Standing in front of a crowd of 10,000 strong showcase artists such as S Club 7, Steps and UB40 was inevitable James Dean’s upbringing in Derbyshire. The 37-year-old grew up on a council estate in Midway but now finds himself working on major gigs.

And James said he sometimes has to ‘hold himself’ in the face of the success he’s achieved in just a few years since starting his own event management company. James says he was a ‘rebel’ when he left school without any qualifications, but now he’s in charge of booking gigs for nostalgic artists.

James, who attended Granville Academy, in Burton Road, Woodville, and admitted he was unfit and didn’t like being told what to do by teachers, reports StaffordshireLive. As a result, he left school with only a passion for music.

Read more: Derbyshire Peak County’s top attractions in spring and summer

In particular, his love of DJing led to him running school discos and local Boy Scout huts. Even then he knew he wanted to go further and realized that ultimately he needed to get those qualifications.

He said: “I left school like a rebel. I had a short attention span and I was color blind. I didn’t really fit in. I wasn’t the best kid and I didn’t want to conform. by being told what to do by teachers.

James Dean took a selfie on stage in front of a roaring crowd.

“I’ve been a DJ all my life and music is in my veins. I’ve thrown parties at the Boy Scouts huts and school discos and seen people happy by the what i created.

“After school I quickly realized that you have to study. My mother saved money and I went to university in London for a degree in events management and that got me into Loughborough University for a degree in management. festival and hotel management.

“When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. There is a fire in me that drives me.”

The father of one founded James Dean Events 10 years ago, which now hosts music nostalgia festivals across the UK, including in his home region of South Derbyshire. He now runs an event ticketing company, a fast food business and recently moved into the restaurant business with the launch of Ice and Slice, off West Street, in Swadlincote. In addition, through his festivals, he has also raised thousands of pounds for charities.

He says his success started with the lucrative festivals when he organized a sausage and cider festival in Swadlincote with countless tributes in 2012. This special event has now evolved into a must-attend festival welcoming thousands of people over the age of four. night and is now held at Catton Park.

James Dean with Fun House host Pat Sharp (right), who is now a DJ at the festival.
James Dean with Fun House host Pat Sharp (right), who is now a DJ at the festival.

This year, it features top artists like the Bootleg Beatles. James is proud to say that one of the biggest acts of tribute in the world, the Bootleg Beatles, will be in the spotlight this summer from June 23 to June 26.

After the initial success of the hot dog and cider festival, James has developed the Back Festival 2 which begins operations in Catton Park and will return this year from June 30 to July 3. features top acts Steps, S Club Party, Vengaboy, UB40 starring Ali Campbell, Scouting for Girls, Fatman Scoop as well as Pat Sharp from Children’s TV Deck Fun House. In previous years, Tony Hadley and Chesney Hawkes of Spandau Ballet, famous for The One and Only, have also taken the stage, as has Heather Small of M People and ’90s boy bands 5ive, 911 and Damage.

James said: “The global companies that have these artists have seen what we’re doing and the events that we host and we have the largest social media following of any festival. nostalgia, with 500,000 people. We have that personal touch and that helped us get these artists for our reputation.

“I’m completely self-indulgent. We were eight weeks away from Back 2 and I caught a butterfly. I started the sausage and cider festival 8 years ago at ‘Swad park.’ Day today it’s super affordable.On Friday £15 you can watch Bootleg Beatles We have the biggest line-up of the year [Whitney Houston tribute act] Belinda Davis, Bootleg Beatles, [The Prodigy tribute] Jilted Generation, Fleetwood Back and has activities for kids. “

James describes the sausage and cider festival as his ‘jewel in the crown’ for the local community, but it was the Back 2 Festivals around the UK that took the country by storm, with James revealed tickets were sold globally. The festival world has been hit hard during the pandemic and James Dean Events is no exception but canny James has managed to put his festival equipment to good use while all events are canceled according to Government guidance by helping the Covid vaccination program.

In April 2020, his company donated its equipment and resources to be used to create the NHS emergency center in the parking lot at Swadlincote bus station. It has become an assessment center and referred patients so that clinical decisions can be made about appropriate treatment advice for people with Covid symptoms.

Despite his busy schedule, James still makes time to go to schools, colleges and universities to chat and impart advice and tips to young people, which he really wants to do.

He said: “I talk about determination and never giving up, giving kids confidence if they can’t find a foothold in school. There are still so many options and I am living proof. Yes too much pressure on children today”.

“I say never give up and don’t let past experiences dictate what you can do. As long as you’re determined.”

And what do his former teachers think of him now? “My mom actually took my old teachers to festivals and they were so proud,” he said.

Tickets are still on sale for both hot dogs and cider and Back to Back Festival 2 at Catton Park. As well as the title activities in Back 2, there will also be dance tents with sets by Garage Nation, Clubland, Basshunter, N-Trance, Ultrabeat, Oxide and Neutrino, and Artful Dodger.

James concluded, “Now standing on stage with 10,000 people in front of me – there’s no better feeling in the world.”

You can find more information about the Back 2 Festival from 30 June to 3 July by visiting and the sausage and cider festival by visiting https ://


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here