Starsailor prepare for hometown gig

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One of the North West’s most successful musical exports returned to Wigan for rehearsals ahead of a hotly-anticipated hometown gig.

Starsailor, who formed at Wigan and Leigh College and feature keyboardist Barry Westhead from Spring View in its ranks, have spent much of the week rehearsing at the base of promotions company Leisuretec in Hindley.

Starsailor rehearsing in Wigan

Starsailor rehearsing in Wigan

The group, whose line-up is completed by Chorley-born frontman James Walsh, bassist James Stelfox and drummer Ben Barker, will perform in Wigan for the first time in several years when they take to the stage at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre on July 13.

Keyboardist Barry says the group is enjoying going back to its roots and enjoying time in the borough ahead of a busy schedule of festival slots this summer and cannot wait for the Wigan show.

He said: “Three of us are still based in the area so it’s convenient to rehearse here. We’re always classed as a Wigan band and I love the town, the only reason I left was because my wife was from Manchester and we found neutral ground. It’s nice being back here, we went out after rehearsal the other day for a few drinks and had pictures at Robin Park where the sign for the gig is.

“The show is going to be great, we’re really looking forward to it. We’ve not done a Wigan gig at a big venue, the last time was at The Tavern pub and it was really full.”

Singer and guitarist James added: “I think it’s a shame Wigan isn’t really on the circuit so we’ve basically had to play Manchester or Liverpool. It’s great they’ve started using the sports hall because the town needs a great venue.”

Starsailor shot to notice after meeting as music students in the borough with singles including Silence Is Easy and Four to the Floor taking their first two albums to the top of the charts.

The band sold more than three million albums but decided to split after fourth release All The Plans in 2009 and went on a five-year hiatus.

The hometown return in July promises to be a celebration of the borough’s talents as the support slot has been filled by Leigh act The Lottery Winners, who also went to Wigan and Leigh College.

As well as the anticipated hometown show Starsailor will headline the One Live Festival in Surrey, an event put together by TV supervet Noel Fitzpatrick.

The group has been working in the rehearsal room to ensure its back catalogue is in tip-top shape ahead of playing to thousands of music fans.

Barry said: “We’ve not played together for a few months. James has been quite busy and we’ve all been doing other things, so now we’re just polishing things up a little bit.”

Tickets for the Robin Park gig on July 13,are on sale at www.ticketweb.co.uk

* Visit www.wigantoday.net to see a video