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Music fans enjoy Brickfest as coronavirus causes showground switch

PUBLISHED: 07:42 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 01 September 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Archant 2020

Coronavirus has hit live music venues particularly hard - but 600 music fans still got the chance to enjoy bands performing when a hugely popular festival went ahead despite the problems caused by the pandemic.

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

With The Brickmakers in Norwich closed due to the virus, there were fears that its Brickfest festival would have to be scrapped this year.

Landladies Charley South, Pam South and Emma Rose shut the doors of the Sprowston Road venue in March. While it is also a pub, they decided not to reopen for drinks as it is not viable unless live music returns.

They had resigned themselves to their festival having to take a hiatus this year, but local events promoter Danny Banthorpe stepped in and organised a switch to the Norfolk Showground.

And, on Bank Holiday Monday, hundreds of music fans got the chance to see a dozen bands perform - all while they socially distanced in special pods.

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Charley South said: “It has been absolutely amazing. We have had about 600 people here and it has been brilliantly organised for us.

“When Danny rang us up and asked about it doing it up at the showground and he had a day free for it, we said yes straight away.

“Everyone has been well behaved and kept themselves safe. They have been dancing in their own little pods and it’s been great to see.

“I think people have really missed seeing live music. It’s not quite what we’re used to, but it has been so good.”

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

She said music performed had ranged from country and funk, through to ska, Britpop and heavy rock, with bands such as Chocolate Skasouls, Counterfeit Brits, The Bloodshake Chorus and Bad Touch among the line-up.

As for The Brickmakers, Ms South, said it would need to stay shut for now. She said: “It’s just not financially viable at the moment.

“We were looking at whether we could have live music in the garden, but the weather is going to get worse now and it just won’t work.

“But we have applied for the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and we’re expecting to find out if that’s been successful in October.

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

“If that’s successful, then we might be able to partially reopen and run at a loss, so we’re waiting to find out.”

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
(C) Archant 2020Brickfest at the Norfolk Showground, a socially distanced festival of music. Byline: Sonya Duncan (C) Archant 2020

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