Michael Dugher MP

Working hard for Barnsley East

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Dugher's column: 'Put town on music map'

The following article appeared in this week's Barnsley Independent:

This Saturday, 110 acts from across the UK will descend on Barnsley town centre to perform in what will be the best music festival Barnsley has ever seen.

This year I will have the honour of performing again at Live in Barnsley, the one day festival which showcases some of the best musical talent from across our town and the surrounding region.

Now into its second year, Live in Barnsley is going to be bigger and even better. People will be able to enjoy a long line-up of talented artists including local Darfield performer Jake Sharpe, Barnsley’s ownThe Voice star Emily Worton, Barnsley’s brilliant indie pop creators The Glavins and local singer song writer Danny Smart.

As well as being even bigger and better than last year, this year’s line-up promises to bring a more diverse and varied music taste to Barnsley’s music scene, remembering the town’s musical roots with brass brand Worsbrough Band of which I am a proud patron - playing in The Civic.

Last year was a resounding success, with about 3,000 visitors coming from all corners of the country to attend. Not only did this mean that music lovers had a great day out in Barnsley and saw first-hand exactly what we can do here, but it meant that they brought with them great benefits for our local economy, with venues reporting record breaking takings.

Organisers Steve Clifford, Dave Pearsall and John Backhouse, have yet again poured their heart and soul in to the festival. They have a great passion for music and desire to promote local talent and by ensuring the festival remains free they are able to share this with everyone in the community. This hard work was rightly recognised nationally with a nomination for Best New Festival at the prestigious UK Festival Awards last year.

What is more, Steve, Dave and John announced in December that my good friend and music royalty, Feargal Sharkey, former number one selling artist and ex-frontman of The Undertones who gave the world Teenage Kicks is giving up his time to promote local live music as patron of the festival.

There is a great opportunity for Live in Barnsley to continue to go from strength-to-strength. In October, council leader Sir Steve Houghton gave the event his backing a move which is warmly welcomed and recognised among the music-loving community. The Council has promoted this year’s event on Visit Barnsley, the official website for Barnsley tourism, and on council leaflets and publications and I think it is great it has endorsed this worth-while event.

I would urge all Barnsley residents to come along and enjoy the great day out, but it doesn’t stop here. We need to do as much as we possibly can to support this event and get Barnsley on the music map and showcase some of the best and most talented musicians in our town.

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