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30 years on... Mods plan a new (and more sedate) invasion of Bangor seafront

By Maureen Coleman

It was Northern Ireland's answer to Brighton or Margate, the seaside town where rival groups of youths would congregate on bank holiday weekends.

In the early 1980s, at the height of the Mod revival, hundreds of smartly dressed teenagers would jump on their Vespas or ride the train from Belfast to Bangor to catch up with friends and pose by the seafront.

Police officers were drafted in to keep marauding skinheads and punks at bay and to prevent any scenes reminiscent of the ’60s seaside clashes between Mods and rockers.

Now, 30 years on, the Mods are set to return to Bangor for a nostalgic ‘weekender' event of music and dance.

Only this time, some of them will travel in the comfort of a coach or be driven to the venue by their teenage children and any fighting spirit that they might have had has been replaced by a more charitable one, as the Mods and Sods scooter club prepare to take part in an annual Easter Egg Run to the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children.

The Northern Ireland Mod Weekender will take place at the Marine Court Hotel in the town over two nights, March 30 and 31, and will feature five live bands as well as a host of DJs, including mod stalwart and founder of the Acid Jazz Records Eddie Piller.

The event is being organised by Lambretta Promotions in association with Afterglow Mod Club.

One of the organisers, Marty McAllister, (46), who has just published a book on the Irish Mod scene called To Be Someone, says it was fitting to stage the weekender in the ‘spiritual home' of the mods.

“We've been travelling to Glasgow and Dublin for the last few years to similar events so decided it was time to have our own one here,” he said. “We looked around Belfast for a few venues but nothing suited.

“Then we all agreed that the best place to hold it was Bangor, the place we all used to come as kids. When we got the venue, everything fell into place.

“When you get married and have children and mortgages, you tend to fall away from these things. But now we're all older, with more time on our hands, it just seemed natural to get back into it again. The Mod scene is huge at the moment.

“It's a great social life and to be honest, once a Mod, always a Mod.”

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