Spectacular climax to Lewes Midsummer Madness

Tongue & Groove's 'Midsummer Pool Party' Pells Pool, Lewes � James McCauley
Tongue & Groove's 'Midsummer Pool Party' Pells Pool, Lewes � James McCauley

Local enigma Tongue & Groove, sporting an impressive seven-piece band with horn section, pulled out all the stops in front of a sell-out crowd at the Pells Pool in Lewes on Saturday as the sun sank blissfully from a crystal clear sky.

It marked the band’s 150th gig over 10 years. Starfish Youth Music began the popular ‘Midsummer Madness’ event with an excellent line-up of talented bands – one of the junior bands ‘Point Taken’ supporting the headline act. The crowds came ... they watched and waited.

One of the best-kept secrets of the Pells Pool party is “How will flame-haired frontman Phil ‘The Fox’ Rhodes top last year’s pool-based finale?”

It started out with Phil stripping down to Superman pants nine years ago and swimming a length of the pool, while fireworks arced across the 50 yards of spring-fed lido.

A couple of years back, Phil hurt his hand badly and couldn’t take to the waters for a swim. So he had a chariot made to pull him across the length of the Pells, with fireworks flaring from the side.

Tongue & Groove played a great summertime set, from Hot Stuff to Car Wash, Oh What A Night! to Jungle Boogie. Groovers ranged in age from a few days (resting on parents’ chests) to well over 80 here, there and everywhere.

So what did Phil do? Well of course, he climbed into his silver lamé sequined suit, stepped into his 10-inch silver boots that had been nailed onto a silver plank suspended from the zip wire, and was pulled the diagonal length of the pool, with rockets and Roman candles fizzing from the sides, fireworks filling the skies all along the wall beside the pool, and fiery jugglers carving shapes at the dressing room end. With production by Lewes Youth Theatre and pyrotechnics by Waterloo Bonfire Society – what did you expect?

It was a truly spectacular night with food, bar, bathing and grooving compulsory. This popular fundraiser, as always, was in aid of the beloved pool and Starfish Youth Music Project - both Lewes institutions that need all the community support they can get and without which the county town would most certainly be a different place.

The event is hoping to top the £3,000 raised last year.