Macca’s mates land for Moville’s Beatlefest bash

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(0306PG21)

This year Moville’s fifth annual Beatlefest on the Lough is set to be the biggest one to date, according to the festival’s main organiser.

Gerry McLaughlin from Moville believes the class of bands and most important the help and guidance of former Beatles road manager Tony Bramwell has proved to be a winning combination.

Gerry said he got a lot of information and tips from the music mogul when he started organising the 2011 festival.

“Tony has been a huge. He has the contacts and both of the bands who are playing outside on the main stage contacted me after hearing about it from Tony – and they are amongst the biggest Beatle tribute bands in the world.

“ We are very lucky that Tony seems to have taken a shine to us. A Belfast reporter called me up yesterday and told me that Tony told her how much he loved Moville and its people and how friendly and welcoming they were.

“He’s telling other people about it now. He was the PR guy for the Beatles. Now he’s doing a great job as the PR guy for Moville and its festivals!”

Another famous Liverpudlian touching down in the seaside town for the weekend is none other than Macca himself... Well at least a high quality lookalike anyway.

A former fireman, Neil Tudor, has been a professional Paul McCartney lookalike and musician since his wife Joanne pushed him into sending a picture of himself to a casting agency in 2005, where he was given a role in an advert for Channel Four.

“I didn’t always look like Paul, but in about 1997 I was playing on stage and a group of people started shouting ‘Macca’ from there it grew and more and more people kept saying it to me I finally got the picture,” said Neil. “I think I’ve gradually got more like him.”

Even his wife, Joanne, who joined the 50-year-old lookalike at the Beatlefest, reckons over the past few years he has just morphed into Sir Paul!

More than your average lookalike, Neil has worked alongside the music legend when he was filming his video for Dance Tonight.

“We’re not exactly best friends, but I was standing beside him, chatting to him for about 25 minutes, which was great. He is an interesting guy and we chatted about music and I asked him how he felt about me doing a tribute to him… He just replied: “A tribute? That’s cool!” He’s still just a big hippy.

“I really hope to work with him one day again.”

As well as playing in a local band in Liverpool, Neil is part of a band called the Reunion Beatles where himself, two Americans and one George from Bolton play the part of the Beatles.

“We were in California last year, and it was great. We just recreate the Beatles and set up signings with queues of people. The Americans love it and they get into it. I’m travelling to Napia on June 18th to play in an hour long set there.”

However despite haven’t played and starred as Sir Paul throughout the world, the Liverpudlian is still looking forward to getting to Moville.

“I’m really looking to getting down to Moville to play in the Beatlefest. From what I hear this festival is getting bigger and bigger each year and hopefully this year will be the biggest yet. Maybe you can compete with the Liverpool one some day…”

Despite facing difficulties each year, organiser Gerry is determined to make the festival a success, but now he just wants to kick back, relax and enjoy the music.

“I’ve now got to the stage where I’m tired of organising. I just want to get on with the event and to enjoy it. I think it is going to be a great, great weekend. I’m a huge Beatles fan and I can’t wait to hear all my favourite songs.”

For more information on Neil and his band see www.reunionbeatles.com and see www.craicon.com for the full programme of events.