Ben Waters and Kiki Dee set to perform in Coolham

Ben Waters
Ben Waters

Renowned boogie woogie pianist Ben Waters is returning to West Sussex this month for a huge event at Coolham Recreation Ground.

Picnic in the Park takes place on Saturday, August 11, and features Crossfire with Alice Armstrong and Marcus Praestgaard-Stevens (6pm), The Elles Bailey Band (7.30pm) and The Ben Waters Band with special guests Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri (9pm).

Kiki Dee and Carmello Luggeri. Picture by Paul Watson

Kiki Dee and Carmello Luggeri. Picture by Paul Watson

Gates open at 5pm and tickets are £25 from

The event is being promoted by Ben who has agreed to donate £5 from each ticket sold to Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice, via Coolham Live Music Club. It’s the hospice’s 15th anniversary this year and CLMC have already donated £8,300 since the club started five years ago.

There will be no licenced bar or food available so people can bring snacks and drinks along with any folding tables and chairs. There will be ample parking on site.

Ben Waters is one of the UK’s top boogie piano players, having worked with The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jools Holland, Shakin’ Stevens and many more. Ben is one of Jools Holland’s favourite pianists and even played at his wedding. For the Coolham event Ben will be bringing his full band, which features his own son Tom on saxophone.

Ben has regularly sold out at Coolham and it was his idea to use this event as a fundraiser.

Kiki Dee started her musical career in 1963 when she recorded her first single ‘Early Night’ and her debut album I’m Kiki Dee. Since then Kiki has released 12 albums. During the early years Kiki gained a great reputation as a session singer, notably working with Dusty Springfield and performing on two of her early hits, ‘Little By Little’ and ‘Some of Your Loving’. She also appeared on TV shows like the Morecambe and Wise show, The Two Ronnies and The Benny Hill show. In 1970 Kiki became the first British artist signed by Tamla Motown, later signing to Elton John’s Rocket Records label.

In 1973, Kiki scored her first UK Top 20 hit with her version of ‘Amoureuse’. Kiki can also be heard singing backing vocals on Elton John’s album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

1974 saw Kiki riding high on both the UK and US charts with ‘I’ve Got the Music in Me’ followed by a duet with Elton, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’.

The 1980s saw Kiki venturing into musical theatre including taking on the role originally played by Barbara Dickson in Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers.

In the 1990s Kiki started a collaboration with songwriter, producer and guitarist Carmelo Luggeri, who has worked with Bill Wyman, Julian Lennon, Andy Williams, Paul Rodgers, Kenney Jones, Ray Cooper, Chris Rea and Ralph McTell.

Bristol-based Elles Bailey has a talent for crafting and seamlessly weaving together rootsy blues, country, and soulful rock with a contemporary edge.

Her debut album Wildfire (2017) debuted at No.2 in the iTunes blues charts and was recorded in Tennessee with a host of Nashville’s finest musicians, including Grammy Award winning guitarist Brent Mason and three-time Musician Hall Of Famer Bobby Wood.

Kicking off the evening will be the amazing 14-year-old guitarist Marcus Praestgaard-Stevens and his band Crossfire, with Alice Armstrong on vocals. Marcus and Alice are up-and-coming artists with a great future and Coolham Live Music Club is proud to have been supporting him and the band for the past year.

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