The man behind a popular Sheffield music festival is looking forward to what he predicts will be the best festival yet - and says it is only going to get better.
Steve Cowens says he is thrilled with this year’s Mosborough Music Festival line up, which includes indie-rockers Cast, ska favourites The Selecter and former The Seahorses frontman Chris Helme, as well as a string of local bands including The Sherlocks, The Monday Club and Carousel, four teenagers from nearby Beighton.
And he is hoping to confirm a big-name 1980s rock band to co-headline in the next few days, while discussions continue with a ‘big-name DJ’ to perform between sets.
Steve, aged 50, says: “We are also in negotations with a firm to see if they will sponsor a second stage.
“Hopefully we’ll get a second stage which means we could have another four acts.”
This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, June 6, at the former Westfield School site in Mosborough, and Steve, from Waterthorpe, admits he is excited by what’s on offer.
He says: “We’re trying to grow it year on year. We have so many familes going.
“Visitors can expect a fantastic atmosphere with no trouble and brilliant music.
“People will have a brilliant day and I guarantee they’ll come back.”
And Steve is committed to keeping prices low in these tough economic times, having already promised to freeze prices for next year, as well as ‘keeping the beer cheap’ and even monitoring the prices of outside caterers on site.
He says: “We check our stalls to see what they are charging. People have not got much money and don’t want to be paying £5 for a burger.”
The festival began five years ago, following the death of Steve’s close friend and musician Mark Thorley.
Steve says: “It started in 2010 when my pal committed suicide and we had a charity fundraising day at Mosborough Miners Welfare Club.
“It was well attended and people said let’s have one every year. It just built from there.”
The festival grew rapidly, raising thousands of pounds for charities including St Luke’s Hospice in Whirlow, Sheffield, and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospital in North Anston, Rotherham.
The first festival at Westfield featured The Beautiful South and attracted 1,600 people, raising £1,000 for Sheffield Cildren’s Hospital and Weston Park Hospital.
The 2012 event, headlined by Bad Manners, was marred by rain, which kept down the crowd to under 1,000, but it was one fundraiser in a series that generated £8,000 to send young Reece Winterbottom and his family, from Sothall, to Disneyland in Florida – Reece was diagnosed with a brain tumour six months after losing his mum to cancer.
Such was the early success, the event was extended to two days in 2013.
However, despite big-name headline acts in Paul Heaton and Reverend and The Makers, the festival made a loss.
Steve, an author, says: “We went two days, but that was my fault. I tried to get too big too quickly. We had big names, but it didn’t pay off.
“We have gone back to basics and had a really strong one day line-up with The Farm and The Twang last year and it was fantastic. It was a really good atmosphere.
“We had a record crowd last year, just more than 2,000.”
And he is hoping for even more people this year at the 2,700-capacity site.
He says: “The way tickets are going we should sell out this year.
“This year and next year we will push it on to another level.
“We have already got two big bands lined up for next year, they wanted to play this year, but I can’t fit them in.
“The potential for the site is huge. We only use a small area, but the potential on the site is massive.”
But for now, he is just encouraging people to snap up tickets for this year’s event, or risk disappointment.
He says: “We’ve done our bit in securing a top notch line up, the rest is up to you.
“We are the people’s festival with a heart, bring as many people with you as you can so we can maintain our cheap ticket prices and continue to book the best bands.”
n Tickets are now on sale, priced £17.50, before the price rises to £20 from Sunday, February 22, while under-14s go free. For details and tickets, see www.mosboroughmusicfestival.co.uk