AN amateur choir has been invited to give its biggest performance ever - on the main stage at this summer’s Beat-Herder Festival in the Ribble Valley.

The 80-strong Clitheroe Pop Choir will open the main stage on the Saturday of the award-winning festival next month. Later in the day the same stage will see performances from Nineties’ electronic outfit Morcheeba and Seventies’ chart-toppers Boney M.

Sue Sykora, founder and musical director of the choir said: “Everyone is really excited. It is by far the biggest thing we have been involved in. I emailed the organisers a few months ago asking if they would consider us for the festival but I never expected for us to be asked to open the main stage.”

Formed eight years ago, the choir now has around 80 members aged from 18 to 80 who rehearse once a week during term time.

“I started the choir after one of my students asked about setting up a more contemporary choir,” said singing teacher Sue. “At the time there were really only traditional choirs in the area. We don’t hold auditions, everyone is welcome and we don’t read music, everything is done by ear.

“The aim is that singing should be fun.”

The choir has performed at concerts across East Lancashire and also at Foxyfest in Clitheroe but Beat-Herder will see the group performing in front of its biggest crowd to date.

“I think everyone’s excited that Boney M are on the same day,” said Sue. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to stay and watch them as we have are already booked to give another performance that night at Trinity Church in Clitheroe.

“I think I might have to go and round everyone up!”

The choir will be performing a 30 minute set and have put together songs which will suit an open air festival with songs including Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, ELO’s All Over the World and T Rex’s Twentieth Century Boy.

“We now sing in four part harmony,” said Sue, “because we have recently had more men joining the group so we have been able to add a tenor section which is great.

“The members are so enthusiastic, even at rehearsals, so it is really nice for them to get this festival date.”

The festival will be a real family affair for sue - son callum is drummer with Good Foxy who play on the Friday.

Beat-Herder runs for three days and feature over 20 purpose-built stages. This year’s headliners include dance pioneers Orbital, Soulwax and Django Django. Some of the country’s leading DJs will also be playing special festival sets and the comedy line-up includes Mock the Week regular Gary Delaney, Bobby Mair and Seymour Mace.

The festival also offers revellers their own working men’s club, swimming pool and even a tattoo parlour.

Anyone interested in joined the Clitheroe Pop Choir, which has members from across East Lancashire, can email for more information.

Beat-Herder, Sawley Brow, Friday, July 13 to Sunday, July 15. Details from