AFTER ticket sales opened last month for Fatboy Slim’s concert in July, audience members have shared vivid memories of the night and the days after his famous gig on the beach in 2002.

Fatboy, AKA Norman Cook, is to headline the On the Beach festival in Brighton on Friday, July 22.

His performance will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Big Beach Boutique concert, described as the “biggest event Sussex has ever seen”.

And readers have shared their fond memories of going to the event.

From Yvonne Richard’s son who was only 10 months old and bounced on his parent’s shoulders, to Gary and Helene from Hove who went along to their first gig as a couple and are now celebrating their own 20 year anniversary.

Heather Summerscales loved the gig so much she sent Fatboy, who lives in Hove, a cheque to help with the clean-up.

More than 250,000 concert goers gathered on Brighton Beach on July 13, 2002, for Fatboy’s Beach Boutique 2.

Some people who lived right by the beach were not even aware that the event was happening until they saw the crowds for themselves. Toby Pierce lived in First Avenue in Hove and had not planned on being in the middle of a huge event:

“We went for an evening walk on the beach along the waterline and found ourselves 20 metres from the stage,” he said. “I was stone cold sober (for a change) but wow, what a night.”

Gary Green was a bus driver aged 39 at the time. He lived near Hove Town Hall and he had had recently met his girlfriend Helene Flygare from Sweden and they both enjoyed going to the Fat Boy gig on the beach.

He said: “We walked in the sea, to avoid the police stopping us from getting to the beach where the main gig took place. Luckily it was low tide and we walked along the bottom of Fourth Avenue, to the actual beach, before wading onto the shore. The police didn’t fancy getting wet. Great night.

“The music was mental. You could almost feel the whole beach moving to the beats, as the thousands upon thousands of feet were jumping and dancing. Norman did a cracking set.”

Now 20 years on, Gary and Helene are still very much in love and live together in Hove and are hoping to get tickets for their anniversary.

Yvonne Richards from Hove came along with her husband as well as their 10 month old son to see the show.

“He was passed between me and his dad’s shoulders,” she said. “We stayed a few hours I guess. He didn’t need occupying – he was loving the music.”

In memory of her toddler’s first ever concert, Yvonne made him a birthday card featuring a photo of him taken on that evening with “Rave on” written on it.

“He can’t remember any of it obviously, but thinks it was pretty cool to have been there.”

Dominic Asirati from Hastings, was wowed by the experience:

“I’ll never forget walking down to the beach and seeing the largest crowd I’d ever seen. It was totally surreal,” he said.

“ I remember how rammed the beach was, lots of treading on toes but there was a great party atmosphere. As the day progressed the tide came in, squashing the crowd even more. I remember feeling a bit claustrophobic not being able to find a way out.”

People struggled to get home afterwards.

Dominic added:”My mates and I got to catch the last train home but the police had closed the entrance to the station due to safety concerns. We jumped the fence around the back of the station and managed to get seats on the train back to Hastings.”

Bob Saunders was frustrated by the traffic congestion: “It took me over two hours to get from the clock tower to the King and Queen pub and then another forty five minutes to get to Patcham.”

The day after, there were many complaints about the event, mainly focussing on the huge clean up required which cost an estimated £300,000, which Norman Cook helped to pay towards .

Les Franchi remembers looking after her 99 year old mother and being disgusted by the litter the day after “I saw all the mess, filth and stink that was left on the beach and on Grand Parade.”

Heather Summerscales lived in Woodingdean and worked for P&O cruises back in 2002. She and was a fan of Fatboy Slim and loved the whole whole beach experience.

She said: “We sent a cheque to him after the gig, thanking him for an amazing night. He was getting so much stick about the rubbish, we felt that we needed to contribute in some small way. He sent us back a thank you card and didn’t bank the cheque” She continues to be a huge Fatboy fan, seeing his gig in New Zealand, where she now lives, in 2019.