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Leek Blues & Americana Festival has nominated Approach Dementia Support as the event charity partner for the 2021 festival and beyond. The festival will be helping to raise awareness of the charity and the invaluable support it offers whilst engaging in various fundraising events, special projects and dedicated concerts.

Set around the Historic Market Town of Leek in North Staffordshire. Leek Blues & Americana Festival welcomes over 80+ local, national and internationally touring artists to the various pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants as well as the Foxlowe Arts Centre and other dedicated venues. The events are mostly free of charge with a limited number of special ticketed appearances. Plans are being made for this October with a hope that live music events will be able to be staged safely. The festival has already received support from sponsors Railtrail Tours, Sytech IT, Pubhead and Leek Town Council. The organisers are delighted to represent Approach Dementia with committee member Melanie Hollins acting as project manager.

Melanie Hollins says “I approached the LBAF committee with a view to making Approach Dementia Support our designated charity. They needed no persuading. Since this time ideas have been flowing, building on the benefits of using music as an aid for reminiscing and enjoyment. So, as the momentum for the festival builds, please watch out for the special charity events and help us to support this wonderful local charity”.

Whilst the main focus of activities will be on the festival week, which this year runs from Wednesday 29th September to Sunday 3rd October, special projects and events will be organised by the committee during the summer build up to the October festivities. A special event is scheduled for Sunday 25th July at the Foxlowe Arts Centre with a host of live music from 2pm to 8pm serving as a get together for all the festival partners and supporters.

Reminiscence will be the central theme to activities such as the “Guitar Trail” which will run a couple of weeks before the festival with specially decorated guitars placed in shop windows all over town each representing a musical memory, song or year. There will be special concerts in person and online along the way, fundraising events and reminiscence themed workshops.

The first special project the festival has developed on behalf of Approach Dementia is a video called “Reminiscing the Beatles” The video is based on festival friend, Lynda Hills book “All You Need Is Hull” and features stories she has collected as well as reflecting on her own experiences in an interview by Leek Blues committee member & local musician Mike Gledhill. Filmed and edited by Tim Vickerstaff and featuring a specially commissioned soundtrack from Freelance Session Musician, Toby Wilson, the video has already had a great response from within the committee, stirring emotions and raising smiles.

“The idea for Reminiscing The Beatles came about during the first zoom meeting Louise and I had to discuss the potential partnership between the festival and Approach Dementia” says Festival Chairman JR Mountford

“I glanced across and saw Lynda’s book “All You Need Is Hull”, right there and then I knew it would be a perfect fit for our mutual theme of Reminiscence.”

“I couldn’t be happier with the project, the way it reconnected us all in a creative, can-do, volunteer spirit. That’s why I like Leek, there’s so much talent to draw upon and great facilities such as the Foxlowe Arts Centre, always there to meet your needs.”

The festival committee hopes “Reminiscing The Beatles” will be used in a variety of ways to help Approach Dementia highlight the importance of reminiscence, music and memory and community involvement in such a worthwhile cause as explained in this extract from the video below.

“Listening to, and enjoying music, is a universal experience, reflecting and directing our mood.

Music and memory have a powerful connector. Music lights up emotional memories – everyone remembers songs from their past – the first kiss, the song at a wedding, seeing their parents dance and we often use music to remember people.

Music can have many benefits for people affected by dementia. It can help reduce anxiety and depression, help maintain speech and language, is helpful at the end of life, enhances quality of life and has a positive impact on carers.

Approach Dementia Support provides music and reminiscence activities for people affected by dementia across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. They believe that everyone affected by dementia should be supported to live their life the way they choose.”

Louise Eagle, Head of Strategic Alliance at the Charity says “We are privileged and excited to be a part of such a fantastic festival and are looking forward to many special activities and community engagement through music”.


Leek Blues & Americana Festival runs Wednesday 29th September to Sunday 3rd October 2021.

For more information visit Facebook/Instagram: @leekblues



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