25th Nov, 2020

We didn't want to sell him short - Redditch John Bonham festival pulled

Correspondent 29th May, 2019

PLANS to celebrate the life of Redditch-born Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham with a two day music festival in September in the town have had to be scaled back.

The full ‘John Bonham A Celebration II’ event has been cancelled after organisers decided they would not be able to deliver the festival to a standard that would do justice to the town’s most famous musical son.

“We were concerned we wouldn’t be able to meet people’s expectations and with some fans travelling from overseas for the gig we took the difficult decision to cancel,” said spokeswoman Ros Sidaway.

Instead headliners and Led Zeppelin tribute band Coda will play at the town centre’s Queen’s Head pub while the popular Black Tap on Church Green East will also put acts on.

Organisers hoped to build on the success of the town centre festival last year which was timed to coincide with the unveiling of the John Bonham memorial statue and helped raise more than £23,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The aim was to establish an annual festival in memory of the rock legend known to fans worldwide as Bonzo.

More than a hundred tickets had already been sold for the event in September – to fans as far afield as the USA, Canada, Norway, Australia and even Turkmenistan. Full refunds have already been paid.

Eight acts had been booked with legendary blues singer Maggie Bell among the headliners. The decision to cancel was taken after consultation with John Bonham’s sister Debbie, whose band performed at last year’s event.

“We can only apologise to people who were looking forward to what promised to be another memorable event.

“However I am sure we have made the right decision in cancelling this year with a view to providing something even better in future. We were doing this in the name of one of the all-time greats of rock music and it would be wrong to deliver anything less than the best.

“John’s family recognise this, and we wouldn’t want to embarrass them or sell his memory short in any way.”

The organisers are hoping to put on a full scale tribute next year – the 40th anniversary of Bonzo’s death. Anyone locally interested in joining the organising group can contact Ros via www.JohnBonhamAC.com .

Meanwhile, an event to celebrate John’s birthday this Friday, May 31 at the Rocklands Club is going ahead, with Led Hendrix leading the celebrations. Doors 7.30pm. Advance Tickets £6 (from Club or Vintage Trax) or £8 on the door subject to availability.

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