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Music

Ian Brown steps down as festival headliner over Covid vaccine dispute

‘I will NEVER sing to a crowd who must be vaccinated as a condition of attendance’

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Mira Shemeikka / Flickr

Ian Brown has confirmed he’s stepping down from headlining a festival later this year, saying he ‘refuses to accept vaccination proof as condition of entry’.

The Stone Roses frontman was meant to be headlining this year’s Neighbourhood Weekender festival, a three day event over in Warrington.

The festival announced yesterday, Wednesday March 3rd, that it had been rescheduled, and is now taking place at Victoria Park on the weekend of September 3rd-5th.

It said: “Following the recent government announcement we are moving Neighbourhood Weekender to Friday 3, Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 September 2021.”

Brown was originally meant to be headlining on Saturday, but has now been replaced by James, with the singer sharing the news on his Twitter.

He wrote: “My Saturday night headline show at NHBD Weekender Festival will now not happen! I refuse to accept vaccination proof as condition of entry. Refunds are available!”

Just last week, on February 26th, Brown took to Twitter to say that he would ‘never sing to a crowd who must be vaccinated as a condition of attendance.’

NBHD Weekender also confirmed that Brown would no longer be performing, before telling fans that a decision regarding vaccination passports had not been made yet.

The event added that it would comply with any safety restrictions that are announced by the government.

It said: “We want to assure ticket holders and those about to buy tickets for NBHD Weekender, like all festivals this summer, we will comply with the conditions outlined by the Government through the Local Authority.

“No decisions will be taken by Government until June 21 at the earliest. We are working with other festival organisers and look forward to a safe return to open-air events this summer.”

Music

Sir Cliff Richard is releasing his first Christmas album in nearly 20 years

It’s time to dig out the mistletoe and wine…

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Christmas With Cliff

Sir Cliff Richard is set to release his first dedicated Christmas album in nearly two decades.

The eighty-one-year-old already has a number of festive smash-hits under his belt, including ‘Mistletoe And Wine’, ‘Saviour’s Day’ and ‘The Millennium Prayer’.

And while his last Yuletide album ‘Cliff At Christmas’ was released nineteen years ago in 2003, Sir Cliff is evidently ready to get back into the Christmas spirit with the arrival of his brand new festive album.

‘Christmas with Cliff’ will be released on November 25th, and will feature a mix of old Yuletide classics and some new tracks.

Christmas With Cliff

The singer will be ‘bringing together an album of classics’ with his latest music venture, including songs like ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’, ‘Sleigh Ride’, ‘Joy To The World’, ‘When A Child Is Born’, ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and more.

New songs on the album include ‘First Christmas’, ‘Six Days After Christmas (Happy New Year)’, and ‘Heart Of Christmas’.

Read More: Free TV channel showing nothing but Christmas films launches next week

Sir Cliff said of being back behind the mic: “I have always loved being in recording studios ever since Studio 2, Abbey Road, in 1958.

“I recorded this album in Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida – 4,427 miles away from Abbey Road – and once again I felt that I was in a world of my own.

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“I had the help of two producers, Sam Hollander and Chris Walden. They guided me through the ‘well known’ Christmas songs and freed me to sing them my way.”

And hinting at something a little different, the singer added: “They had differing approaches to the songs that I asked them to produce for me, and they gave this album the dynamics that I had hoped for.

“This album is not just mine – it belongs to all of us involved in creating it, and I hope that we add a little something special to your Christmas season.”

Christmas With Cliff will be on sale from November 25th.

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Music

Courteeners announce HUGE homecoming gig at Heaton Park

The band will be playing the iconic St. Jude album in its entirety

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Michael Clement

Courteeners will be returning to the place where it all began next year for a huge homecoming anniversary gig

To celebrate fifteen years of their seminal debut album ‘St. Jude’ next summer, the rock band will be coming home to Manchester to headline a landmark show at Heaton Park.

In what will be the band’s third headline appearance at Heaton Park following sold-out nights in 2015 and 2019, Courteeners will be playing the celebrated album in full alongside some of the greatest hits from their career.

Released in 2008, ‘St Jude’ catapulted the band to global fame, and today remains as one of the pinnacle albums to soundtrack 00s Britain. 

Michael Clement

The album’s top anthems include ‘Not Nineteen Forever’, ‘What Took You So Long?’ and ‘No You Didn’t, No You Don’t’ as well as beloved classics such as ‘Cavorting’, ‘Please Don’t’ and ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’. 

Speaking about the special ‘St. Jude’ Heaton Park show, Courteeners frontman and founder Liam Fray said: They grow up so fast… Can’t believe our darling ‘St. Jude’ is fifteen next year.

Think it’s time for a celebration and we all know that great things come in threes… The Star Wars Trilogy, Sooty, Sweep and Soo and now, here we are, with the third instalment of ‘Courteeners at Heaton Park’.

“June 2015, June 2019 and now June 2023. I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than to make the pilgrimage to Heaton Park with like-minded souls and lose ourselves like it’s 2008.

Michael Clement

“And, because we’re good like that, we’ve remastered the original album… God bless the band. God bless the fans. Omne Trium Perfectum.”

The homecoming gig will take place at Heaton Park on Friday June 9th 2023, with tickets going on sale from 9am this Friday, September 2nd. 

Courteeners sold out their Emirates Old Trafford gig to over 50,000 fans in just ninety minutes last year, so fans are encouraged to snap up their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

For more information and to get your own tickets on Friday, visit the official Courteeners website here.

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Music

Aitch launches free train travel scheme for young people

What a brilliant idea!

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Supplied & Mikey / Flickr

Award-winning rapper and local lad Aitch has launched a brand new travel scheme for young people.

The Aitch-S2 is an initiative providing hundreds of people with the opportunity to enjoy a ‘summer without limits’ – giving them the chance to travel the country and experience various cultural events.

Created in partnership with Relentless energy drink, the new Aitch-S2 will run for eight weeks offering under 25s free train tickets to UK festivals, gigs and nightlife between July and August.

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Aitch is passionate about supporting regional scenes, talents and cultures, and under the new alternative travel scheme young people will have the chance to apply for funding to cover rail travel costs to events in different cities.

The aim of this is to help rebalance cultural accessibility outside of the M25 and spotlight new and exciting music scenes across the UK. 

The rising cost of transport and living is set to make travelling to events difficult, with the initiative hoping to make a difference by removing some of the financial barriers that might restrict people from making the most of the first summer since the lifting of restrictions.

Jon David Houghton / Wikimedia Commons

The Aitch-S2 travel scheme will run for eight weeks from July 5th to August 26th, and under 25s from anywhere in the UK will be eligible to apply for free travel across the national rail network – with travel vouchers worth up to £100 allocated on a weekly basis. 

Speaking on his involvement in the Relentless Aitch-S2 scheme, Aitch says: “I’m really excited to launch The Aitch-S2 with Relentless – there’s so much amazing culture around the UK, but for young people to experience it, they need to break out of their city limits, which is hard to do when it’s so expensive to travel outside your hometown.

“I don’t want anyone missing out on what is going to be a summer to remember, so this initiative will help young Brits get back out there and have fun, no matter the location.”

Head over to the website, here, to find out more about the scheme.

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