About Guitars on the Beach

 

Guitars On The Beach is the UK’s largest guitar festival at which hundreds of guitarists of all ages and abilities come together to simultaneously play together a selection of well-known songs and form Britain’s biggest band, performing on the beach in Lyme Regis in Dorset.

 

GOTB holds the UK record for the biggest band, set in 2014 when a reported 3,000 guitarists turned up to play along to the Deep Purple classic “Smoke On The Water”, led by Purple’s front man Ian Gillan himself.

Guitars on the Beach 2017

 

Not wishing to have a repeat of the previous year’s soaking, GOTB music director Brian Street moves the event from September to June in the hope of the sun coming out. The gods smile on GOTB and the weather is scorchio, which attracts another giant crowd to the gig which is lead-sponsored by Bournemouth’s guitars emporium Absolute Music, who also provide a state of the art sound system. Ray Dorset leads the sand band on his Mungo Jerry hit “In The Summer Time” for the record bid song.

Guitars on the Beach 2016

 

Paul McCartney comes to the aid of GOTB, by signing a unique Fender acoustic which has been given an original design by top British artist Tracey Emin and which is raffled for charity and raises thousands of pounds. But there is disaster again as the weather forecast for the September event gives heavy rain. Organisers announce that “the rain will stop”. It doesn’t. In fact it rains all day, for seven hours. Consequently only a couple of hundred guitarists attend the drench. Having bought 1,000 £1 tickets in a bid to own the McCartney/Emin guitar, Mark Hix wins it.

Guitars on the Beach 2015

 

Sponsored by Planet Rock and Blackstar Amps, the third GOTB attracts Status Quo star John “Rhino” Edwards, who leads the band on the sand through a set of Quo hits. The record bid song is an old hit by The Knack, “My Sharona”. Although several hundred guitarists from all over the UK and some from Europe attend, GOTB fails to break its own record.

Guitars on the Beach 2014

 

Disaster strikes GOTB as organisers realise they do not have enough money to stage the event again, despite sponsorship from top brands including Fender, Planet Rock, Musicians Insurance Services and the Axe Music guitar shop. There is much gnashing of teeth as it was planned to perform Deep Purple’s classic “Smoke On The Water” in a bid to break GOTB’s own record. After organisers announce that the day-long event featuring many local bands may now have to be cancelled as they cannot afford to hire a stage, Baker gets a call from Ian Gillan, Deep Purple’s front man. Ian generously offers to pay for a stage and adds, “if you need a singer for Smoke On The Water, I can think of one”. On a gloriously sunny day, a massive crowd covers the entire beach as a new record band of around 3,000 guitarists perform “Smoke” led by Ian Gillan himself. The huge success is featured in press, radio and TV, nationally and around the world.

Guitars on the Beach 2013

 

Chef and restaurateur Mark Hix asks Geoff Baker to devise an event that could run alongside his September food festival, Lyme’s “Food Rocks”. Inspired by a national drive to get young people to learn a musical instrument, Baker and a handful of local musicians decide to try set a new UK record for the greatest number of guitarists to simultaneously play one song together, expecting about 100 to join up and perform the easy-to-play “Rave On”, as suggested by GOTB’s late co-founder, Lyme band leader Gordon “Nomad” Smith. A former Lyme schoolboy, the TV star and musician Billy Geraghty, who starred as Buddy Holly in the West End musical “Buddy”, agrees to lead the band on the record bid song. Organisers are astonished when around 2,000 guitarists including The Sweet’s Andy Scott appear on the beach and, despite a cloud-burst which soaked them all on an otherwise sunny day, set the record as Britain’s biggest band.