About FreckFest

Willie Freckleton was Irvine’s very own ‘Mr Entertainment’. Part of the very fabric of our wee town, he was the man who for many a year brought so much entertainment and good music to the people of Irvine. He knew a hot ticket when he saw one, and crucially, he knew what the folks of Irvine wanted, whether they realised it or not.

Willie gave breaks to many acts that would go on to proper, global success. Billy Connolly. Oasis. Alan Cumming. All diverse, yet all owing a small part of their success to Willie, who saw fit to put them on the bill when precious few would give them the platform for success. 

Willie also booked the big acts of the day, regardless of their ‘hip appeal’ or otherwise. “They get bums on seats,” was a well-voiced Willie phrase. Whether he was booking Runrig for yet another sell-out show, or making sure The Jam, The Smiths, Madness and many other bona fide chart acts included a stop-off in Irvine as part of their nationwide tours, Willie did indeed get Irvine bums on seats. 

If he wasn’t looking after the needs of the Singing Kettle, Willie was bringing The Clash to town and setting aside part of the dressing room as a makeshift barbers so that Strummer and Jones could give Mohawk haircuts to the fans. If Willie wasn’t organizing haircuts (again!) for Thin Lizzy from George the Barber at Irvine Cross, he was handing over a brown paper bag stuffed with US dollars to his idol Chuck Berry - the agreed fee for the gig before he took to the stage. Everyone has a story about Willie. And all are complimentary. Ask around. Before long, you’ll bump into someone who knew Willie. And they’ll tell you the same. Willie was a true gent.

That ‘bumping into someone’ part is crucial to the story of Freckfest.

Two folk meet for the first time in ages between the aisles of one of the town’s supermarkets. They start reminiscing. 

“You still into your music?”

“’Course I am! You?”

“Aye!”

“It’s a pity we don’t get the bands stopping off in Irvine the way we used to.” 

“We would if Willie was still around.”

“We should do something in his name…a night with local bands. Maybe give the door money to charity.”

And from little acorns mighty oaks grow…

 

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