A tribute band – Woot the Hoople – with members hailing from Groombridge, and Healthfield’s Justine Clarke entertained the crowd until 10:30pm, but there was a surprise addition to the programme when a 12-year-old violinist was introduced.
Event co-organiser Anna Hayes said: “She started to play the Ukrainian national anthem, and all the Ukrainian people started singing – in the middle of the concert!”
The girl and her mother had been brought along by her local host, West Kent Radio DJ Alex Hake.
The outdoor concert was the idea of Anna’s father Keith Hayes, and took ‘a couple of months’ to organise, she explained.
“He didn’t have any special connection to Ukraine. He was just horrified about the situation. He wanted to organise a little Glastonbury, a ‘Rustonbury’!”
The event raised £2,892.52 from ticket sales, but Keith underwrote the event and paid for the stage from the family business RightPath4, which helps dental practices remain compliant with care standards.
The concert donated funds to Tunbridge Wells-based group Ukraine Relief Group, set up by Rich Akehurst and his Ukrainian wife Inna, but Donald Crabb also donated his DJ and MC skills to the event.
“Well, he was going to do it for free, but Dad gave him some money, and Donald gave it to another Ukrainian charity [Tonbridge-based RefugEase],” said Anna, who wore a sunflower-print skirt for the occasion, to show solidarity with Ukraine.
The sunflower is the war-torn country’s national flower, with Ukraine producing 25 per cent of the world’s sunflower seeds and over 40 percent of the world’s sunflower oil.
Rustonbury Keith and Anna Hayes