In the 1990s, an indie band from Morecambe was on the brink of the big time.
The Ice Factory rose to prominence throughout the North West, toured the country, performed on television, supported big names like Blur and The Charlatans, rubbed shoulders with the great and the good at showbiz parties and even The Brit Awards, and seemed on the verge of a major record deal.
But then just as all the band’s dreams were about to come true, they all fell apart as the members went their separate ways.
Now almost 30 years later, The Ice Factory is back.
The band will perform together for the first time since the 1990s on the Main Stage at Morecambe Carnival on Sunday August 11.
It will be a remarkable comeback for The Ice Factory, a band originally put together by David Lewis from the famous Morecambe ice cream-making family and so-named because they rehearsed at Lewis’s ice cream factory on White Lund.
Most of the original members are expected to reunite for the gig including songwriter and guitarist David Lewis, singer Mark McKenna, keyboard player Geoff Dixon, drummer Neil Thompson and bass player Justin Craddock, who will be flying in from his home in San Diego. It is also hoped that David’s brother John, who played guitar in the band, will join the reunion.
Morecambe guitarist Ryan Wallace, formerly of The Heartbreaks, is also scheduled to appear with them on the day.
Speaking on Beyond Radio, Mark McKenna explained how the band got back together.
“We started talking about it last year,” he said.
“I went to visit Justin in America and the first thing he did when I walked into his house was give me an Ice Factory CD. It developed from there. We set up a thread on Facebook where we all talked.”
Geoff Dixon also spoke about why the band split up.
“Everything happened so quickly.”
“We’d all been working towards this big moment of getting a record deal. We’d been doing live shows and recordings, building up a fan base, touring, and I think we were all tired. As a band we came to a point where it just stopped working, so close to us achieving everything we’d ever chased.”
Mark said: “When the big deal came we weren’t in the right position to capitalise. We all had day jobs which were suffering a bit, something had to give. It’s with regret now, that the wrong thing gave.”
“My vision for the gig at the carnival is to bury all the demons, do it one more time and have a blast with all our friends. It’s now or never. The Main Stage at the carnival is a great setting, with great sound, so there is no better environment for us to do it.”
The Ice Factory will look to recapture the heady days of the 90s when their mellow sound and catchy tunes including the band’s signature track ‘Jerusalem’ earned them a huge following.
“There are some good songs, that’s what got us known and got interest in the first place,” said Geoff.
“The Ice Factory fans were so loyal to us, especially the local ones, and this is our way to say thank you.”
You can catch The Ice Factory’s comeback on the Main Stage at Morecambe Carnival on Sunday August 11.
Also appearing at the Carnival – which takes place over two day on August 10 and 11 – are Toyah, S Club 3, The Christians, The Hara, Charlotte Lily, Lord and the Woolf, Danny Dearden, Lloyd Daniels, Amber Suns, Sold to the Sky, Stuart Michaels, Melanie Horabin, Betamax, 3 and a Half Men and The Dreamers.
Greg Lambert for the Morecambe Carnival