Jools Holland says he is counting the days until he brings his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra to Carrickfergus this summer.
The popular keyboardist and TV presenter is headlining the first of two family-orientated concerts in the Co Antrim town — billed as Live at the Castle — over the August bank holiday weekend.
“I am literally counting the minutes until I get along to Carrickfergus,” Jools told Belfast Telegraph TV.
“Not only do I hope that we have a fantastic balmy evening when we can all boogie ourselves outdoors and also hopefully bask in the sunlight and relax to beautiful music, but also — as is well known — I’m a keen medievalist, so I hope I will be climbing over the castle, measuring it up, checking a few proportions there and making a few sketches before scampering back to my hotel room.”
Jools will have veteran rocker Dave Edmunds, who has had an amazing 40-year career in music, as his special guest star while singers Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall join his 23-piece orchestra too.
Also on the same bill is acclaimed singer and keyboardist Paul Carrack, probably best known as the vocalist with Mike And The Mechanics, and highly respected Dublin singer Imelda May.
On the second day — Saturday August 29 — Status Quo headline supported by The Saw Doctors, bluegrass rockers Hayseed Dixie, tribute band Tinn Lizzy and up-and-coming Carrick rock guitarist Simon McBride.
Jools hopes to have time to explore the local area.
“I have a fantastic time every time I come over here. It’s a beautiful place to look at, particularly the countryside with those hills that bask in that certain light specific to this part of the world.”
His BBC show Later is the longest-running music show on British TV.
“I think Later has ran for so long because we have always tried to have a mix of both highly regarded new artists and established artists, but they all have to be of the highest artisitc integrity!”
Despite the big 80s revival Jools ruled out any reunion with Squeeze, with whom he had a string of hits.
“It’s a bit like somone saying: ‘Do you want to get back together with your old husband or wife?’ Some people do, I suppose, but I don’t know whether it ever works out as well as it did the first time round — at least I don’t think it would for me!”
For tickets for Live at the Castle call the 24-hour hotline on 0870 243 4455 or log on to www.liveatthecastle.co.uk