IT is not every day that you get to perform alongside a band that helped define the Manchester music scene.

But that will be all in a day’s work for Warrington bands The Ambersons and In Blue Skies.

They have been handpicked by organisers of Warrington Music Festival to support the Happy Mondays on Friday night.

Rich Dowling, who plays keyboards for The Ambersons, said: “It’s a massive draw to get the Happy Mondays.

“I’m impressed with the organisers. It’s a bit of a coup really.

“It gives us a chance to better ourselves as with such a well known band performing we’ll have to raise our game.

“We aim to be as good as them, if not better. We’ve got a brass band for the gig so we’re doing things a lot bigger this time.”

Guitarist Ben Ashton added: “Everybody liked Happy Mondays when we were growing up. It was one of those bands in your formative years that everyone listened to.

“It got to the point where they didn’t have fans but devotees.”

Festival organiser Steve Oates told the bands that he had a ‘big opportunity’ for them but was tight lipped about the headline act until it was officially announced.

The Ambersons and In Blue Skies will now be playing to a crowd of around 2,000 alongside the band that Paul McCartney compared to the Beatles in their 'Strawberry Fields' days.

“At first I was a bit overwhelmed,” said In Blues Skies drummer Sam Fox.

“Then I saw our name on the music festival poster and it began to sink in.

“This will probably be the biggest festival they’ve done and it means so much more to be playing to a lot more people, reaching a wider audience and with Happy Mondays playing after us.

“We’re all very excited. If we can meet them it will be fantastic.”

It is another big Warrington Music Festival year for The Ambersons after headlining the event in 2012.

Rich, aged 25, from Penketh, added: “It was great to invite friends and family to that. They thought we were the next Beatles or Wings!

“There’s a lot more talent coming out of Warrington now. There was a time when it was two, three or four bands with nowhere to gig.

“Now we’ve got bands from outside the area that want to perform here and we’d like to thank people like Steve Oates and Lee Harman for creating a buzz around the music.”

After releasing their first EP at Christmas, the festival comes just before the launch of The Ambersons’ new single The Housecat on Monday.

The festival will give In Blue Skies another chance to shine alongside a prominent band after previously supporting Scouting For Girls at Lincolnshire Showground in September 2011.

Sam, aged 21, from Great Sankey, said: “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity. I’ve been playing music in various different bands for years and it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed.

“But the festival champions Warrington bands and it’s only going to get bigger.”