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IT’S a popular community event that raises thousands of pounds for charity every year.

Now Drakefest music festival is back – and organisers say it will be the biggest one yet.

The event, which is in its sixth year, will take place at The Admiral Drake, in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth, from Friday, July 5, to Sunday, July 7.

In total, 20 bands will play on indoor and outdoor stages and a pipe band will perform among the crowds.

There will be fire breathing, hula hoopers, belly dancers and a bouncy castle and face painting for children.

It began in 2007 after popular pub regular Mandy Sharpe-Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before. She died in December 2009.

Altogether the event has raised more than £60,000 for Breast Cancer Care and other worthy causes.

This year money will also be given for the first time to Southampton General Hospital’s Adult Cystic Fibrosis Ward, Queen Alexandra Hospital and Cure Rett, which helps to find a cure for Rett Syndrome.

Stuart Pryde, who has been on the Drakefest committee for two years, said: ‘Mandy was a close friend and a lot of other people at the pub are close friends of mine.

‘She touched a lot of people’s hearts.

‘We do an awful lot for charity over those three days.

‘We raised more than £16,000 last year.’

Landlady Karen Hughes, 44, who runs the pub with her husband Simon, 45, said: ‘It’s a family event that’s got quite big. This is the biggest event yet because we’ve got bands playing that suit a whole range of tastes. It’s not just rock music.

‘I am gobsmacked by the amount of the money we’ve raised, especially because we live in difficult times.

‘The community and the people who support the event are amazing.

‘A lot of hard work goes into planning this.

‘Though we’re shattered by the end of the weekend, it’s all worth it.

‘It will keep on growing and growing.’

Simon said: ‘Everyone gives their time for free and all the bands play for nothing.’

Doors on Friday open at 7.30pm.

Entry for the weekend costs £6. Tickets for Friday cost £2 or the price is £3 if you want to go either on Saturday or Sunday.