Dusty Day 2008

This year, Dusty Day took place on Sunday 20 April at Finnegans Wake in Ealing, West London and was sold out in advance.

Members of Let's Talk Dusty at Dusty's marker in Henley-on-ThamesArranged by Simon Bell, close friend and colleague of Dusty during her life, an amazing guest list was been organised; as well as Simon himself, others appearing included Madeline Bell, Julie Felix, Jonathan Cohen, Dusty’s secretary and good friend Pat Rhodes; and special guest this year was Katy Setterfield, who recently won the BBC tribute show ‘The One And Only’.

Dusty Day 2008 was my first experience of our annual fan gathering, although I had heard much about it already. For me, the best part of it all was getting to actually meet so many people I chat to every day online; they were all wonderful and warm and very friendly. Next on the highlight list was meeting the lovely Katy Setterfield.

And of course there was the music - beautifully presented by Katy, Simon Bell, Madeline Bell, Julie Felix and Jonathan Cohen. It was a stunning set and had more than a few people in tears.

The People

Dusty Day would be nothing without the people who attend and make it what it is. Most of the people are the fans, and this year they came from all over the world - England; Wales; Scotland; the Netherlands; Australia; America; and various other places. many have been before while for many others, this was their first Dusty Day (as it was mine). But that doesn’t really matter because in a very short space of time, you are made to feel very welcome and have the impression that you know these people well. That was certainly my experience.

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The Music

As well as the fans, there are those who were close to Dusty during her life; prime amongst these is Pat Rhodes, Dusty’s friend and secretary over many years. Pat is a firm favourite with everyone, and having met her, I now understand why.

Dusty Day 2008Also on this list is Simon Bell, Dusty’s friend and backing singer - he does a great deal of organising to make the day special, as it always is. And then there is Madeline Bell, another of Dusty’s friends and singers, who has the most amazing voice and the warmest personality. Simon, Madeline and Katy provided the music, singing quite a few songs from Dusty’s catalogue, and doing every single one of them justice. I had not heard Madeline sing before and I was astonished at how lovely her voice is. Jonathan provided excellent musical accompaniment on the keyboards, and as someone noted elsewhere, Jonathan was the orchestra.

The musical part of the day would, even by itself, have been worth every penny of the ticket price - quality sets like that don’t come along too often. It was a pleasure to watch and to listen and to be a part of it.

The Auction

The main reason for Dusty Day - apart from the obvious, of course - is to raise money for charity. The particular charity in this case is the Royal Marsden Hospital, where Dusty Springfield was treated for breast cancer prior to her death in 1999. As well as ticket sales, the big fund raiser is the Auction. Here, various items are donated and then sold to the highest bidder. The main item this year was a blue leather jacket, given to Dusty by the fans at the Silver Convention. This sold for £750. There was also a book of prints of Dusty, and a pair of her boots.

Also on sale was a print of Dusty, on which she herself had drawn a new eye make-up design. This was very much a one off and sold accordingly. Madeline Bell, one of Dusty’s singers, donated a Dusty dress (in which she sang ‘Spooky’. The dress was bought by Katy Setterfield, who looked stunning in it - and I couldn’t help noticing that it appeared to fit her perfectly.

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Katy Setterfield
At the start of the year, Katy Setterfield was chosen as the tribute act to ‘be’ Dusty Springfield in the BBC1 television show ‘The One And Only’. As the weeks went by, Katy became more and more like Dusty - not to outdo her, but to be a tribute to her music. She succeeded in that and she went on to win the show.

Katy appeared as special guest of honour at Dusty Day. She sang a set of Dusty songs and brought tears to more than a few eyes with the power of her voice and the passion with which she sings.

Pat RhodesDusty Day 2008Dusty fans from the Let’s Talk Dusty internet forum had decided we wanted to honour Katy by presenting her with a specially drawn portrait of her dressed as Dusty, as she appeared on Finals night. The drawing was done by LTD artist Wendy Hampson.

I was asked to make the presentation and was deeply honoured and delighted to do so. Katy accepted the portrait with great grace and then spoke about how she had worried about what kind of reception Dusty fans would give here - as if she needed to worry about that!

~Will O'Mailley