My January has been pretty quiet, quiet until last night that is.

A few months ago I saw a free gig in Preston advertised on Facebook so I signed up for tickets. I have to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect, the gig billed Craig Charles and MistaJam as the headliners.

Craig Charles? MistaJam?

I’ve obviously heard of Craig Charles, but my memory of him is from Red Dwarf – I must have missed his transition to DJ. And as for MistaJam I had vaguely heard of him, but to my knowledge he didn’t play the music I liked so I hadn’t looked into him much. YouTube revealed he plays a lot of urban, hip hop and garage – not my cup of tea.

I’m a sucker for freebies though, there’s no denying it, when my friends said ‘you’re only going because it’s free!’ there might have been a bit (a lot) of truth in it, but I was also intrigued to find out more about the DJs and of course enjoy an outside gig in my ‘home’1 town Preston. Even if it was January.

The gig took place on Saturday 30th January and during the day leading up to the event Preston had been battered by every type of weather imaginable, wind, rain, hail, bit of snow and sun.

Thankfully for the event itself the weather was good-ish.

WATCH A VIDEO OF CRAIG CHARLES »

Turning up at 9.30pm – the time of the first headliner – we were a little concerned as there weren’t many people. Craig Charles took to the stage though and the crowds began to gather and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Randomly bumping into a fellow Zumba-goer we got chatting and he reminisced about the ‘old Rock FM raves’ that apparently happened about 20 years ago on the Flag Market. Unfortunately I wasn’t around to enjoy these raves but I was looking forward to this one.

Craig Charles played an hour of funk and soul which was fun, although it seemed rather quiet. I’m used to the big festivals where the sound is booming and you can feel the bass in your chest.

Although a lot of people had now gathered Craig never really got the crowds going. The crowds were just jigging on the spot rather than properly dancing.

Still it was an enjoyable set which included timeless hits such as ‘Jungle Boogie’ and a great mash-up of ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Living in America’.

MistaJam takes to the stage…

It was 10.30pm when MistaJam took over the decks and the party really got started.

He immediately grabbed the microphone and got a lot of audience interaction with chants of “when I say Mista, you say Jam”. The crowd reacted in a positive way – cheering and dancing.

Although I wouldn’t say MistaJam was the strongest DJ when it comes to mixing he pulled out a number of dance classics that really got the crowd raving including ‘Show Me Love’, ‘Flat Beat’, ‘Toca’s Miracle’ and ‘Rhythm of the Night’.

Even the occasional rain shower didn’t put off the revelers who were gradually working up a sweat with the amount of jumping they were doing.

It was a great feeling being outside, surrounded by the iconic Harris Museum and the war memorial, with everyone just there to have a good time. Although there was plenty of security around we didn’t see any problems.

The only downside of the evening was the non-alcoholic bar and the fireworks at the end seemed like a bit of a let down.

Still PrestFest/Preston BID pulled off a great Purple Party so here’s hoping to many more parties on the Flag Market.

I love gigs and I love free stuff so I’m looking forward to more!


1I say ‘home’ not home as I’m an honorary northerner, I’ve lived here nearly as long as I’ve lived in the south. Scary eh?