UB40 feat. Ali Campbell

Great Britain

UB40 feat. Ali Campbell is THE UB40 ORIGINAL and one of the top acts at the 9th blacksheep Festival – Live in Bonfeld Castle Park. You know the big hits the band had in the 1980s: “Red Red Wine”, “I got you Babe”, “Can’t help falling in Love” or, of course, “Kingston Town”.

How chilled is that? A warm early summer night, lovely people around, live music at the highest level, dancing. In the UK, the band is captivating more and more young people with their music. With Ali Campbell as THE voice of UB40 – and as the band’s frontman. A reflection of the Birmingham band’s original goals, Ali builds on a legacy that stretches back over four decades to the group’s founding days. And there is still something new happening: The album, “A real Labor of Love” narrowly missed the top spot in the British charts in 2018.

UB40 feat. Ali Campbell is Topact at the 9th blacksheep Festival on Friday, 21st June 2024


Ali Campbell can still remember the first time he met Astro, a musician who would have a profound impact on him as a lifelong friend and bandmate. It was in Birmingham in the late 1970s, when the pair were in their teens and Astro was part of a crew of black skinheads who roamed the local neighbourhood in sheepskin coats, leaving Ali slightly in awe.


Astro, born Terence Wilson, got his nickname on account of his fondness for Dr. Martens boots emblazoned with the brand name Astronaut. When he joined up with singer and guitarist Campbell a few years later in the fledgling UB40, supplying additional vocals and playing trumpet and percussion, he added the final piece to a musical jigsaw that went on to conquer the charts and put British reggae on the world map. And now, as Ali gears up for a new UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell & Astro album, the superb “Unprecedented”, he is having to come to terms with the sudden loss of a musician who had been by his side, with just a six-year hiatus, for his entire career.

Astro passed away in November 2021 after a short illness, and “Unprecedented”, fueled by the roots rocking spirit that powered UB40’s original incarnation, is an album to inject a little reggae sunshine into even the darkest days. It’s also a fitting memorial to Astro. “Astro’s death came as such a shock, and I’m still reeling from it,” says Ali. “This album is now more poignant and special than either of us could have imagined when we were recording it. Astro heartbreakingly passed just two weeks after we’d finished the final mixes, so this is a way of keeping his memory alive.”

Behind tbe Scenes: “It has continually come to our attention that Ali’s former band members and their current management are hell-bent on trying to stop UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell from performing shows globally including Ali’s forthcoming show in UGANDA.”

Ali and Astro augment one another magnificently on “Unprecedented” – just as they did four decades ago on UB40’s version of ‘Red Red Wine’, a chart-topping single illuminated by Ali’s honeyed, melodic tones and Astro’s memorable “red red wine in a modern beat style” toast. On the new album, Astro comes to the fore on the single Sufferer.

A reggae standard originally by The Kingstonians, it would have graced any of UB40’s acclaimed “Labour of Love”- albums. His sing-jay-style of MC-ing is also prominent on the title track, on which he takes the government to task over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, labelling them ‘headless chickens’.

What we’ll experience in Bonfeld is nothing less than an important piece of music history. With the combo UB40 feat. Ali Campbell, a real legend comes to us. As always, tickets are available at www.reservix.de.


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