ALI Campbell is promising a full-on reggae party when UB40 headline a special day-long event at Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road ground this summer.

The Grandslam Tour will bring UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey Virtue plus special guests Level 42, the Original Wailers and Raging Fyah from Jamaica

“What we are doing with this tour is pretty special,” said Ali. “We have Level 42 with us as our special guests so we’ve got old Mark and his Thunder Thumbs (bassist and lead singer Mark King). We’ve known him for about three million years and then we’ve got the Original Wailers with Al Anderson which we are very chuffed about.

“And for this summer we are introducing Raging Fyah. We love them. They represent the future of reggae which is going back to roots rock reggae playing and doing away with all the nasty gangster lyrics and getting back to lovely conscious lyrics.”

Lyrics are something which Ali is particularly passionate about.

“What I see in Raging Fyah is what we aspired to be when I started UB40,” he said. “I was very influenced by the Wailers and Bob Marley and Ragin Fyah are very much influenced by the same things. You can listen to their lyrics and it will make you go ‘yeah man, I can dig that.’

“When people say to me do you want to influence people with your lyrics? I always say I’ve no idea whether my lyrics influence anybody. But what I do know is that I was very much influenced as a kid by the Wailers lyrics.

“With albums like Burning or Catch a Fire or Natty Dread, albums I grew up on, I’d spend hours studying those lyrics.

“To me they were the most rebellious and revolutionary I’d heard, I was influenced big time by them.”

With UB40, Ali has sold millions of albums around the world bringing reggae to a whole new audience.

The band’s three Labour of Love cover albums which featured songs such as Red Red Wine have sold a staggering 21 million copies.

“There are a lot of fantastic reggae standards out there,” said Ali. “The question we were most often asked was why do we love reggae? If you look at Labour of Love volumes 1, 2 and 3, quite simply they are the songs that made us love reggae.

“All of the hits that we had on Labour of Love were classics in the reggae field and in our lives but no-one else had really heard of Cherry Oh Baby apart from a few Rolling Stones fans. It was an open door and very much still is.

“There is a Labour of Love 4, 5, 6 and a 7 out there I’m sure. There are some brilliant songs out there.”

One of his favourite solo albums actually features classic rock songs including Honky Tonk Woman and All Right Now.

“It was called Great British Songs,” said Ali. “I just went for the most away from reggae songs that I could think of and did reggae versions of them with Sly and Robbie and it’s one of my favourite albums I’ve ever made.”

Ali has always been a man on a mission, spreading his love for reggae to different audiences around the world.

And he harbours an ambition to take that one stage further.

“What I want to do eventually with my band who, incidentally I think are the hottest reggae band in the world, is do a reggae review,” he said.

“I’d love to do it in Las Vegas. There was a Motown review that went on for eight years on the Strip in Vegas. I’d love to do something like that, it would be brilliant. We’d be the resident band and we’d do our little bit of stuff, me in my dickie bow doing Kingston Town and then we’d back other people, just everybody we could get there.”

As for this summer’s show Ali admits that for him it’s the best of both worlds as he gets to perform the songs he loves with UB40 and also gets to watch others play and meet old friends.

“I have always loved doing reggae festivals,” he said. “They may have changed over the years but it is like a big family.”

UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Micky Virtue headline the Grandslam UK Tour which also includes Level 42, the Original Wailers and Raging Fyah, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, Friday, June 16. Information and tickets visit