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Status Quo at Dreamland, Margate

Francis Rossi, lead singer of legendary rock quartet, Status Quo, speaks to insideKENT about headlining Margate’s Dreamland 56 years after te band first played the iconic stage. 


You first headlined Dreamland in 1968. What do you remember being a highlight from that gig?

Well it was quite a while ago wasn’t it, so recollections are a little hazy… We used to love the hotdogs and doughnuts, and of course having a ride on the rollercoaster, so we’d always be sure to turn up a little early. That was a really exciting time for the band and live performance has always been a massive part of what we do. Those were special days, no question.


After 56 years, it must be quite a trip down memory lane to be coming back to Dreamland. Does the combination of the English coast and the unique atmosphere of Dreamland’s stage in the amusement park give it a special quality?

I am all about the here and now, and the focus is always on making each show the very best it can be. That said, there is something special about Dreamland and the calibre of acts playing over this summer season shows that it is still a huge draw.


You have been smashing it for so long now – tell us about the appeal of playing live in front of your fans after all these years. Do you still get the same buzz from it?

It has always been about playing live for me. Many of the fans have been with us since day one – I have no doubt that there will be a couple of faces in the audience that were there in ’68! Much of the preparations, travel and logistics that surround any show are tedious, but everything builds up to that moment that we take the stage and feel that connection.

You’ve shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business. What’s been your most memorable gig to date?

I don’t look back; we have done things over the years that I am proud of, of course, and there are many stories that could be told – come and see my one-man show for some of those – but the most important show is always the one that we are about to play. It has to be that way, we owe each crowd that respect.


If you could share the Dreamland stage with any other artist – dead or alive – who would it be and why?

Playing a Quo show is not for the faint-hearted and it probably wouldn’t suit some of the artists I really respect. I grew up listening to and inspired by acts like The Everly Brothers, but I’m not sure that I would have wanted them to join us. When we come on, we want to be the very best and make it difficult for anyone else. Years ago, we used to do some shows with the likes of Slade where we would share the stage, but while it all looked like good fun, there was always more than an element of competition!


After achieving so much, tell us about the future – do you still plan to keep on Rocking All Over The World?

Well, that’s the thing with the future, it is always just around the corner, just over the horizon. I don’t know what is coming next – I am really looking forward to plugging in with the band this summer, it has been a while, but I also love the one-man show that I have been doing of late. Ask me again in a year’s time!


What’s your favourite Status Quo song? Why?

That’s not the kind of question that I could ever answer: people always duck it by saying it’s like choosing your favourite child! There are times, when playing live, that a particular track really lands and I love that feeling, but over so many years it is impossible to pick just one.


The response to your gig at Dreamland has been massive. What do you think it is about the Margate music scene that makes it so special?

Well, I guess the people of Margate are better placed to answer that than me. What I will say though is that the very fact that Status Quo are lucky enough to be coming back again, so long after that first show, and be playing in a venue that can still host a show like ours and draw in such an audience shows that something is going very right. Venues are precious; acts like Quo and all the other brilliant names that are coming to Dreamland this summer need places like this to thrive.


Dreamland Margate presents Status Quo live on the outdoor Scenic Stage, Thursday 15 August 2024; tickets from £35;


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