Let’s go Local & Live!

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The Local & Live Music Festival takes place every year over the Bank Holiday weekend in August. This year it runs from August 23 to 26 and will have its main stage in Calverley Grounds with additional gigs held at The Spa Hotel and The Forum as well as other venues around Tunbridge Wells.

This free music festival, now in its 14th year, is a regular annual fixture in the town’s cultural calendar and for 2019 I can reveal the line-up will feature the cream of the region’s original musical artists including Infrared, The Steffan James Band, David Migden & The Twisted Roots, Son of Kirk, Mike Wilton, Mark Morriss and Suncharmer. 

As Local & Live has grown in both reputation and size, it draws visitors from all over the UK and Europe. The festival now brings together a collective audience somewhere in the region of 15,000 to 20,000 people, which is amazing.

For 2019 there has been an exciting new development to the structure of Local & Live in that I have joined forces with my fellow local musicians Jason Dormon of The Forum and Nigel Bent and Peter Taylor who run The Royal Oak Pub in order to create an official charity: Local & Live Music.

The aim of the charity is to promote public appreciation of and education in the arts, and in particular the art of music, by delivering a free-to-attend community festival which includes the performance of live original music and spoken word and other music-related educational events and opportunities.

Jason is fully behind this venture, saying: “As a charity Local & Live will continue to thrive and extend its positive effect through high quality events in the South East to nurture and encourage exceptional artists and unite them with new audiences. It will create a legacy for the area for many years to come.”

Nigel adds: “Local & Live is an amazing event and it’s a privilege to be involved. The new charity will provide Paul with the support and fundraising structure to sustain and build on what he has achieved for the local community over the last decade.”

So why is funding for the festival so vital? As a free event, Local & Live’s intention is solely to cover its costs.  I personally give my time to organise and run the event for free. For me personally it is a labour of love. There are substantial costs, though, which we cannot avoid and just some of the major costs include the festival’s main stage, complete with all the necessary technical equipment, which amounts to around £25,000.

Then there is the security bill, which is close to £8,000, as well as other essential costs including insurance, medical staff, marquee hire and everything else in between. In other words, a lot of money is needed to fund Local & Live. So if you’re a music fan and love what this festival brings to the town then we’d really appreciate your help in supporting it financially whether that’s through donations or sponsorship. We’d love to hear from you.

To find out more visit www.localandlive.org or to pledge your support visit the crowdfund page searching Local & Live at www.gofundme.com


Iconic rock legend Roger Daltrey CBE of The Who is a long-term supporter of the festival and says:

Local & Live is a fantastic platform for independent, original music in Kent and Sussex, long may it continue!

Local resident and front man of The Bluetones, Mark Morriss, recently gave his official take on the festival:

Local & Live has established itself as an essential hub for uniting musicians and fans of all generations and genres in the area of Tunbridge Wells. We are so lucky to have it


The Steffan James Band, The Ackerleys, David Migden & The Twisted Roots, Planet 3, Son of Kirk, The Gallerys, The Varlies, Cyrano, Sean de Burca, Mike Wilton, Mark Morriss, Suncharmer, Isabella Coulstock, Top Cat Colllective, David Mumford

Gigs kick off on the Friday evening in Calverley Grounds, and the music continues in the park through Saturday (12pm to 10pm) and Sunday (12pm to 9pm) and at nearby satellite venues including The Forum on the Common, The Bedford pub and Cassidy’s Bar. 

Alongside the music in Calverley Grounds, there will be two main bars run by Fuggles and The George pub and there will also be a selection of local food traders present, including Sankeys, the Raj Pavillion, Food Comes First, Alice’s Ices and Mother Bhumi. The Forum will host Local & Live bands on all four days.

On the final day, Bank Holiday Monday, the action moves to the gardens of The Spa Hotel for a chilled-out, wind-down acoustic day.


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