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BBC plan special show to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Wigan Casino

An unmissable night of music, nostalgia, and dance honouring a legendary venue

As the 50th anniversary of the iconic Northern Soul venue, Wigan Casino, approaches, BBC Radio 6 Music is gearing up to transport listeners back to the golden era of soulful beats and dancefloor magic.

The Wigan Casino was a legendary nightclub located in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England.

It is best known for its association with the Northern Soul movement, a subculture and music genre that emerged in the late 1960s and gained popularity in the 1970s.

On Saturday, September 9th, from 6pm to 8am on Sunday, September 10th, the airwaves will come alive with a night of programming dedicated to celebrating Northern Soul, the soulful subculture that once dominated the dancehalls of Manchester and beyond.

The Wigan Casino opened its doors in September 1973.

Initially, it started as a traditional live music venue featuring various acts, but it soon transitioned into a nightclub that primarily focused on playing Northern Soul music.

Northern Soul is a genre that primarily consists of rare and obscure American soul music from the 1960s and 1970s, characterized by its fast tempo, energetic beats, and passionate vocal performances.

The Wigan Casino quickly became the epicentre of the Northern Soul scene, attracting a dedicated and passionate crowd of dancers and music enthusiasts.

The club’s main event was its all-nighters, which were held from Saturday night through to Sunday morning.

These all-night dance sessions became iconic and drew people from all over the UK who were eager to immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere and dance to rare and underplayed soul tracks.

Of course, Manchester had the famous Twisted Wheel, the legendary Northern Soul club in the cellar of the former Plaza Ballroom on Whitworth Street, but many Northern Soul aficionados would head up to Wigan to dance all night.

And now’s your chance to re-live the glory days of the Northern Soul hotspot.

A Stomping Lineup of Nostalgia and Music

The festivities kick off with a special Northern Soul edition of The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, hosted by the one and only Craig Charles himself.

This Saturday night special, running from 6pm to 9pm, promises a delightful journey through the world of soul music.

With live music from a ten-piece soul house band called The Signatures, along with special guests like Richard Searling, a legend from the Wigan Casino scene, and the all-female R&B group The Flirtations, listeners are in for a treat.

Craig Charles will also embark on a quest to discover the rarest Northern Soul record, a gem recently sold for a staggering £100,000.

Symphonic Beats at the Royal Albert Hall

From 9pm to 12am, Stuart Maconie will join the party as he and Craig introduce a broadcast of the Northern Soul Prom, a musical extravaganza that will take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

This symphonic celebration of British club culture brings a new dimension to the soulful beats that once swept across the North and Midlands in the 60s and 70s.

Accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Edwin Outwater, talented singers will perform classic Northern Soul tracks, rejuvenating the melodies that once ignited dance floors across the nation.

An All-Nighter Experience

The former site of Manchester’s Twisted Wheel

As the night progresses, listeners are in for an all-nighter experience that takes them on an audio tour of iconic venues.

From the Golden Torch in Stoke on Trent to Wigan Casino, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, and The 100 Club, DJs who were part of these legendary spaces will curate hour-long playlists, sharing stories and spinning tunes that defined an era.

Morning After Mix and Farewell

As the sun begins to rise, 6 Music’s Morning After Mix, Northern Soul Special will bring listeners a playlist of mellow soul numbers, offering a serene contrast to the night’s high-energy tunes.

Finally, Stuart Maconie will bring the celebrations to a close on Sunday morning at 7 am, presenting “Lights On With Stuart Maconie.”

He’ll pay homage to Wigan Casino’s famous Three Before Eight tradition with classic tracks that punctuated the dawn.

A Trip Down Memory Lane with BBC Radio 6 Music

From the beats that once echoed through Wigan Casino to the cherished memories of soulful dance floors, this Northern Soul celebration promises to be a soul-stirring trip down memory lane for music lovers everywhere.

Broadcasting from 6pm on Saturday 9 September – 8am on Sunday 10 September, highlights include a special Northern Soul edition of The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show and a broadcast of Stuart Maconie’s Northern Soul Prom, which was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in July. The Prom will also be broadcast on BBC Two on Saturday 26 August at 7.45pm.

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