BRITAIN’S biggest ‘secret’ pop party rocked Sheffield with performances from JLS, Little Mix, Scouting For Girls, Conor Maynard and more - while many fans didn’t even know it was on, writes Graham Walker.
It was a girls-only private booking for 22,000 lucky Girl Guides, who were bused in from around the country for two shows at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena.
The Girlguiding UK’s Big Gig 2012 wasn’t publicly advertised or openly promoted in fear of thousands of other fans gatecrashing the matinee and evening shows on Saturday.
Those who did get in - Guides aged 10 and above - also got to see new chart sensation Lawson, X Factor star Amelia Lily, Barbados pop outfit Cover Drive, teen star A*M*E, Angel, and Britain’s Got Talent trio Loveable Rogues.
Presenters of the 12th annual star-studded Big Gig, which moves around the county, were CBBC’s Friday Download hosts Richard Wisker, also a star of TV’s Tracy Beaker Returns, and Ceallach Spellman, of Waterloo Road fame.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch digital editor Graham Walker’s exclusive video interviews with the big names and more photos from the event.
The audience joined in a mass sing-a-long of Miley Cyrus hit Make Some Noise.
But the biggest screams were reserved for show openers JLS and X Factor winners Little Mix.
In an exclusive chat backstage - see highlights at www.thestar.co.uk – JLS, who performed hits including next single Hottest Girl In The World, from forthcoming album Evolution, out November 5, promised they will return to Sheffield for a concert for all fans.
“We’re coming back definitely, but this is a special day for Girl Guides. They work really hard and they are inspiring,” said band member Oritsé Williams.
Little Mix four-piece Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, whose set included recent number one Wings, are looking forward to their debut headline tour, which plays Sheffield City Hall on February 2.
Before then, on November 19, they release their debut album DNA, which they revealed is also the title of their next single.
“If I was in the Girl Guides I’d be loving the Big Gig. We got an amazing reaction,” said Jesy, who with Jade recalled their time in the Brownies.
You Bring Me Joy chart star Amelia Lily, an X Factor finalist last year, said: “It was pretty epic. I was a Girl Guide and I’m now an ambassador for them. I’m very honoured.”
Guitar four-piece Lawson, featuring Chesterfield bass player Ryan Fletcher and Mansfield guitarist Joel Peat, with bandmates Andy Brown and Adam Pitts, also got a Beatlemania style reaction.
“The Sheffield audience did me proud. It’s great when you can see everyone singing back your songs. I could hear them over my ear monitors and it was so loud,” said pin-up Ryan, who plays another homecoming concert with Lawson at Sheffield’s Leadmill on November 1, promoting single Standing In The Dark, out October 14 and debut album Chapman Square, on October 22.
* For more about GirlGuiding UK visit www.girlguiding.org.uk.