Robbie's (almost) on the Tournament bill

For dedicated music fans the news seemed too good to be true - rock superstar Robbie Williams had been lined up to perform live in their sleepy little town.

For dedicated music fans the news seemed too good to be true - rock superstar Robbie Williams had been lined up to perform live in their sleepy little town.

A mad scramble for tickets began when rumours spread that Robbie would be playing an open air gig next month in the Duke of Northumberland's Pastures, next to Alnwick Castle.

Mystified office staff at the Duke's ancestral home were inundated with telephone calls from excited fans desperate to book their places at the concert.

But now it has been revealed it is not the former Take That star - but a leading Robbie Williams tribute act which will be topping the bill at the Alnwick Castle Tournament on Sunday, August 27.

Embarrassed officials at Alnwick and District Round Table, which organises the annual fundraising Tournament, admitted yesterday that they were to blame for the mix-up.

Last week they erected two large roadside signs at the entrances to Alnwick advertising the Tournament, including big red lettering which suggested to passing drivers that Robbie Williams was to be the star turn at the event.

The signs did not make it clear that it is actually tribute show Millennium - featuring Robbie look-alike Matthew Holbrook - which will be on stage.

Irate staff at Alnwick Castle contacted Round Table officials to tell them about the rush for tickets, and now the two signs have been changed to make it clear that Alnwick will not be getting a visit from the chart-topping star.

Tournament entertainments manager Martin Harrington, who put up the two 8ft promotional signs, said yesterday: "I am guilty as charged and the way the signs appeared clearly caused confusion as to who is actually appearing.

"The signs had Robbie Williams in big red letters together with details of the Tournament and the date. They also had Millennium on them in smaller letters, but obviously people saw them and thought the real Robbie was coming.

"The telephone lines to the castle were red hot last Thursday and Friday with people wanting to buy tickets so we have had to alter the signs and make it quite obvious it is a Robbie tribute show."

Tournament director Mark Turnbull said: "The signs started off a massive rumour that Robbie was coming to play in Alnwick. They were a bit misleading and failed to make it clear it was a tribute show.

"The people at the castle were going berserk about all the telephone calls they were getting and we have now changed the signs to tell people that it is Matthew Holbrook and not Robbie Williams who is coming."

Alnwick Castle Ventures marketing co-ordinator Colin Coope said: "This was a misunderstanding but we did get a lot of phone calls from people all over Alnwick and beyond who had seen the signs and thought Robbie was coming here."

Nottingham-based Matthew Holbrook is billed as the UK's number one Robbie tribute act and performs his Millennium show all over the world.

He will be appearing with two dancers at the Alnwick Castle Tournament.

The Tournament, which raises funds for local charities, also features motorbike stunt riders, the Edinburgh Swordsmen and local rock band The Tuckers.

Admission is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children and pensioners.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer