RAF Marham’s 100th Anniversary Friend’s and Families’ concert was the culmination of over 12-months of planning, and was the station’s most ambitious event ever, with headline acts Stavros Flatley (Britain’s Got Talent) and Peter Andre on a festival style bill!
We were delighted to be involved in such a prestigious event and put together a whistles and bells turnkey solution to help RAF Marham celebrate their centenary in style. As well as a plethora of acts we also managed: the staging; sound; lighting; big screens and camera team to capture all the on-stage action.
The event on 21st July followed their annual airshow, but celebrations were nearly scuppered when the day before there was an attempted abduction of a serviceman at RAF Marham and the whole base was locked down. By the time we arrived with our production team later that night, there was a highly increased security presence and although we were allowed on base, it soon became clear that a decision was yet to be made whether to continue with the airshow and concert. Thankfully the next morning it was all systems go!
BFBS were the only broadcasters allowed to work on the airfield, and while they gathered content from the Friends and Families Day and Airshow, our team got to work on the football fields with the production build and rehearsals, set against the backdrop of aerial displays by the Red Arrows and other aircraft on show. BFBS also interviewed CSE’s Angie Avlianos and singer Brooke Supple as part of the build-up for the evening concert.
The synergy with BFBS did not stop there and they were given exclusive backstage access. They interviewed all the acts throughout the afternoon and evening, talking to the artistes’ in-between sound checks and performances. We also had live Twitter and Facebook updates from behind the scenes.
Peter Andre was a delight to work with and gave so much to the event. Before his performance, he gave two backstage meet and greet sessions, despite having just got off a plane from Spain before travelling straight to the base. One was to ‘golden tickets’ holders and he also met bereaved families from the charity Nelson’s Journey. Peter Andre was the perfect headliner and a big hit at Marham - the 3000 strong audience went crazy for him, and it wasn’t just the Mum’s and Daughters wanting to pose for a selfie and get that coveted autograph!
Who was on the bill?
CSE compere Patrick Monahan held the whole event together, keeping the masses entertained and the momentum flowing during band changeovers. Never shy, Pat got in amongst the revellers and even had a conga going at one point!
The music kicked off with station band Rubix who had never performed to such a big audience but were very excited to play to their friends, family and colleagues.
Seasoned CSE performer Brooke Supple was next with her trusty stomp box and chilled out acoustic set. The Groovy Cats were asked back having previously performed at a RAF Marham in December.
Lady Gaga Impersonator Donna Marie wowed the crowds, complete with authentic costumes (including a flame throwing bra) and her backing dancers.
Friend of CSE and previous Britain’s Got Talent finalist Stavros Flatley were almost as popular as Peter Andre and they also posed for many a photo before taking to the stage.
Peter Andre gave a fantastic live show, and performed a set of his own hits plus covers with his band, ending on Mysterious Girl. Well it had to be really!
Project Officer, Sqn Ldr Ben Sharp said 'We couldn’t have hoped for a better team to support us and deliver the fantastic concert that still remains the talk of the station… you proactively tackled all of our challenges and questions (which must have seemed constant) and you guided us to a superb end result'.
The aims of this event really resonated with us, and to support RAF Marham in recognising personnel and their families for the support and sacrifices they make as part of the military community, particularly given the high operational tempo, we funded the appearance of Stavros Flatley as a beneficiary contribution.
Thanks to SAC Hannah Beevers for some of the photos shown here.