Leestock Music Festival in Suffolk
My aim is to cover as much as I can on this blog page about places to visit and things to do in Suffolk whether you are on holiday or having a short break in one of my holiday cottages, or simply within reach of Suffolk. And on the 28th & 29th of May this year, Leestock is a must if you appreciate live music. I’m delighted to announce that Woodfarm Barns is sponsoring the festival programme again this year and the headliners are The Feeling and Hoosiers!
There are many music festivals nowadays, all around the country, all summer long. But LeeStock has simply gone from strength to strength since it began nine years ago now and is now a formidable force on the Suffolk music map. I came across it in 2013 and when I found out about the cause and ethos behind it, I immediately got in touch to see if Woodfarm Barns could be a sponsor. It was a double whammy when I was then asked to play at the festival!
We are fully booked this weekend so you can’t grab a last minute deal and come and stay but Long Melford is within easy reach of lots of our guests so please do check out ticket details and come along for a great weekend of music.
I am delighted to say that I was asked again to play in 2014, 2015 and again this year, all with my band Elephant in the Room!
Lee Dunford was a young musician from Sudbury in Suffolk who sadly lost a fight with Hodgkins Lymphoma. In 2005 Lee and his band were sent by The Willow Foundation for a five-star day out recording a single in London, staying at the Grosvenor. Willow is a charity set up by Bob Wilson the former footballer, in honour of his daughter Willow. It was set up to provide psychological and emotional support for seriously ill 16 to 40-year-olds through the provision of special day experiences. And that’s what Willow did for Lee.
Leestock started as a little event in the back room of a pub in Suffolk by his old mates as a way of remembering Lee and raising a glass to him. It was decided to raise money for Willow to thank them for the fabulous boost their kindness gave Lee. It went so well that they have done it every year since. Only it’s grown a bit now! Leestock now finds itself for the fourth year in a row in the stunning grounds of Melford Hall, with audience figures well over a thousand. They have raised thousands of pounds now so all credit to the team behind this wonderful event.
They have managed to attract some well-known acts as headliners such as Toploader, The Lightning Seeds, Terrorvision, Wheatus, Space, Nigel Clark, Mark Morris, Scouting for Girls and now The Feeling and Hoosiers!
When I came across it I got in touch with Pete Keogh, who along with his brothers Edd and Matt, are very much the driving force behind Leestock, along with a key team of people including Matthew Starling and James Janzen, as well as Lee’s parents Rosie and Rob. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone, but these are the lovely people that I know. Here’s Matthew, Edd, Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds) Pete, Matt, Rosie and Rob
They were looking for corporate sponsors and I felt compelled to get involved. I was then humbled when Pete asked me to play after we’d met and he found out that I strum the guitar and warble a bit, so I opened the Sunday in 2013 along with my old school mate Phil Green on percussion. Pete asked if I could do a 30-minute set and of course I said yes. I didn’t tell him though that to date I had only written one song as I mostly played other people’s songs! Three months later I’d written enough material for my 30-minute set and was chuffed to have my fan club there (ok, obligated friends, girlfriend and daughter).
I was then asked to play again in 2014, only this time I had been continuing to write material and play regularly as a trio with Fern Teather and Sam Thurlow under the name ‘Elephant in the Room’. I released a recording of my first song ‘Edge of the Rain’ on iTunes under the name of ‘Elephant in the Room – the artist nobody is talking about’. Because nobody was!
We were further up the bill this time and only just made it as I didn’t double-check the stage time! As you can see from this video, we literally arrived, jumped out of the car and ran straight onto the stage so I didn’t have a chance to change out of the shorts and trainers I’d been kicking around in all morning!
I suggested that we produce a festival programme and that I sponsor it and I am delighted to say that we are producing the programme again this year.
It seemed only fitting when we recorded our first album and released it in March 2016, that the proceeds go to LeeStock, after all the support they have given my music. We have already managed to raise quite a lot of money since the album’s launch so are hoping to up that figure at this year’s festival.
Our performance this year, a little further up the bill again, will be even bigger and better as we are going to be joined by friends and fellow Suffolk musicians, Al Lindsay and Oli Arditi. Al is a genius on the guitar and is a superb singer/ songwriter in his own right and Oli somehow manages to make a 5 string bass sound incredible. You can hear Al in his own right online. It features Oli’s wonderful bass playing, Sam on percussion and Fern and I do some backing vocals. Please feel free to go and buy Al’s EP.
Oh and I promise we will be on time and I will be wearing trousers!
You can find out more about my band on our woefully not up to date website (I’m too busy working on this one!).
Have a listen to us on Soundcloud and feel free to get in touch if you’d like to buy an album and help raise money for Leestock.