Best of the Music Fest back in Ilford for socially distanced return to live music
- Credit: Ron Jeffries
Live music is back in Redbridge this weekend with the return of the Best of the Music Fest at Valentines Mansion.
The festival which features the best acts Redbridge has on offer will return for an eighth season in the idyllic settings of the Old English walled garden at the Grade II listed mansion, Ilford, on Sunday, August 23.
The Redbridge Music Lounge and Redbridge Green Fair Music Club had to cancel all their original plans for live music events this summer, as well as the regular Friday evening sessions at Cranbrook Castle Tennis Club.
Now that government guidelines have shifted to allow for some live performances the music festival was given the green light after its risk assessment was accepted by Redbridge Council.
It will be spread out over five sessions starting with Sunday’s kickoff and then every other Sunday until October 19.
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Organiser Steve Collins said it was difficult to pull this year’s festival together since they haven’t been able to hold their regular Friday sessions but the musicians on the line-up are keen to get back to performing.
He said: “A lot of the musicians are suffering from withdrawal from not playing for so long so they’re excited to get back in front of an audience.”
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There will be 35 diverse musical acts over the five sessions, which will take place outside the Gardeners Cottage Cafe from 11am until 4.15pm.
While last year’s festival saw a record 49 musical acts performing, this year’s event will be subdued due to the interruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to restrict audience numbers to ensure safe, social distancing.
Sunday’s event will feature acts which have been regular performers with the festival throughout the years, including Storm in a Teacup, Lizzie B and a solo set from Michelle Rees of the band The Traveling Tilburys.
Since announcing the return of the festival more acts have got in touch to perform but due to limited spaces this year because of the shortened schedule some had to be turned away.
Steve added: “We hope the weather will be nice and we’re looking forward to seeing some familiar friendly faces after a long time away.”
For more information visit https://www.rmluk.org/