Time running out to claim cash for free music festivals around Norwich

rackheath bandstand marathon from last year

rackheath bandstand marathon from last year - Credit: Archant

Thousands of pounds are on offer to help create a host of free music festivals around Norwich.

But organisers need to move fast: they only have until Sunday to get their applications in for the cash.

Councils and grass-roots groups are being encouraged to apply for The Big Gig – up to 250 concerts held across the country – including Norfolk.

The aim is to recapture the vibrant community spirit of last year's Olympics and Jubilee when the Bandstand Marathon inspired communities to come together and celebrate over the Paralympics closing weekend.

Organisers are hoping for an even bigger and better event this year.

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If successful, communities across Norfolk will be given £400 to organise and hold a free festival on a day from July 11-14, allowing local groups and musicians to showcase their talents, and offering people the chance to get to know other residents in their area.

Some groups have applied already, and Rackheath Youth Council is waiting to hear if its bid has been approved.

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Secretary Tracy Buckley said: 'We got funding to hold a Bandstand Marathon last year from Broadland District Council, and it was a great day. We were offered the chance to apply for the Big Gig this year and jumped at the opportunity.'

The youth council is targeting new bands and performers to give them a chance to show off their talents.

'We are thrilled to be working with the youth council again and supporting them in this live music event,' said Kirstin Hughes, economic development manager at Broadland District Council.

The Big Gig concerts are being organised by Superacts, an arts organisation, with sponsorship from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the National Lottery and Arts Council England.

'It's really important to get people involved,' said Olivia Dean, regional manager for the east of England, 'I've got my fingers crossed for this year's applicants.'

The organisers of the event are looking for more volunteers to choose the date, time and venue and become events organisers to set up the concert in their area.

Communities minister Don Foster said: 'The government is keeping the Olympics spirit alive and making the games and their legacy benefit current and future generations, and these concerts are an important part of this.

'I'm calling on all aspiring musicians and their communities and councils across the country to come forward and set up a free local concert this summer to showcase every kind of music and instrument from accordions to xylophones and zithers.'

Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur said: 'Clearly given our huge interest in culture and the arts, the Big Gig is something we're really interested in, and we are currently in discussions with some local organisations to look at how we can take advantage of the offer. It's still very much in development stage, but clearly it will fit in to our amazing array of events we have coming up in the summer.'

The council said it would help and support anyone applying to hire open spaces as part of the festival weekend.

Applicants have until May 12 to apply for the project. To find out more or to apply to hold or perform at an event, visit www.superact.org.uk/ourbiggig

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