When the UK first when into lockdown, the thing Dougie Poynter was most down about was not being able to tour and perform.

The McFly bassist, who is a former Corringham Primary School pupil, had been ramping up for 2020 to be a year packed full of gigs.

Instead, he found himself playing a lot of video games.

Which probably explains why the 33-year-old cannot wait to headline a one-day summer festival in Southend – In The Park on Saturday, July 31.

He said: “I honestly can’t quite believe it’s actually happening.

“Way back in the summer of 2019, we knew that 2020 was going to be a full-on year of touring and we couldn’t wait.

Echo: McFly

“You start mentally preparing. You start getting yourself into this frame of mind that it’s happening and then when it didn’t… I think at first that was the biggest downer. And that was when we thought it was just going to be like ten weeks or something. Ten weeks to flatten the curve!

“Honestly, I can’t wait. I’m so buzzed to play shows again.

“It’s going to be one of the first gigs. And put it this way… I went to the cinema the other day and I lost me sh*t!

“So I can only imagine, that playing a gig I’m going to be generating enough energy to get us to Mars.”

Dougie and his fellow McFly bandmates of Tom Fletcher, Danny Jones and Harry Judd will be supported by Scouting for Girls, Stereo MC’s, Eliza and the Bear, Lauran Hibberd, Noahfinnce, Ruti and The New Twentys at the Garon Park gig.

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In The Park was originally planned for September 2020 but was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Organisers have worked closely with local authorities and followed government guidelines to ensure the event is a safe space.

After all the delays and the enforced hiatus from being on stage, is he feeling more nervous?

“No. It’s pure, pure excitement.

“We love the studio, that’s one of the best things, but the whole point of going to the studio is so as you can make songs to go and play live. It’s always in the back of our minds, like what is this going to be like live? It’s all about live shows. So, it’s just pure excitement.”

How were the lockdowns for him personally?

“I think I was your pretty kind of average human through it.

“I just kind of plodded along like everyone else and found ways of coping. I played a lot video games. A LOT of video games.

“I don’t bake and I don’t drink, but, yeh, video games…

“And well. We built a studio in lockdown actually!

“I kind of forget that was all inspired by lockdown.

“It was when they were first opening things up in cohorts and bubbles and stuff and we were all looking for a permanent place to rehearse and we kind of got lucky.

“We found a place that was big enough that it could also be our storage unit and a studio and a rehearsal room and kind of like a hub.

“At the beginning we did Zoom a lot. We finished an album on Zoom with our producer. But then we bought the studio. So, we built a lot of furniture!”

What can we expect from the lads at In The Park?

“We never don’t play any of the hits. They’re our aces. When you feel like you’re losing the crowd, you’re like sh*t, thank God All About You is coming up! Our shows are never what people are expecting. But there’s definitely a lot of energy and four nerds jumping around on stage.”

Go to www.weekendinthepark.com for more details.