Easter festival to strike a high note for charity

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ACOUSTIC artists and party bands will take the stage at a music festival to raise money for children’s cancer charities.

The Big Weekend festival at the RMA Tavern features 27 music acts with profits to go to Naomi House and Jacksplace, which are hospices for children and young adults.

Festival organiser Nick Courtney said the festival, now in its third year, would have a fun, family feel.

Mr Courtney said: ‘We’re concentrating on brilliant bands and performers while creating a party atmosphere.

‘It will be laid-back throughout most of the day with some brilliant acoustic performances.’

Performers will include London band Sykes, internet sensation Kelvin Jones and last year’s winner of The News’ Singer and the Song competition Jerry Williams.

Mr Courtney said children at the hospices had also helped shape the festival.

‘We asked them to choose their favourite songs and we put together a list for the performers.

‘They’ll be able to play them at the festival and read the dedications, and we’re going to broadcast that online as well so the kids can watch it in bed, or anywhere in the country.

The first Big Weekend festival in 2012 raised money for male cancer charity Orchid and last year’s event supported breast cancer care.

Mr Courtney said the idea for this year’s festival came from a friend Sammie Roden who suggested doing a fundraiser for the children’s charities.

He said: ‘My mother-in-law had cancer, my wife’s close friend had it and the bloke in our shop had it. There’s so much cancer around so we decided to raise money through the music festival.’

The event will feature a ‘rock ‘n’ roll raffle’ and an auction with prizes such as a football shirt, locked in a safe since the 1960s, which was signed and worn by Manchester United legend George Best.