The final preparations are well underway for SAMFEST, a new family music festival taking place in April 2023, planned to raise money for and awareness of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Bands taking part include Glastonbury-based Nick Parker and The False Alarms, fresh from supporting The Levellers on their European tour, BBC 6 Music favourites The Hawkmen, and musical comedy from Gavin Osborn and The Comment Section. Other acts confirmed include local singer songwriters Nigel G Lowndes, Martyn Plant, Tom Youdan and the upcoming Flo Parker Bombosch, singers Faz Farrell and Keith Horler, new bands Jackson Lamb and Brighton-based rock band Bareface, plus musical theatre performances from Merriman Theatre Group, student performers from Norton Hill School and DJing through the day from DJ Jazzmagnum. The event, originally announced as being at Somervale School, will take place at The Egg Theatre, Bath on Saturday, 15th April from 12.30pm – 7.30pm.
Alongside the music, which will take place on the Main Stage and in the downstairs acoustic café, there will be family entertainment including Disney Princesses, ukulele workshops, storytelling and facepainting. A charity raffle supported by the James Dyson Foundation offers prizes ranging from Camp Bestival tickets to a new Dyson cordless vacuum, an afternoon tea at the Royal Crescent Hotel, the escape room at Bath’s House of Frankenstein and VIP tickets to The Lion King at the Bristol Hippodrome!
SAMFEST is the brainchild of local theatre director and musician Graeme Savage, and is being produced to support his friend Sam Hayden-Harler who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in early 2022 at the young age of 35.
Sam has just passed the first anniversary of his diagnosis, a significant date given that MND kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis and half within two years. Graeme says: “Throughout the last year, Sam has been incredible with his positive attitude to raising awareness of MND and what it is like to live and cope with the disease. SAMFEST is our way of celebrating this incredible outlook and trying to raise awareness of the work of the MNDA. The offers of support we have received since first talking about Samfest last summer have been overwhelming, from the bands themselves to the venue, the offers of prizes and help on the day, even offers to advertise and print flyers for us – everyone has been really keen to help in whatever way they can, and that’s the legacy we want to share through the fetival. It’s a celebration of positive attitude and looking after each other”
MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease which affects the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the nerves that control movement and eventually leaves people unable to move, communicate or breathe. It kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis and half within two years. There is no cure.
SAMFEST is at The Egg Theatre in Bath on Saturday, 15th April, featuring a whole day of live music and family entertainment. All money raised from ticket sales and other activities during the day will go to the MND Association.
The MND Association is the only national charity in England, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on improving access to care, research and campaigning for those people living with or affected by MND.
Sam himself has been fundraising for the MND Association since he first learned of his diagnosis, with a spectacular charity gala in his hometown of Swanley in August 2022 raising £12,000 in a single evening, and another planned for later this Summer.
Tickets can be booked at www.ticketsource.co.uk/merrimantheatre. All proceeds from the day will be going to the MND Association. A JustGiving page has also been set up for anyone who can’t get to SAMFEST but has been inspired to support the MND Association.
For more information about MND and the MND Association please visit www.mndassociation.org