Dream come true for Finchampstead rocker

Published: 8 Jul 2014 15:300 comments

A FATHER of two spent £26,000 hiring Hammersmith Apollo to perform with his band as a 50th birthday present to himself.

Ian Penfold headlined the Hammersmith Apollo with his band Hidden Agenda for his 50th birthday. PHOTO CREDIT: Ian Legge

Ian Penfold splashed the cash on a once-in-a-lifetime dream to headline the iconic venue.

Mr Penfold, an IT consultant from Finchampstead spent two years planning the extravaganza – where he played to an audience of 2,000 people.

Playing bass with his band Hidden Agenda, Mr Penfold took the stage on Saturday June 14, his birthday.

He said: “I already had the band together; we started about 10 years ago and are a soul and disco band. We play weddings and parties usually.

“The planning was harder than the actual performance! It felt so natural to be on stage. When it was over we all headed to the bar and were there until about 3am!”

Mr Penfold approached the venue to hire it but had to provide lighting, sound – and fill the seats.

With three support acts, they managed to fill the venue and even donated some tickets to the NHS and troops. However, the best was yet come for Mr Penfold, when his idol John Otway agreed to take to the stage as well.

Mr Otway – famous for similar stunts such as hiring the Odeon in Leicester Square to show a movie of his life – hosted the night as well as performing some of his classic hits on stage. Mr Penfold said: “I got in touch with him, saying ‘I’m doing the same kind of thing’. So we met and had a beer. I’m a huge fan [of his] – have been a fan for about 20 years – so it was absolutely fantastic.”

With Mr Penfold’s wife Janet supporting him, helping with the organisation and ticket sales, he managed to break even with costs. But he added he would not have minded losing money. He added: “I was fully expecting to lose some money, so breaking even was nice. But at the end of the day I’ve

headlined Hammersmith Apollo

and not many people can say that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – and I won’t be doing it again in a hurry!”

All four bands came together at the end of perform classic hits such as Car Wash.

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