Preston's best-known singer silenced by police over spirit-raising concert for neighbours

Singer Stephen Bayliss struck the wrong note with the police when he decided to throw an impromptu concert for his neighbours.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 10th April 2020, 6:00 am

The 51-year-old was keen to raise spirits in the Highgate area of Fulwood where he lives, and set up his PA equipment in his drive on Sunday afternoon.

But just as he prepared to wrap up his two-hour gig, the long arm of the law brought the curtain down early.

“I was surprised to see the police”, he said. “It’s not like it was late, it started at around 1.10pm and went on til about 3pm. Nobody was less than six feet apart and it was cheering people up. But apparently it was classed as a social gathering.”

Stephen Bayliss

He added: “A few contemporaries of mine have been performing on Facebook, and I thought, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it outside because a lot of my neighbours are older and they aren’t on Facebook. They’ve often said that they would like to hear me sing, so it was a nice day and I thought, if I don’t do it now, I don’t know when I’ll next get a chance.”

He added: “I went out there and I didn’t tell anybody, and within about 10 minutes all the neighbours were out with their deckchairs, having a drink, singing along.

"I walked around a bit but I made sure to keep to the two metre rule. When I perform I usually mix with people and give the microphone to them, but I had to hold myself back from that.

"It got about 7,000 hits online, but that's not the reason I did it, I wanted to do something nice for the neighbours.

Stephen Bayliss giving a concert from his drive in Fulwood

"I did songs from every era, but the ones that went down the best were the older ones, like Mr Bojangles, Lionel Ritchie and Barry White.

"I loved it, it was a fun afternoon. The whole of the Highgate area of Fulwood was listening to it. Apparently you could hear it as far away as Ashton Golf Club."

But as Stephen, who has been a professional singer for 37 years, was preparing to wrap up his gig, he got some unexpected visitors arrived in a police car.

He said: "Everyone seemed to be enjoying it, but unfortunately it got poo-pooed. Someone complained to the police about it and they turned up to stop me. I'd done two hours and was on my last song anyway."

Lancashire Police said they have no logged record of police attending Stephen's home.