Final touches to festival

A FESTIVAL which raised thousands of pounds in memory of a Sudbury man who died last year is ready for its second annual event next month.

The Big Bear Fest will take place at The Cherry Tree in Belchamp St Paul from 10am until late on Saturday, September 1.

It is held to raise money for Meningitis UK in memory of Sam Bearman, who lived in Catesby Meadow and died from the disease in January 2011. He was 24.

Lee Barratt, Sam’s stepfather and festival organiser, said: “Everything is in place, we have got the main headliners sorted – tribute bands Antarctic Monkeys, Oasis Forever and Kazabian. You don’t get any better than those.”

The event will also feature several local bands, children’s entertainment, including magic shows and circus demonstrations, as well as food, drinks and stalls. It offers camping from Friday night and was held at Hedingham Castle last year.

Numbers are expected to be around the 800 to 1,000 people mark, as was the case last year when £5,000 was raised.

This year’s total has received a boost from Great Cornard Upper School students Gary Rantell, Sam Fulbrook, and Josh Broughton, who completed a sponsored Three Peaks Challenge last week and are collecting donations in Roy’s in Sudbury. Halstead Young Farmers’ Club raised more than £600 with a charity bike ride and raffle last year.

Mr Barrett said that preparations were in place should the recent downpours continue.

“If it looks like it will rain on the day, then we will have a marquee in front of the stage so people will have cover while watching the bands,” he said. “Festivals are all about fun in the mud anyway.”

q For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.bigbearfest.org.