MP lends festival support as the countdown begins
Written by TIM FLETCHER
BURTON’S MP is among those who will decide the destination of cash raised from the town’s biggest ever music festival.
Andrew Griffiths, along with Dawn Green, chief executive of East Staffordshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), and Pete Tryner, founder of the Star Foundation, will join the committee set up to allocate funds from Burtfest, which kicks off a fortnight today.
With all the money raised from ticket sales being donated to community projects and needy individuals, Mr Griffiths said the event would be Britain’s first ‘big society festival’.
He told the Mail: “Burtfest is going to be a great day out and a fantastic opportunity to showcase local bands as well as well-known artists from across the country.
“I’m convinced it’s going to be a brilliant weekend and it has the potential to establish itself in the calendar and to attract much-needed visitors and income to the town.
“The Prime Minister has talked about the big society a lot and for me Burtfest is the first big society festival. The fact that it will support charities and community groups across the town is one more reason to support it.”
Mr Griffiths said he was looking forward to seeing West Country ‘scrumpy and western’ outfit The Wurzels and promised he would display ‘bad dancing and bad air guitar’ at the event, to be held at Washlands Sports Club, off Meadow Road, on the weekend of June 15 to 17.
The CAB, along with the Star Foundation, which raises funds for projects involving young people, is one of the festival’s partner organisations and has rallied 39 volunteer stewards for the event.
Mrs Green, who said she was looking forward to seeing tribute act Bon Jovi UK, said: “The festival will be fantastic and it’s a privilege to be involved.
“I’m happy to give my time and to be able to ensure any funds available go to good causes to ensure local people benefit.”
Gaz Peach, Burtfest production manager, said: “We wanted people for the committee who are heavily involved in the town and can help decide where the money goes.
“It will be completely open and funds will be available to anyone from a charity that’s been going for years, a group of kids who want a skate park, a local scout group or a family who want to send their child to university but can’t afford it.”
More prominent town businessmen and women and other figures are being lined up to join the committee, with Burtfest founder Ben Brettell hopeful it will provide a continuing source of funds for worthy causes in years to come.
He said: “If we sell out this year and get 3,000 people on each of the three days, we could be giving away between £50,000 and £80,000, and our aim in the next five years is to get that up to a quarter of a million pounds.”