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28-06-02 news
Van The Man Plays it Humble...

Irish singer Van Morrison is to play for regulars at The Crown pub in England this summer for 37,000.

The country pub in deepest Wiltshire has landed a major coup by signing up the Irish legend for a one-off gig.

It has taken landlords Gary and Sarah Jane Marlow more than two years to persuade the notoriously demanding singer to come to their humble inn.

But Van Morrison's busy summer schedule now lists concerts in Munich, a gig in Lucerne, Switzerland and The Crown, Everleigh.

It is not a cheap option, the gig held at the pub on Salisbury Plain will leave the couple with a bill of 37,000 for the hour and a half performance.

But music fan Mr Marlow, 43, thinks it is worth the gamble. "It's taken two years to get him. He is very pedantic and very choosy, but it will be worth it. It is a bit bizarre, having him at this pub in Wiltshire, but it's very, very cool and will be a very personal night. It's a wonderful old building and a beautiful setting with nothing blocking the view for six miles. Where would you rather be in this fabulous old building where the stage is set for a great night or just in some hall?"

A stage is being built at the back of the pub for the outdoor concert which is supported by guest singer Chris Farlowe. Mr Marlow said he has already had a list of demands from the singer and his eight-piece band, three pages in total, the contents of which he cannot contractually disclose.

But the size of "Van the Man's" dressing-room takes some beating. "He's pretty much got the pub and the whole of the restaurant," said Mr Marlow. "But there's going to be a lot of people coming and going and he can't really be interrupted when he's eating his steak before can he?"

It is not the first time the pub has urged reclusive musicians out of their shells to perform at their 16th century pub. Last year they convinced former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green to do a turn. It cost them 18,000 and did not make any money.

The pub has a capacity of 1,500 in its grounds and they have sold 600 for the Van Morrison gig so far but need another 400 sales to break even.

Mr Marlow said the foot-and-mouth crisis hit businesses like theirs hard last year. "We're just a country pub, people have to drive here just to get a pint. We can't just sit around, we have to do something a bit special to get people to notice us. But if it works, who knows? The sky's the limit. Robbie Williams next perhaps?"

Tickets and information on the gig on August 3 are available on 01264 852664.

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