LAST year they had John, Paul, George and Ringo strapped to the side of a home-made yellow submarine during ‘Beatlesfest’. Next month, Cleary’s Bar on South Quay in Newcastle West will pay tribute to an altogether different style of music when it plays host to the first ever ‘Goat Street Skafest’.
On March 24 and 25 pub owner and music aficionado Seamus Cleary will hark back to the 2 Tone sounds of The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners and The Beat with everything from live music to themed cocktails.
He said that paying homage to the punk, rock and reggae fusion of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s will be particularly close to his heart.
“The first record I bought was The Sun and The Rain by Madness back in ‘983. It was all ska back in the ‘80s. I loved it. It goes back to when you were a kid.
“You could tell what kind of music someone liked by the clothes they wore. I loved ska.”
Cleary’s Bar has long established itself as the Newcastle West music lover’s paradise, with its memorabilia-decorated walls and its Goat Street rock and blues festivals.
However Seamus said that while he expects Skafest will be another successful addition to the scrap book, it will be missing one beloved component – ‘White Lighting’, his old 1992 Toyota Starlet.
For ‘Beatlesfest’ last October, the car was rigged out as a yellow submarine with the faces of the Fab Four smiling out from plastic portholes.
This time, the plan had been to dress her up in a black and white suit and giant trilby hat to match the signature ‘ska’ look. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
“Unfortunately, the car went up to the big garage in the sky on St Stephen’s Day” Seamus said. “It’ll be the first time we won’t have the car out on the side of the road looking the part. It’s a bit of a shame, alright”.
Both the Saturday and Sunday night of Skafest will feature performances by renowned ska/jazz fusion band ‘Skazz’, while revellers will be able to enjoy two specially-created themed cocktails: the ‘Ghost Town’ and the ‘Baggy Trousers’.
Mary Mackey of Cleary’s said that music and the bar go hand in hand. “We’re continuously trying to think outside the box. Nostalgia always works.
“There’s a strong feeling about that era and the music that came out of it. They were tough times, and in a way it’s come full circle again”.
Seamus also invited everyone who is thinking about coming along to Skafest to rediscover the look that made the genre famous: “the black suit, the trilby, the two-tone tie and - crucially – the white socks”.
Skafest kicks off at Cleary’s on South Quay at 10pm on Saturday March 24 and from 6pm the following day.
For more information, call 069 62241