The Grand National Festival in Aintree, Liverpool, is most famous for its showpiece horse race that takes place on the Saturday afternoon each year.
However, in recent years, the event has also become a venue for some top live music. During the course of the three-day festival there is line-up of entertainment including music from top DJs and world famous singers and bands.
The first musical performances can be enjoyed on the Grand Opening Day, while Ladies Day also features a star-studded bill of musical talent. This year, guests can enjoy the music of artists such as T'Pau and Gabrielle who will join a star-studded list of past performers.
In 2017, the festival was licked off on Thursday evening by local rock band The Lightning Seeds, who thrilled punters in the Aintree Pavilion with hits such as 'Luck you,' 'Change' and 'Life of Riley', while singer/songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor was top of the bill for Ladies day. Back in 2016, Toploader, The Feeling and Escala all graced the stage during the festival, while former Westlife singer Brian McFadden took to the decks to perform a DJ set on the opening evening.
The unusual mix of music and horse racing is not a new phenomenon as the organisers have been hosting after-race parties for many years. But it is only recently that top names from the music world have been attracted to play at these gatherings.
Such has been the success of these evenings that music and racing events are now be held at Aintree at other times of the year. In May 2018, the Brit-award winning band the Kaiser Chiefs will be the performing and this will be followed in June by summer shows featuring Craig David and Grammy winner Jess Glynne.
Of course, the Grand National is most famous for the 4 miles 514 yards horse race in which entries must navigate their way around two laps of the track hurdling 30 fences in the process. The event is one of the most valuable of its kind in the world and has also become a part of British culture. In fact, many people that do not normally bet or even watch horse racing for the rest of the year, have a wager on the 'National' prompting some bookies to offer enhanced Grand National promotional deals during this time.
With so much money now involved, and customers flocking from all over the world, it is no wonder that the event has up-scaled its entertainment packages. And the signs are that this is set to continue.
This trend is also common in other sports, particularly in hospitality areas where famous musical artists are paid handsomely to entertain corporate guests. And of course, there are events such as the Superbowl, which marks the finale of the American Football season, where only the biggest global artists are invited to play at the famous half-time show.
Only time will tell, if Aintree's musical performances will become televised as part of the broadcasters coverage but it would not be a surprise to see this in the future. The Grand National certainly has come a long way from the days when it was all about sticking a pin on a list of 'gee-gees' and having a 'flutter.'
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