WITH Blackburn designer Wayne Hemingway at the helm of this weekend’s Vintage Festival to celebrate Preston Guild, a trip back to the Eighties was sure to feature.

The culmination of the two-day event in Avenham Park will see The Human League headlining.

Supported by fellow 1980s electronic act Blancmange, headed by Darwen-born Neil Arthur, a giant marquee will host the special concert which will be a celebration of electro-pop.

Sheffield’s Human League are among the coolest of northerners from the music scene of that time and, 35 years after they formed, they’re equally happy being regarded as retro or as a current act, having released a new album, Credo, just last year.

Singer Susan Ann Sully famously joined the line-up in 1980 when Phil Oakey spotted her and schoolfriend Joanne Catherall dancing in a city nightclub.

From there they sang on the definitive 80s album Dare and have been together ever since.

Susan said: “We are one of the only groups who’ve never split up, never went away, and have carried on making our music quite quietly with no song and dance about it.

“When you start out, you think it’s going to be two or three years of a good time but strangely we just carried on and none of us would have known that was going to happen.

“Philip even wasn’t aiming to be in a band. He accidently joined Martyn Ware and Ian Marsh, who started the group, when they were looking for a vocalist and he looked good but was working as a hospital porter.

“In the same way, Joanne and I were still at school and never expected to do this — we were just doing our studies and had places at university.

“Ever since Human League started, people have tried to stick us in a category. Now it’s vintage but we have a 35 year history and we will slot into any event line-up.

“We played the V Festival a couple of weeks ago. We will never do a show without playing Don’t You Want Me, because that’s what people want.

“The only thing we don’t do is rock — although we did once play a Goth fest in Germany.”

With electronica back firmly at the top of the charts, Susan thinks the popularity of the sound is simply down to the cycle of trends.

“Every sort of music does a cycle. Ours has done that and is popular again,” she said.

“Not many years ago, you would never hear an R&B artist using synthesisers, now Rihanna uses that in everything she does. It’s accepted as part of the musical landscape.

“When we started the equipment was incredibly expensive. Now you can go into any electrical store and get some really inexpensive. Most people make music on their computers now, not even using synthesisers and drum machines — you can even make music on an iPad.”

Human League, the Vintage Guild Weekend, Avenham Park, Preston. Gates 7pm, show at 8pm. Call 0845 344 2012.