Charitable status is sweet music to the ears of fans of Local & Live festival

Local & Live brings in around 20,000 people to the town each year, but the free event has been cancelled in the past due to a lack of funding.

Now event founder and organiser, Paul Dunton, has joined forces with fellow local musicians Jason Dormon from the Tunbridge Wells Forum, and Nigel Bent and Peter Taylor from the Royal Oak Pub to create an official charity: ‘Local & Live Music’.

By becoming a registered charity they say the event is far more secure, as it leaves them with a lot more funding options.

“It has always been problem getting funding for the festival,” remarked Mr Dunton, who also writes the live music guide in the Times.

He continued: “While we always want it to be a free event for the local community, it costs an incredible amount of money to put it on each year.”

Local & Live was born in August 2006 and has steadily grown into one of the largest music festivals in Kent and Sussex, but on more than one occasion the event has either had to be scaled back or cancelled completely due to a lack of money.

Mr Dunton said that with the additional funding options available to the event as a registered charity, it is hoped this will not happen again.

He added: “As a charity, it puts us in a far better and more secure position as we have so many more funding options. There are different grants and different bodies that we can apply for funding from.

“It will help secure the event for the town.”

The charity will be officially launched on April 19 at a free event at the Forum, where the team plan to release more details of various different fundraising ideas and initiatives that will help ensure the event is safe for many years to come.

Founder of the Forum Jason Dormon said: “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 that will create a legacy for the area for many years to come.”

Mr Dunton said the festival’s ‘ethos’ is to showcase the very best new emerging original music talent and provide Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area with a free to attend, family-friendly community music festival.

The event traditionally takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend with the main stage located in Calverley Grounds in the centre of the town and supported by a host of festival fringe venues including the Spa Hotel, the Forum, the Bedford Pub, the Royal Oak Pub, Cassidy’s Bar and several other locations.

The festival draws people from all over the globe and regularly attracts up to 20,000 people. Hundreds of musicians are involved from as young as 12 through to seasoned veterans, while many local food and drink traders are also involved in the festivities.

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

His business partner, Peter Taylor added: “The new charity can forge stronger links with TWBC, Tunbridge Wells Together and local businesses to make the August Bank Holiday ‘free festival’ and associated events through the year more accessible to a much wider audience.

“Having travelled extensively through Europe and the USA I have witnessed how the cultural identity of a town can, when backed by all sectors, increase the financial and educational wellbeing of the area. The charity will also work closely with all of the permanent music venues in the town to help their sustainability.”

For more information on the new Local & Live charity, you can visit them on the web: or on Facebook:

Or you can attend the free launch night at the Forum on Friday [19 April] where there will be live music from Suncharmer, David Migden and the Twisted Roots, along with free food and drink.

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