night and the place started to really fill up. Ray Shenton (who must have been well shattered by Sunday morning) both compered and performed a set to open the evening. It was both well delivered and received, featuring several lesser-known numbers (always a gamble when general punters are also in). It worked, and We were meant for each other was nice to hear, also How Many Nights, How many Days and another dedication to Moya. All My Hopes was also in there. A polished set and then back to compering. I presented Harry with a framed picture on behalf of all the fans (for his website work and support of The Sound of Fury/Bronze Fund.) Chas McDevitt (Freight Train, Freight Train) has been around the block and was there at the pre-dawn of rock’n’roll. Just a guitar, no frills, just an enjoyable romp through skiffle and Buddy Holly, with John Maw and washboard to boot! A nice story about Billy eating raw turnip from a nearby field when on tour-everyone was hungry on this occasion. A big hit at the festival and a nice guy by all accounts.

Laura was next and is always enjoyable-a future hope for the Billy legend should her career really take off, and we wish her well. Numbers by the Ronettes and Lesley Gore and a really nice acoustic Like I’ve Never Been Gone which segued into Smile (currently on TV in an advert). Emily joined her sister for an accapella Rhythm of Life (clever). How I wish Laura would tackle Don’t tell me Lies and Your Words or In My Room. The first could segue into the fast 45 version-it would be nice. Anyway, Nick McNulty (her guitarist) gave us a nice Telstar and it was into Yesterdays Hero (with only the title borrowed from Gene Pitney). I missed not hearing Legends Never Die-it really is a great track but we got a nice I Love How you love me (which of course was originally a ‘girlie’song anyway) and the encore was Forget Him. Laura has a 50-minute, 13 track CD with 3 Billy/Billy associated numbers on it. Please do contact Kevin on 07931 563 451 or email at alfay@alfay.plus.com, for a copy.

I saw Vince Eager for the first time several years ago in Weymouth. Now, backed by Rockola and really focused on rock ‘n’ roll style music this is an act that you must see. The band is tight and powerful and Vince has the vocal authenticity (and pedigree) to make it work. I am not a lover of skiffle but the way this band rocks it up makes it highly listenable for me-and I do not feel (some purists might) that it devalues the genre. The tribute to the late Lonnie Donegan showed Vince’s skiffle roots and then we were into Maybe Tomorrow. Teenager in Love had a raspy feel and worked then we got two powerful Cochran numbers from the band (some are members of Vince’s family). Vince continued with It’s Only Make Believe, sung with real conviction and a great Money Honey. It was a shame there was no Lend Me Your Comb or other Carl Perkins numbers because Vince handles these so excellently. What we did get was the best version of No Other Baby that I have ever heard-a great sound fromVince and the band. To finish we got American Trilogy and Suspicious Minds as I recall and then the weekend was effectively over (apart from a great Chinese meal (sorry they wouldn’t let you in Ray (must have been all that hair again!). Vince has a live CD out with that great version of No Other Baby plus one more bonus track. Contact via Harry’s site for details.

I enjoyed chatting to some of the acts and other fans staying at the hotel we were at, both after the show (and meal) and on Sunday morning too on departure. Jenny and Vic were at our hotel and keeping us company on this really well worthwhile weekend. Thanks for the cheese and wine supper Jen! Roll on the next Fury Fest-do make sure you all get there. Also, for me there is really only one Billy but if you are a ‘Billy purist’ who does not want to see others paying him tribute, please think again. These all seem to me to be nice people who have a genuine love for Billy, and it is through them, in pubs and clubs and functions that the public can be reminded of how great Billy’s music was and is. Sure, if someone does anything to denigrate that great legacy, by giving less than flattering performances then we should not support those specific acts. That was not, in my view, the case over this weekend. It takes real guts to get out there when you know how superb and classy the real thing used to be. We should applaud that and only be critical when it really is warranted. We really cannot expect Radio alone to sustain Billy’s memory, not with all of the commercial pressures it faces. Everything (reasonably tasteful and more) helps to keep the legend alive.





Radio airings: Brian Matthew gave us a mention on Sounds Of The Sixties on August 30, as did Ed Stewart on his Sunday show a couple of weeks earlier.  Vince and Harry  took part in a three hour programme on Radio Caroline in August.

Dougie Wright joins chat session: The former John Barry Seven drummer, who has since become one of the most respected instrumentalists on the scene, was one  of the two people approached by young Ronnie Wycherley on the steps of the Birkenhead Essoldo.

Jack Good to attend: Jack Good, the legendary producer of 6-5 Special and Oh Boy!, and of Billy's 10" Sound Of Fury LP, will be with us at Fury Fest on the Saturday.  We anticipate that he will spend some time chatting and signing autographs during the afternoon, then he will be interviewed on stage by Vince at 6.30pm in the bonus session (details below). Jack was a friend and guide to many of the stars in late 50s-early 60s, and after moving to the USA, often met Elvis in Las Vegas.   Jack is pictured above with Billy, Joe Brown...and I know who the lady is. Do you?  Let's see who can be first to post it on the message board.

Colin Paul signs: Colin Paul, lead singer of The Persuaders, will be a featured artist on the Friday night.  If you've seen Colin in action, you're a fan.  If you haven't, you're in for a treat.  This man oozes rock 'n' roll. Also welcome aboard for Friday night K. D. Kane, a young lady with a lot of talent.

Hal Carter will be with us: Hal Carter, one of Billy's long-time friends, and at different times his road manager, and manager, has confirmed that he will be with us on the Saturday, when he will have time to chat, before being interviewed on stage by Vince on stage.  Hal has been unwell, but he tells me he is feeling much better.

Chas McDevitt signs: Chas McDevitt, the pioneer of skiffle, whose group had a million-selling hit on both sides of the Atlantic with Freight Train, will have a solo spot on Saturday, providing the main support for Vince Eager.

Chas played many times on the same bill as Billy.  To see the group in action in the 50s, click here for a video from Chas's site, www.chasmcdevitt.co.uk.

There are MORE signings to come.  Don't miss it!

Provisional timetable

Merchandise available throughout festival.  Bar and foyer available for socialising throughout. Trivia quiz sheets (for charity) available throughout.   Coffee/soft drinks available throughout.  Bar licensed from 11am to close.


pm: Theatre foyer open for inquiries/assistance.
7pm: Gig  starts. (Rob Dee and the Fury Sound headline.  Featuring Colin Paul. Also featuring Garry Slade.  With 
Russ Dee, Tony Harte, Geoff Howlett, Dave Michael, Roger Sea, Track Back and K. D. Kane) Interval.
11.15pm: Concert ends.
11.30pm: Bar closes.


9am:  Theatre foyer open for inquiries/assistance.
10am: Play It Cool on cinema screen.
11.50am: Vince Eager chats on stage.
12.30pm: Lunch break
1.30pm: I've Gotta Horse on cinema screen.
3.0pm: Multiple choice: drop in and out -

1: Socialising in anterooms.
2: Videos run on small screen in anterooms.
3: Disco and karaoke.

6pm: Special guests chat on stage.
6.45pm:  Afternoon session ends.

7.30pm: Gig starts. (Headliners Vince Eager and Rockola.  Also featuring Chas McDevitt, Laura, Ray Shenton.  Interval
11pm: Concert ends.
11.30pm: Bar closes.
11.45pm: Festival ends.

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Click to go to the Festival Forum.

The first national Billy Fury festival, Fury Fest 03, will be held in Newark, Nottinghamshire, in September. 

If you haven't booked, please do.  If you have booked, tell your friends!

To secure the best seats, PLEASE BOOK NOW.

There will be two full concerts in a superb, 600-seat theatre on the evenings of Friday September 19 and Saturday September 20.

Vince Eager and his brilliant five piece band Rockola will headline on Saturday night.



Friday's show will be headlined by the fabulous Fury Sound, featuring Rob Dee.

16-year-old Laura, who has made such a big impression as a guest at Fury events, has also signed for a major spot on Saturday.

Ray Shenton will be the compere, and a featured singer.

During the day on Saturday, you can see Billy's two feature films Play It Cool and I've Gotta Horse, on the Palace's big screen. There will also be  a talk by Vince about his year as Billy's flatmate, and his days on the road with the Larry Parnes Stable Of Stars.

We hope to have another celebrated guest.

There will also be a prize quiz, a disco in a second venue,  video shows, rare tracks and room to socialise.

We anticipate a line-up of 10-15 artists and bands.  At present, performers expected on Friday night include (in alphabetical order) Russ Dee, Tony Harte, Geoff Howlett, Dave Michael, Roger Sea and Garry Slade.

Billy appeared at least twice on the same stage: first on 18th March, 1959, with Vince Taylor, Johnny Duncan and Jill Day.


He returned four months later, and after the show drove a young lady 15 miles home to Lincoln.  Her father was waiting for her, and in his hurry to escape, Billy knocked down the garden gate with his car.

The price for the entire package is 25 if you book through this site.  We're keeping the price as low as possible because we want to see you there.  This is a discount of 2.50.

Single session tickets (Friday night, Saturday daytime or Saturday night) can also be booked now. Saturday night costs 13, and the others are 10 each.

Booking  can be made through this website (25 for full festival) or The Palace (27.50 for full festival).

To book, send a cheque, payable to "Harry Whitehouse" to Fury Fest 03, 48 Queen Street, Balderton, Newark, NG24 3NS.  To inquire about particular seating, click here to e-mail, or take a chance on catching me at home on 01636 683914. 

Click here to book immediately by credit card or Switch (5% booking charge).

Newark is easily reached from many parts of the country, with good access to the A1 and M1, and a 75-minute train service to London. 


The situation with accommodation is changing daily. 

LATEST:  A nearby fan is offering bed and breakfast at 20 pppn in two doubles, including transport to the venue.  Call  01949 842652.

An up-to-date list of local vacancies is sent with all bookings.  In addition, there is a Marriott Hotel at Grantham and the Bentley Hotel on the Lincoln ring road (both 25 minutes' drive).

The programme is subject to change.





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