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Staffs Fest back for 2019

By Leigh Sanders | Staffordshire entertainment | Published:

Birmingham reggae group KIOKO have been named as one of the headliners for this year's Staffs Fest.

Revellers enjoy the festival in 2017

The former The Ticket Unsigned stars from 2017 are currently on tour with their home city's kings of that genre UB40, and will be top of the bill in the newly added third marquee at the festival site for 2019.

Staffs Fest is held at the working Lower Drayton Farm in Penkridge, and this year will take place between May 24 and 26.

It is brought together by the Stafford-based LR Partnership. Having started as a one-stage festival for the first three years after its inception in 2015, last year they added na second marquee, and have added a third for 2019.

This year the main stage caters for rock, blues, Britpop, glam rock, folk and soul lovers. The second will house 23 Northern Soul DJs spinning their vinyl. And the third marquee will host the Reggae Rockz 2019 production by Basil Gabbidon - one of the founder members of Steel Pulse - as well as KIOKO, other reggae artists and Ska, jazz, funk and 2Tone acts.

The main marquee opens on the Friday at 6pm to kick things off. And across the weekend over the three stages music lovers can enjoy local and national acts such as Pig Man and the Rubber Band, Slyder, Greg Murray & The Seven Wonders, Juniper Wolf, The Gabbidon Band and DJ Daz McQueen.

On top of this, each year the festival stages the final rounds of the Star in Staffs talent competition. It is organised to promote and support young musicians under the age of 18 within the Midlands area.

This year it will be in association with Slater’s bar in Stafford. Heats will take place at the bar on Gaolgate Street on April 28 and May 5 to select finalists. They will win the chance to play live at the festival and the winner will be picked by a panel of judges.

The main prize is two days recording their own CD with sponsors Phoenix Music Studio on Gaol Road in Stafford. On the panel of judges will be John Davis from Erndor50 Promotions, Dean Phoenix from Phoenix Music Studio and Jon King of The Rock Dogs.

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Call organiser Rich on 07977 982884 for details of how to enter or nominate an act.

There will also be displays and workshops from local community groups, a range of food and drink vendors and retail stalls, and the beer marquee will be open all weekend with organisers promising "pub prices".

For younger revellers, there will be free access to Lower Drayton Fun, which includes everything from animal feeding to the adventure playground. All children under 16 get free admission throughout the festival weekend is they are booked with a responsible adult.

Camping is also free, with festival tickets available for the whole weekend, evening only or a day/evening ticket.

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Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead at all times

LR Partnership and Staffs Fest have also been very active in supporting worthy causes within the local Midlands community over the last few years.

For the first three years the festival championed the Millie Bea’s Walking Wish Charity and raised £75,000 for a much-needed operation to help Millie to walk. She has now had the operation and attends each year with her family – one of the marquees is even named after her.

Last year money was raised for AED Donate, a charity for distributing defibrillators. And 2019 they will champion Band of Builders.

Organisers said: "A fantastic charity, Band of Builders is the story of what happens when people unite to help others. It started with one man’s desire to help his friend in his hour of need and has grown into a global movement run by tradespeople, for tradespeople."

For more information or to pre-order tickets, visit http://staffsfest.co.uk/

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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