WIGAN Casino celebrates its 40th birthday this year but a struggle to find a venue means the party might not be in Wigan!
The famous home of Northern Soul opened in 1973 with DJ Russ Winstanley a major figure in its success.
And he wants to throw a huge party for its anniversary, holding a weekend-long festival of music with the appearance of many top acts.
But Russ, 60, has been left frustrated at finding a good location in Wigan to hold the celebration.
He has revealed that over the years many top acts have pleaded for him to organise an event in the town but he has left them disappointed when he revealed that the town had nowhere to hold one.
Russ said: “It’s been so, so frustrating and, in a way, embarrassing to have to tell some big names that they can’t come to Wigan.
“I’ve had the likes of Madness, Steve Craddock from Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller all been pushing for me to organise something in Wigan.
“Nowhere is big enough and when you think that decades ago we had the Empress Ballroom, home of Wigan Casino, ABC Cinema which has so many great acts like the Beatles playing there and various others which are now all gone.
“It’s just the fact that if you look at Bolton and Warrington and most towns, they still have a big venue to put things on.
“They have this venue near Wigan Pier which was hoping to open next July but that isn’t happening now.”
The only possible venue for the anniversary is at Robin Park, which is where Russ has provisionally booked to hold some sort of event next year.
But the cost of the venue is putting at risk the possibility of having some of the top acts Russ wants.
He added: “The flooring there is fantastic for dancing but I have to stump up so much just to hire the venue and then provide tables and chairs.
“It’s hard and there are so many hurdles before you get going.
“I’m just so annoyed Wigan doesn’t have a proper venue.”
There will be a huge Northern Soul event next year though in Skegness.
Russ has managed to line up “six major acts” for the event taking place in the last week in September at Butlins in Skegness.
Russ said: “It’s going to be the world’s biggest Northern Soul event.
“We had to do something huge to mark 40 years and with this event and the one we’re hoping for Wigan, hopefully we can do that.”