Festival to raise funds in musician's memory

PUBLISHED: 07:40 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 07:40 25 July 2019

An eleven-hour music festival near Royston on Saturday will raise money for a mental health charity.

Seven bands will play at East Fest, in memory of musician Rich East who took his own life aged 52.

Rich was a lead guitarist with several bands going back 30 years. He played with country rockers, Medicine Hat and composed music for the band Black Lightning.

He took his life in September after suffering from a debilitating illness which resulted in him having part of his stomach removed, and left him in constant pain.

His wife, Sandra, teenage daughter Scarlett, and fellow musicians have organised the festival to raise money for the MindEd Trust.

This is a fund set up after the suicide of a teenager, 18-year-old Edward Mallon from Meldreth, near Duxford.

The charity is affiliated to the Zero Suicide Alliance, which offers preventative strategies to the families and friends of people who are harming themselves or likely to end their lives.

Medicine Hat and Black Lightning will play, along with Bootleg Boss, a Bruce Springsteen tribute, plus eighties band, After a Fashion, The Love Hats (rock n roll) and the punk band 6am Saints.

The food offering will include vegan and vegetarian as well as a hog roast and the pub will run an outside bar as well as the usual service.

Sandra said: "After Rich died, the police came to the house and the police officer said there was nothing to help. He was very embarrassed. He said: 'If you had had a burglary, there would be victim support. Personally, you can call me anytime, but there is nothing official'.

"I have had a lot of help from friends and I still struggle. I don't know how people manage without that. How on earth do they cope?

"After the festival is over, I will be looking to set up a network for people to come together. It helps to talk to other people this has happened to. It's a different grief, it's horrible.

"This festival has been a focus for me over the past few months. I am worried about what I will do when it is over."

East Fest is at the Coach House Hotel at Flint Cross on the A505 near Royston, SG8 7PN.

Doors to the event open at noon, music 2pm to 11pm. £20 adults, under 16s admitted free. www.eastfest.live.

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