24 Feb THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME- GUITARS ON THE BEACH CALLS IT A DAY IN LYME
Organisers of Guitars On The Beach have reluctantly decided that this year’s event on June 27th will be the last time that Britain’s biggest guitar band will play together in Lyme Regis.
Due to a lack of the town council’s support, the unique and hugely-popular gathering of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of guitarists of all ages and abilities at the historic Dorset resort is to end its show on the sand after eight years.
But organisers aim to go out with “our loudest bang yet” as they plan to stage 12 hours of guitar songs to support one last call for more music to be played in schools, a key part of GOTB’s philosophy since the event began in 2013.
Among the play-along songs for the sand band to perform with the house band will be: Teach Your Children [CSN&Y], Rave On [Buddy Holly], Footloose [Kenny Loggins], American Pie [DonMcLean], I’ll Get You [The Beatles], You Can’t Always Get What You Want [The Rolling Stones] and, aptly, the Stones’ The Last Time.
Chord sheets for all the play-along songs will soon be posted on this site.
The move to pull out of staging the gig at Lyme’s historic Cobb follows after GOTB’s application for direly-needed funding was thrown out at Lyme Regis Town Council’s community grants awards.
Although GOTB has in its time drawn more visitors to Lyme than any other event other than the Red Arrows, the council decided it was not worthy of its support and they preferred to give more than £130,000 instead to the town’s old theatre and museum.
Due to the lack of council funding, GOTB is now having to take its begging bowl to local traders and supporters and it has launching a JUST GIVING crowdfunding appeal in order to try raise enough money to stage the famous sand band’s last stand on Saturday June 27th.
“Sadly, this year is going to be our swansong in Lyme,” said GOTB chairman and musical director Brian Street.
“But we’ve got no choice because of the lack of local support. For the past seven years we have had great support from little local businesses and organisations, including, in the past, the town council, and we are hugely grateful for their help.
“But now that support has dried up. We have had generous pledges of sponsorship for this year from Lyme Bay Holidays, Lyme Online, Axminster Garden Machinery, The Volunteer Inn and Andertons Music, but even if you add that to our little savings we’re currently a long way short of what we need to put on a show.
“It’s always been a struggle to stage GOTB in Lyme because you have to remember that our show is totally free, it is completely reliant on sponsorship and donations as you can’t charge people for playing music on a public beach.
“Our sponsors have been very loyal but they have been relatively few. So, after years of all of the organisers and the featured bands doing all that they do for nothing, we’ve decided this will be the last Guitars On The Beach – at least in Lyme, other towns are very interested it us moving it to their seafront or fields.”
But organisers believe the last show in Lyme could be the best show yet.
“We’re going to go out with our biggest, loudest bang,” said GOTB founder Geoff Baker.
“And we will also loudly banging the drum for more music to be taught in schools, something we have been campaigning about for years. Music is the beat of life and it is very regrettable that more and more schools are dropping music from their curriculum in favour of drier academic subjects like history and geology.
“As always, we will be promoting great bands from local schools, including Woodroffe, among the line-up of a dozen bands on June 27th. This year the young, exceptionally-talented acts will include Romeo Romeo, The Little Streets and Annabel Davies.
“And we are also launching a new venture, SPONSOR A BAND and SPONSOR A SONG, so that supporters can help our fund-raising and get publicly name-checked and thanked by announcements from the stage, i.e. ‘this next band is generously sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury’, or whatever.
“This June 27th will be the last performance in Lyme by a wonderful group of people, guitarists of all ages and abilities who came together from all over the UK to form what is officially Britain’s biggest guitar band.
“We hold the UK record for the biggest guitar band, some 3,000 who gathered here in 2014 to accompany Ian Gillan on Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water, but Poland holds the world record with over 7,000 players.
“It would be great if this last year in Lyme we could beat the Poles but it doesn’t matter if we don’t and frankly we’re not going to even try. What matters is that we end this 8-year run having fun.”