SUMMERTIME and the chances are you will find Neville Staple performing at a festival somewhere in the world.

In fact, whatever the time of year, it’s likely that the former member of The Specials will be delighting audiences somewhere with his band, with a set full of energetic ska sounds.

“To be honest,” said Neville, “I’ve jut had a holiday with the wife and from now it’s tour, tour, tour until December. I’d rather be working and touring and meeting new people and those I’ve met over the years.

“I get bored if I’m away from it. I just love playing live.”

Neville and his band are one of the headline acts at the day-long Great Northern Ska Festival at Bowler’s Exhibition Centre next Saturday.

He will be joining the likes of The Selecter, The Beat and Baked A La Ska to present 12 hours of ska, 2-Tone and reggae.

With The Specials, Neville was at the forefront of the 2-Tone movement which saw songs such as Gangsters, Rat Race and Ghost Town being propelled into the charts and a whole generation of music lovers in the Eighties discovering the Jamaican-inspired rhythms.

But as next week’s festival proves, its popularity shows no signs of waning.

“It’s music that will never die,” said Neville. “When we play festivals we get all age groups there from fans who were there first time round to young kids whose parents listened to the music and when they were growing up and now it’s become their music too.

“But even if you don’t know the music, the moment you hear those first beats it makes you want to dance. “

It certainly does in Neville’s case. With the Specials in their early days it wasn’t unusual to see him climbing on top of the PA system. He was the band’s showman with seemingly boundless energy.

Even now at 61, the love for performing remains as strong as ever.

“I love being on stage,” he said. “I don’t jump around like I used to, I’m getting on a bit now you know, but there’s still that energy there.

“That’s what you need - energy and good music - and our audiences are loving it.”

For the festival Neville promises a set for the fans to treasure featuring his own material and some Specials’ classics.

“When I’m on stage and the audience wants me to do a Specials’ song I won’t say no I’m not doing that. That’s what people have come to hear at a festival and I want to do it for them.

“For me playing live is everything. I’m still doing what I do and I love it.”

Great Northern Ska Festival, Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Manchester, Saturday, August 20. Details from 0161 876 0007.