A GUITARIST collapsed and died on stage while performing at a music festival.

Allan Parkinson, a member of rock band Dark Horse, was playing in front of hundreds of people at Barnoldswick’s Bands on the Square, when he was taken ill.

Despite first aiders and paramedics trying to help the 67-year-old on the town square stage they were unable to save him.

The musician, who could regularly be seen playing in pubs and clubs across East Lancashire with his two band mates and son James, was one of 30 acts lined up for the three-day festival.

Last night event organisers described the father-of-three as a ‘music legend’.

After Mr Parkinson’s sudden death, Sunday’s show finished early as a mark of respect, but it continued as planned yesterday in his memory after his wife of 40 years, Jillian, made the request.

Yesterday a minute silence was held to remember the grandfather-of-two and a rendition of one of his favourite songs ‘Whiteman Sings the Blues’ from his album, ‘Fire Burns Inside’, was performed.

Police said they were called to the festival but said there was no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Organiser Cllr David Whipp, said Mr Parkinson was well-known for his performances throughout East Lancashire and Yorkshire.

He said: “Allan was a music legend.

“He had a legacy amongst the music fraternity in Barlick and the wider area.

“He taught guitar to so many people in the area and many musicians will have grown up with Allan as a figurehead.

“Everyone was devastated, we are devastated.

“We wanted to cancel the final day of the show out of respect but Allan’s wife, Jillian, said she wanted to keep the show going in his memory because that’s what he would have wanted.”


Mr Parkinson, of Wellhouse Road, Barnoldswick, worked at Rolls Royce for several years and started playing guitar at 16.

His son and bandmate James Parkinson, 36, said his dad was regarded as one of the best guitarists on the local music scene in the north of England.

He said: “He was an amazing performer with fire and passion, and an excellent songwriter to boot.

“My dad will be remembered for teaching guitar to a huge number of budding Barnoldswick musicians.

“He helped enrich the music life of the town and his legacy will live on for a very long time.

“People will have known him as a kind and extremely likeable man.

“He had a great sense of humour and his natural talent for guitar playing will be remembered forever.

“My dad died playing on stage in his home town, doing what he did best.

“We take a great deal of comfort from this.”

Mr Parkinson and his wife were set to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year.

Originally started in 2012, Barnoldswick’s Bands on the Square sees more than 30 music acts from different genres perform in the town square.

More than a thousand people from across East Lancashire attended the event.

Andrew Gilmour, 32, part of the band Suburban Symphony, who headlined on the first day, said he was taught by Mr Parkinson to play guitar at the age of 12.

He said: “Allan was a really nice guy.

“His approach to teaching students was really good.

“He had a big influence on me and to a lot of people in the town.”

A police spokesman said: “We can confirm a man collapsed and died on stage at a music event in Barnoldswick on Sunday.

“We believe there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death.”