IT was 40 years ago to the day that a little-known singer called Freddie Mercury performed at Bolton’s first open-air rock concert.

Mercury went on to become a global superstar with Queen, which formed the following year.

But it was at the aptly named Queens Park that Freddie introduced himself to the town’s music fans.

On August 25, 1969, the glam-rock singer performed with another band, Ibex, in front of 500 enthusiastic teenagers.

The Swinging Sixties were coming to an end — but such was the reputation of these events, that the police were on high alert. In a report on the concert, the Bolton Evening News said drug squad detectives “mingled with teenagers” — happily, the report continued, “the event passed without incident”.

One Bolton guitarist will never forget the day he shared the stage with Mr Mercury.

Stan Smith, from Daubhill, has a photograph of himself playing at the event, as Freddie and the rest of his band look on.

The retired rocker, who was playing with his brother in their band, Gumboot Smith, said: “It is amazing to think he watched me play. No one knew he would become such a big star back then.

“Who knows? Maybe he even got the name Queen from playing at Queen’s Park!

“It was a great event. I have fond memories of it and I will always have the photographs to show people the time Freddie Mercury watched me play.”