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Hendrix fever set to hit Dereham for the second time in 50 years

PUBLISHED: 12:41 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 October 2017

Jimi Hendrix photographed by Richard Snasdell in May 1967 at Spalding, Lincolnshire. He played in Dereham later that year.

Jimi Hendrix photographed by Richard Snasdell in May 1967 at Spalding, Lincolnshire. He played in Dereham later that year.

Hundreds of Jimi Hendrix fans are expected to paint the town purple on Saturday as they celebrate 50 years since the legendary musician played a gig in Dereham.

A poster advertising the Jimi Hendrix concert in Dereham. A poster advertising the Jimi Hendrix concert in Dereham.

Two tribute concerts have been organised to celebrate the day Hendrix and his band played at the town’s Wellington Club.

Top tribute act Purple Jimi will play a free entry gig at the Railway Tavern pub in the town and landlord Paul Sandford said he expects the venue to be full to capacity.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook with enquiries about it,” he said. I’m taking four or five calls every hour.

“It is going to be a really great night with people coming from all over the place.

Jimi Hendrix tribute gig is being held at The Metro in Dereham by Norfolk Blues Society. Picture: Doreen Aitken Jimi Hendrix tribute gig is being held at The Metro in Dereham by Norfolk Blues Society. Picture: Doreen Aitken

Read more: ‘Great minds think alike’ say organisers as Jimi Hendrix anniversary set to be celebrated with two gigs in Dereham

“One guy is coming 200 miles for the gig because he was at the original Hendrix gig 50 years ago.”

Mr Sandford said he was desperately searching for some original memorabilia that he found when he renovated his gym behind The Bull pub on the High Street.

“The Wellington Club moved there after the Hendrix gig and had lots more big names play there,” he said. “When we started doing up the gym we found lots of posters and tickets on the walls but now I have to find them!”

Tickets for the Norfolk Blues Society gig at The Metro in Dereham on the same night are also selling well.

Organiser Doreen Aitken said they were really looking forward to it.

“There has been a lot of interest on social media,” she said. “We are asking people to get in the mood and dress up a bit, the bands will be wearing Hendrix-style clothes.”

Bands playing at The Metro include Dave Thomas, Ron Sayer & friends and Against the Grain and each will play from different Hendrix eras.

“Against The Grain has the same line-up, apart from the drummer, that played a gig 25 years ago on the 20th anniversary of Hendrix’s death,” said Mrs Aitken.

“They have decided to play some of the lesser known songs for the real die-hard Hendrix fans, and from his Band of Gypsys album. There are some beautiful songs.”

She said events like this, along with the Carnival, Christmas lights and Dereham Blues Festival were all helping to make the town worth visiting.

Tickets cost £5 from the eventbrite website here.

Remembering the ‘hottest act on the planet’

Were you at the original Jimi Hendrix Experience gig in Dereham on Saturday, October 7, 1967?

If so we would love to share your memories of the event and any photos you may have taken.

He played at The Wellington Club, previously called The Tavern Club, where Dereham’s Hollywood Cinema now stands.

He was booked by a 22-year-old Brian Cross, who became a well-known businessman and later mayor of Dereham.

Earlier this year Nick Sands, 67, shared his memories of the gig. He was 17 at the time.

“The original date was to have been in January 1967, but it was cancelled because Jimi had to record a follow-up record to Hey Joe. A deal was done that Jimi would honour the date later and at the same fee.

“That record would be the world smash hit Purple Haze and by the time The Jimi Hendrix Experience came to Dereham in October they were the hottest thing on the planet.”

Hendrix fans from all over the country walked, hitch hiked and caught buses to Dereham to see the show.

Tracks performed included Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Foxy Lady and The Wind Cries Mary.

* Email your memories and/or photos to adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk.

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