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Waterloo waterfall.

Byline: By Chloe Griffiths

As the first flashes of pink neon and the opening notes of Waterloo flooded over the Northumberland fields last night, the heavens opened.

Undeterred, 1,600 visitors at Wallington Hall, Northumberland, for the annual open-air concert, lifted their umbrellas and danced.

The crowds poured in to the National Trust property last night to enjoy the 11th annual shindig and dance the night away to Abba tribute-band Bjorn Again.

They arrived armed with picnics, tables, table cloths, wine and even the odd candlestick.

But they also took warm coats and giant umbrellas and, while the sandwiches remained dry for the warm-up ( local musician and comedian Brendan Healey ( the main feature prompted a downpour. It could not put the visitors off.

Al fresco eating was abandoned and the audience got to their feet, many resplendent in 70s wigs, lycra and flashing lights.

Within minutes everyone was being encouraged to sing along and few stopped until the last number was over.

The show ended with a spectacular fireworks show, which lit up the Northumberland countryside and Wallington Hall.

Despite the ill-timed weather, everyone left with a smile, many still humming the tunes out loud.

Rachel Noble, 33, of Sycamore Grove, Prudhoe, had come with her two daughters Lucy, seven, and Katie, nine. Rachel said: "We've had a great time. The weather didn't put us off as we came prepared with umbrellas, coats and pink wigs.

"The girls know every word and were singing and dancing along."

Abba fan Isabel Nixon, 56, of Dene Grove, Prudhoe, was getting into the spirit of the evening with flashing head-lights.

She said: "I've had a wonderful time. It's been absolutely brilliant. It's a lovely set-up and the weather doesn't matter because it's all about being outside and expecting every eventuality."

For Joyce Salkeld, 77, of Chapel Place, Seaton Burn, the Wallington shindig is a regular outing.

"It's my third year coming and it's very good indeed," she said.

"We're very hardy."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 27, 2005
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