Organisers of free NHS festival headlined by Emeli Sandé overwhelmed by response

Organisers of a free NHS festival, part set up by the husband of a South Tyneside District Hospital worker, say they’ve been overwhelmed by the response.
Sunderland-born Emeli Sandé will headline the festivalSunderland-born Emeli Sandé will headline the festival
Sunderland-born Emeli Sandé will headline the festival

Friends Andrew Kennedy and Ben Potts were so touched by the job being done by NHS and other essential staff during the Covid-19 crisis that they wanted to express their thanks by organising a free festival for frontline workers.

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Freelance recruitment consultant Andrew came up with the idea because he saw at first hand the challenges facing the NHS through his wife Jan, a sister who heads up the emergency admissions unit at South Tyneside District Hospital.

He enlisted the support of Ben, whose band, North East rock tribute group, The Sons of Eden, played at his wedding and will also now be performing at the festival.

Songwriter and vocalist Karen Harding has also added her name to the line-up, as has South Shields-based Christian Yu, a nurse from the Philippines who is also a singer songwriter.

“We’re just two ordinary blokes who wanted to put on something extra ordinary,” said Andrew.

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“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response so far and we’ve had so many people say it’s a great idea and also offering to help. “We’ll be adding more acts as time goes on and we’re hoping this will be a really amazing and memorable event for everyone.”

The organisers have also set up a Just Giving page to help raise £20,000 towards financing the event, which can be reached at

Anyone wanting tickets can register at the website at

The music industry has stepped up to thank key workers for their efforts during the pandemic.

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Sunderland music festival Kubix, taking place in July 2021, and headlined by The Venga Boys and Levellers, has given thousands of free tickets to NHS trusts.

Meanwhile, This Is For the NHS festival will take place in Newcastle in May 2021 aimed at thanking workers across the North East.

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