Dancers, rockers and family fun at the Midsummer Musicfest

Diana Plumer and Chris Wolferstan. Picture by Merry Michau Photography
Diana Plumer and Chris Wolferstan. Picture by Merry Michau Photography

Acts from across Sussex are lining up to play the Midsummer Musicfest in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice this year.

This summer’s event will take place on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21, in the grounds of The Jolly Tanners, Staplefield Green, with the action kicking off at 1pm on both days.

The Ramzy Dance Company

The Ramzy Dance Company

Bluesman Dave Beckett plays the Saturday evening slot, followed by a belly dancing performance by the Ramzy Dance Company.

Music co-ordinator and founder of the event Will Lewis said: “It started off last summer as a group of musicians wanting to get together and play for the charity. As a result of that success, we have now added a bouncy castle, circus skills family fun zone and some dancers.

“The dancing is supplied by the Ramzy Dance Company, a nationally-acclaimed belly dance troupe. Led by Serena Ramzy, the dancers specialise in all forms of belly dance; traditional, Egyption folklore and world fusion.”

Will continued: “As well as last year’s outside acoustic stage, in what we hope will be sizzling weather once more, we were keen to add some electric content too. We were looking for a young band that might fit the image of a family festival, and Sweet Revenge came up with what we think will be the perfect match.

“Yes, in keeping with this philosophy, Midsummer Music fest in 2015 will be rounded up on Sunday evening by an electric set from a young band of 16-year-olds called Sweet Revenge. Although based in Surrey, Freddie Wortley (vocals), Max Thilo (guitar), Cam Stocks (bass) and Josiah Kirpalani (drums) have made Sussex their second home, regularly playing numerous summer concerts and jubilee fairs.”

Will said: “The four lads play their own material of distinct rock but also add in well-known covers. They say they have influences from the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Temperance Movement and The Strypes.

“The Rolling Stones? At a family festival like Midsummer Musicfest perhaps it’s good to give the mums and dads something to recognise too. Wise heads on young shoulders indeed!”

Will continued: “This year we have selected a wide variety of artists to play the acoustic stage and even have a new instrument in the frame, the Appalachian dulcimer. The particular Appalachian dulcimer in mind will be played by a stalwart from the local folk scene, Cathy Barclay.

“Sunday afternoon at Musicfest will see her combine with Henfield’s John Gregory. Together they will be playing some laid-back folk and country music, perfectly in keeping with that lazy Sunday afternoon feeling. They will be followed in both locality and diversity by Henfield’s Diana Plumer and finger-picking guitarist Chris Wolferstan. Di and Chris play and sing Americana and Doc Watson ragtime standards.”

“With its lovely grounds, central location, tradition of keeping live music alive in Sussex with regular bands on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights and a thriving open mic on a Tuesday night, the Jolly Tanners was obviously the ideal location for this year’s Midsummer Musicfest. We are grateful to landlord Chris Brazier for hosting.

“Although we have been keen to keep Musicfest free entry once more, we are still looking to make a lot of money for St Catherine’s Hospice again this year.”

Find out more about St Catherine’s Hospice here.

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