The heady days when Birmingham was billed as the biggest breeding ground for reggae talent outside Jamaica will be recreated when Musical Youth take to the stage for the first time in more than 30 years at this year’s Camp Bestival event.
Musical Youth’s August appearance at the family-focused Bestival spin-off, is the first of a short run of dates at UK festivals over the summer months and will see the quintessential reggae boy band reunited.
The Birmingham schoolboys became global stars after their debut single Pass The Dutchie shot up the charts to claim the coveted number one spot in 1982.
The band, which was formed at Duddeston Manor School in Nechells in 1979, went on to notch up a succession of hits in several countries, emulating the success of stars such as the Jackson Five and the Osmonds a decade beforehand.
Musical Youth play the main stage at Camp Bestival on Saturday August 3.
The popular event at Lulworth Castle in Dorset continues to fly the flag as arguably the UK’s most family-friendly festival with a line-up to please young and old alike.
This year it welcomes a host of acts aimed at entertaining mums and dads of all ages (and even the odd grandparent or two), as well as younger audiences from toddlers to teenagers.
Musical highlights include Richard Hawley, Labrinth, The Levellers, DJ Fresh, Ash, Billy Bragg, Mark Owen, Gabrielle Aplin, The Polyphonic Spree, The Farm and I Am Kloot.
In line with previous years the festival adopts an annual theme and this year it’s the 1980s with some top stars of the era, including Kid Creole & the Coconuts, The Proclaimers, Heaven 17 and Nic Kershaw performing.
Other familiar Camp Bestival favourites return in the shape of DJ Yoda and the Cuban Brothers.
An eclectic mix of DJs includes festival organiser in chief Rob Da Bank, DJ Grandmaster Flash, Sash, Craig Charles and Balearic Brothers.
Founder members of Musical Youth, Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant, announced a reunion earlier this year and their plans to record a new album.
Their recording reunion will initially see the release of the ‘When Reggae Was King’, the first in a series of EPs covering classic tracks.
The duo said they were delighted to be back performing, even if the ensuing decades meant they could not fully live up to their original name tag.
“Me and Michael are like two old men together,” said Dennis. “It’s taken me ten years to get Michael to play again. You are talking 30-odd years experience – why waste your talents?”
“When you don’t go swimming for a long time, then start again, you remember everything you enjoyed about it.”
Musical Youth’s fame proved short-lived, by 1985 the talented young five-piece decided to go their separate ways.
Former member Patrick Waite died of a hereditary heart condition in 1993, aged just 24.
The others, Patrick’s brother Freddie ‘Junior’ Waite and Michael’s brother Kelvin Grant, have not signed up for the band’s reunion.
Dennis added that the band was proud to have been a part of the resurgence that saw Birmingham at the centre of the reggae universe at the height of the band’s fame.
“We’ve produced some of the finest – UB40, Steel Pulse, Apache Indian, Pato Banton,” he added.
Elsewhere at Camp Bestival younger audiences can enjoy everything from Mr Tumble to Dick and Dom and an exclusive premiere of the new Horrible Histories theatre show Barmy Britain.
In addition there’s all manner of offbeat shows spanning everything from dance to comedy as well as a variety of workshops, storytelling sessions and talks and for younger festival-goers children’s discos in Bollywood, the freestyle sports park and kids’ comedy club.
Running over the course of the weekend there are also fairground rides and attractions a-plenty and children’s activities that encompass everything from film-making to art town, a science tent and story den.
Also, medieval jousting, the return of the Big Love Inflatable Church, meditation sessions for those who want to get away from the festival frenzy and not forgetting a fireworks finale that really is pyrotechnical perfection.
* Camp Bestival runs from August 1-4. To find out more visit www.campbestival.net.