Tony Christie checks out the Conisbrough talent ahead of music festival

Tony Chrisie was in Conisbrough on Wednesday
Tony Chrisie was in Conisbrough on Wednesday

Tony Christie returned to his old stomping ground on Wednesday in the lead-up to the Conisbrough Music Festival.

The man who released his own version of Neil Sedaka's (Is This the Way to) Amarillo was at his old school, De Warrenne Academy, to speak to the kids, before moving on to Castle Academy and a sponsors event at Sea Fish Restaurant.

He recounted memories from his time growing up in the town, including the illegal gambling which went on at North Cliff Quarry, known to locals as Ladies Valley.

Gamblers would employ the local kids as spotters to warn them of approaching police.

Talented children from De Warrenne Academy's School of Rock production sang to Tony during his visit.

At Castle Academy, Tony spoke to some kids from the Amarillo music video recorded in Conisbrough as part of the build up to the festival in July.

Festival organiser Steve Pugh said the visits went down a treat with the local kids.

"The kids were coming up and singing Amarillo to him," Mr Pugh, who's a resident of Minneymoor Lane, said.

"It was nice to see him in Conisbrough, and out and meeting people."

Mr Pugh, 53, said the visit was a success.

"From a PR point of view, we couldn't have done a better job," he said.

Tickets to the festival are on sale now, and Mr Pugh said the festival was in good shape this time around.

"We're doing a lot better than this time last year," he said.

The weather, he said, would 'make or break' the festival, with locals being notoriously last-minute punters.

"Last year, it rained until 1pm, and we still had 3,000 through the gate," Mr Pugh said.

A buskers stage has been added to the venue this year. It will be in use from 5pm onwards.

"It's an alternate stage for people to watch some live music," Mr Pugh said.

A battle of the bands has already been run. The winners, the Outcharms, will open the festival.

The band members are students at Sir Thomas Wharton College at Edlington.

Twelve-piece Sheffield ska and reggae band Jungle Lion are among the headliners, along with the Harringtons and the Lost Days.

Mr Pugh was confident of a good event coming together.

"It's going to be the best one we've done so far," he said.