Event does the dozen

Guaranteed to bring the house down - Sheffield rockers StoneRun
Guaranteed to bring the house down - Sheffield rockers StoneRun
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IT is one of the biggest occasions in Dronfield’s calendar and organisers this weekend hope to surge past a landmark fund-raising figure courtesy of band power.

Dronfield Music Festival is in its 12th year and to date has raised almost £30,000 for local charities and youth organisations.

The annual al fresco family offering last year added a second stage for acoustic acts to increase its appeal.

“This allows us to put on more performers and this year we will have 19 acts,” says organiser John Aspinall ahead of Sunday’s gathering.

“Many of these are local musicians but we do have some travelling from London, originally from Australia, and Manchester.”

One band who seem to have Dronfield fixed in their minds are energetic rock act StoneRun, playing for a third consecutive year. Julian Jones, also of Acoustic Angels, takes his latest country-styled indie to the green space at Dronfield Sports & Social, as do Hallmark Of Harmony, the 35-man chorus of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club.

They have been singing a broad variety of popular songs unaccompanied and arranged in close harmony since 1978 and Hallmark has been in the top rank of barbershop choruses nationally since it’s inception, winning the National Championships of BABS six times.

“We aim to provide audiences with a thoroughly entertaining programme of music, fun and laughter that will show you just how enjoyable and ‘cool’ modern Barbershop singing can be,” says the group.

Also supplying a unique flavour will be locals The Anything Goes Orchestra, a ukulele-fuelled quintet playing classic jazz, swing, pop and punk songs. They have recently taken their talents to The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain and Doncaster Races, as well as performing for Jamie Cullum, Sharleen Spiteri and Will Young for the Sky 1 show Must Be The Music.

Early on the bill will be quartet The Canyon, formed a year ago with the ethos of playing music from an era and a place – namely Laurel Canyon, California – which brought us bands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Mamas & The Papas, Crosby Stills Nash & Young and more.

“We want our audiences to enjoy the music as much as we enjoy performing it,” says Canyon founder member John Swift. “This is the music that we all grew up with – and the songs stand the test of time.”

Among those playing the acoustic stage will be Charlie Barker, Dronfield’s The Coachmen and openers Chesterfield band The Flow. Aussie player David G returns while, sporting new album Fishing With Dynamite, Gary J Armstrong will show what happened when The Levellers pulled him from acid house and techno and towards the guitar.

John Aspinall says they have tried to promote the event as a family day out and not just a music festival.

“There will be things for the children to do as well as other small games for the younger children. We also have a local hair stylist who will cut your hair for a donation, massages, henna tattoos and a clairvoyant.”

Main charities supported are St John Ambulance, whose marching band will entertain, Sincere Support and The Dronfield Cardio Club. Bluebell Wood, Neuro-Care, Meningitis Trust and Dronfield Air Training Cadets also benefit.

Visit www.dronfieldmusicfestival.co.uk for more information and to sample music by some of the acts.