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Stella Performance at Heaton Park

Published on September 5th 2005.

Now here was an event with a difference, a big screen showing of a cult classic film outdoors in a great big field with a live band on beforehand. Did we know what to expect? Certainly not. Did the organisers? Judging by the posters, they were traipsing into the unknown as well. Judging by the fact the beer ran out, they certainly didn’t expect the numbers that were willing to take the plunge either.

Click here for Gordo's review of the cuisine...

The people I went with weren’t too sure either, but I managed to convince them to go and sit around at Heaton Park to wait for the Fun Lovin’ Criminals to come on and for Pulp Fiction to scream into life shortly afterwards.

Any belief that this was going to be a few tramps sat around spilling bottles of cider went out the window as we walked through the gates of Heaton Park straight into a queue longer than the M6.

Once we got in, we walked straight into Jules and Vincent from the film. With ‘Jules’ diving straight into his speech /tirade from the film - Ezekiel 25:17 – my quick diversion to the bar area was fully justified, but not before he thrust his card into my palm. The path of the righteous man is straight to the bar….to pick up a free bottle of Stella no less.

Now this was a pretty good deal. Entry was £5, which included a set from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals (who’ll be charging a good deal more when they play the Academy later this month), the big film, a lovely red wristband and a free bottle of Stella. The two big questions would be how long the ‘Funs’ would play for and whether the crowd that had gathered would be making too much noise to actually hear the film that followed. But now that we were getting a free beer as well, this was an added bonus. Hardly any queue at the well organised bars either, beers lined up and ready to be dished out. God only knows how many people would have stayed watching a two and a half hour film if it had rained though.

Fortunately, neither of the previous fears were met. The band came on and played a good set, playing a couple of tracks from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and they saved their signature tracks (Fun Lovin’ Criminal, Scooby Snacks) for the end, getting everyone in an upbeat mood for the start of the film.

This meant that the atmosphere for the start of the film was terrific – the opening Coffee Shop ‘Misirlou’ earning a rip-roaring cheer - before everyone settled back (as much as they could) onto their blankets to watch the movie in good spirits.

The sound for the film was good too, although there was little need, most people were respectful and sat and watched it without spoiling it for anyone else – except for the lighter fluid sniffing scallies that sat next to us for a while. Luckily, they passed out after 30 minutes and we enjoyed the film as normal.

Trips to the toilet and the bar turned a bit Benny Hill-ish as firstly the Stella sponsored event ran out of Stella, and half the crowd spent longer than usual looking for their friends in the pitch black. Luckily for me, the Manchester Confidential was scattered around the field in a Bermuda triangle shape and so, using mathematical trigonometry to find my seat in the centre. Anyone making their way back to their spots still managed to trip over blankets, cool boxes, and people - one poor chap had his long prepared picnic completely destroyed. Most didn’t mind though as they’d tripped over five minutes beforehand as well.

So, a good spirited event, one that’ll definitely take off should more people know what it involves. Next time, I’ll bring more sandwiches, night vision goggles and a blanket; Stella can bring more beer and some more good weather.

Click here to find out what Gordo made of the cuisine at the outdoor £5 film screening…..it's safe to say he'll be bringing his own sandwiches next time....

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