WIRRAL is celebrating the day it helped make musical history – 50 years since The Beatles’ legendary line-up played together for the first time.
The date was Saturday, August 18, 1962, and a young Ringo Starr made his debut as the band’s new drummer alongside Paul, John and George at Hulme Hall, in Port Sunlight.
The new line-up headlined the Port Sunlight Horticultural Society’s annual dinner dance just two days after manager Brian Epstein controversially sacked Pete Best.
The next day, the Beatles played the Cavern Club in Liverpool for the first time together – and the rest is musical history.
The historic performance at Hulme Hall was recreated on Saturday by the Cavern Club Beatles.
A replica of the contract signed by The Beatles and Brian Epstein on October 1, 1962, was also on display. And the celebrations will continue at Port Sunlight Summer Festival on Saturday with appearances from eight top international Beatles tribute bands –
Dave Jones, director of International Beatle Week operator Cavern City Tours, said: “We are very excited to be working with Port Sunlight Village Trust to celebrate this landmark event in the history of The Beatles.
“Our outdoor stage at the Summer Festival will showcase the very best in The Beatles music throughout their long career and we look forward to welcoming the public to this free show.”
The sixties will be in full swing with performances from Gleison Tulio (Brazil), Get Back Band (Scotland), Beatlenuts (Thailand), Hocus Pocus (Brazil), Les Sauterelles (Switzerland), Ringer (Scotland), The Tearaways (USA) and Help El Tributo (Mexico) from 11.30am to 5.15pm.
The free festival opens at 11am.
The anniversary is being marked at Port Sunlight Museum with the launch of The Beatles over the Water, an exhibition studying the band’s relationship with Wirral.
Open until December 31, it will feature memorabilia and the band’s first broadcast interview, recorded in Port Sunlight.
Stuart Irwin, Collections and Exhibitions Officer at Port Sunlight Museum, said: “It is a little known fact that The Beatles played four gigs at Hulme Hall and recorded their first broadcast interview in the village as they were on the cusp of stardom.
“Visitors will be able to listen to a series of interviews we conducted with current village residents who attended their gigs, as well as two of the people who were instrumental in bringing acts to the village and who helped conduct that first interview – Peter Smethurst and Monty Lister.
“We hope to give visitors a better understanding of how the village was starting to reflect the changing society of the early 1960s.”
Entry to the exhibition is included with admission to the museum.
Exhibition curator Mr Irwin will also lead two special tours of the displays on September 5 and 6 at 11am and 2pm. Tickets are £6/5 concessions or £3 for children over 7, including the guided tour, entry to the museum and exhibition and a voucher for Port Sunlight Museum’s tea room.
There will be free entry on Saturday, September 8, as part of Port Sunlight Museum’s Heritage Open Days programme.