LEGENDARY guitarist Wilko Johnson will play a momentous farewell gig at Wickham Festival, as he battles terminal cancer.
The 65-year-old co-founder of Dr Feelgood will play at the event next month. He has extended his farewell tour after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. But instead of feeling sorry for himself, or enduring months of debilitating treatment, he did what he does best and hit the road. Doctors gave him six months to live and that time is up.
Wilko said: ‘It seems that I’m still being spared the final onslaught of my terminal cancer. As the memory of the Farewell Tour recedes I’m feeling again the desire to get up on stage and do my thing while health allows – so it is that I have decided to make some festival appearances during the summer including Wickham on Sunday, August 4.’
Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn said: ‘It’s going to be a very emotional evening. Wilko is one of the great guitarists who has influenced many of today’s top performers with his machine-gun sound and this will be a very special occasion.
‘After the split with Dr Feelgood, he played for a few years with Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Ian sadly passed away but the Blockheads are on the same bill as Wilko so I am sure it will be a very emotional reunion.
‘He’s received a fantastic reaction on this farewell tour and that has literally kept him going. We are absolutely thrilled to have him on the bill.’
Wilko shares the Sunday stage with Rolf Harris and the Peatbog Faeries.
This year’s event runs from August 1 until 4 and features 10cc, Dexys and The South (formerly the Beautiful South), The Waterboys, Show of Hands and Seth Lakeman.
Mr Chegwyn added: ‘Last year was a huge success with not a single crime or complaint, reflecting the fun, family atmosphere we try to promote.
‘The weather is helping sales, along with the strong line-up. And with Wilko making what is almost certainly his last appearance in the area, we are expecting a big crowd.’
Buy tickets at wickhamfestival.co.uk