Westlife star hails Louis Walsh ‘huge part of their story’ on his 70th birthday

Westlife star Mark Feehily has hailed Louis Walsh on his 70th birthday as a “huge part of their story” ahead of their first Wembley Stadium performance.

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning on Friday, the Irish boyband wished the music manager a happy birthday and recalled his influence on the group as they prepared for their sold-out gig at the London venue on Saturday as part of their Wild Dreams Tour.

Feehily said: “The way that Louis sort of plucked us and put us into the music industry and put us on the map, this gig, this weekend, for me, Louis is a huge part of our story.

Shooting Star Ball
Louis Walsh (Matt Crossick/PA)

“Between us and him being here, we think back to the band starting in high school.

“It is very much a milestone event in our career.”

Feehily along with Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan and Brian McFadden found fame with Westlife but they disbanded in 2012 after 14 years of success.

The group reunited in 2018 but without McFadden who departed the band in 2004.

Feehily admitted that securing this concert nearly 25 years into their music careers had slightly “blown our minds a little bit”.

He added: “I think playing concerts like this in Wembley Stadium is something that we’ve dreamed of since we were little boys and to actually be here now, I think for us it just means so much, nearly 25 years into our career to be playing to a sold-out Wembley Stadium.”

Filan agreed that finally playing Wembley was a “massive achievement” for the group, saying: “We’ve played stadiums all over the world but Wembley Stadium is probably the most famous stadium in the world.

“And I suppose once you play the stadium you’re in a very elite list of people that are lucky enough to play it and I obviously think of bands like Queen and people like that.

“It’s pretty incredible and we’re very proud of it.

“It’s a massive achievement for us.”

The highly-anticipated concert will also be broadcast live in cinemas across the UK.