A special Casino celebration

The crowds at the Casino reunion

The crowds at the Casino reunion

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THOUSANDS of passionate soulies came out to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wigan Casino.

The music lovers descended on Butlins in Skegness for what was one of the biggest ever festivals of Northern Soul.

The event was organised by Casino legend and DJ Russ Winstanley who recruited a wealth of acts from years gone by to re-create the famous all-nighters once staged by the famous club.

Artists such as Dean Parrish, Martha Reeves, Tommy Hunt, Chis Clark, Geno Washington, Brenda Holloway and Sidney Barnes all performed for the masses over three nights.

Around 7,500 people attended the event to make it one of the biggest Wigan Casino events in history.

Russ, who lives in Beech Hill, said: “It was amazing, really, really fantastic.

“Everyone had such a great time, I think Butlins were surprised at how many turned out. Not only that, it was such a friendly event. Each day started at noon and went on until 3am.

“As well as all the acts who performed, we had a number of DJs as well.

“Everywhere was playing Northern Soul too, even the local shops had it on.

“It’s been such a great year to look back on Wigan Casino and the joy the all-nighters brought to so many people who loved going there.”

The event was so big that it became the first specialist weekend event to be a sell-out on its first go.

Russ is now busy planning another, similar event next year and has already shifted more than 3,000 tickets.

“It’s incredible,” he added.

“The reaction has just been phenomenal, I couldn’t have asked for anymore.

“The scene is going really well at the moment and I’m just really glad everyone had such a great weekend at Butlins.”

The Skegness weekend followed on from what was also a successful celebration at Wigan’s Robin Park venue.

That took place last month and also saw legend Dean Parrish perform. Both events have proven that Northern Soul is flying and a recent documentary also proved its worth.

The BBC’s Culture Show recently did a special feature on Wigan Casino and the people that went there.

The programme – hosted by Leigh born journalist Paul Mason – looked into the music, clothing, dance styles, the venue itself as well as the DJs and acts that performed at the venue. Such was its popularity that it was the most-watched Culture Show ever.

One source of disappointment for Russ was that despite being interviewed, there was no mention of him.