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Castle Rocks Cancer

Manchester’s unsigned musicians are back for another round in the pub with a difference

Published on June 13th 2008.


Castle Rocks Cancer

Damien Smethurst is a pub landlord with a difference. He runs the Castle Hotel in Manchester where he plays host to free live music, giving unsigned bands a platform and punters an eclectic selection of raw music six days a week.

I noticed on www.manchestermusic.co.uk that there were a lot of local unsigned bands who wanted to put an event together for charity, so I offered them the Castle.

It was this time last year when Manchester’s, albeit small, underground music venue first held a charity event that was as unique as the Castle Hotel itself. With no entry fee, but with plenty of donation buckets around on a ‘pay as they play’ basis, twenty unsigned bands took up the PA over the course of a weekend all in the name of Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

It was called Castle Rocks Cancer and it’s back again for another round on the Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June.

When it came to deciding on a way to raise money for charity after his mother died of cancer two years ago, Damien says that he turned to www.manchestermusic.co.uk. “I noticed on the website that there were a lot of local unsigned bands who wanted to put an event together for charity, so I offered them the Castle for the weekend.”

“The event was a definite success,” Damien is happy to report. “Over the course of the weekend there were several hundred people who came to watch the various bands, though fortunately not all at once as the pub is too small for that!”

If you were part of the crowds at this event the first time around you might find some familiar faces in the running.

The Line-Up:

SATURDAY 14 JUNE:

2.00pm - WOLLIVER AND THE THICK-WITS
2.45pm - HARD LUCK CHILD
3.30pm - THE STAR FIGHTER PILOT
4.15pm - STRAY DOG CAFE
5.00pm - THE SQUID IS CORRECT
5.45pm - THE CRUX
6.30pm - THE THINMAN PROJECT
7.15pm - BILLY RUFFIAN
8.00pm - THE HARKS
8.45pm - MONSTER ISLAND

SUNDAY 15 JUNE:

2.00pm - THE LOCALS
2.45pm - BLIND ATLAS
3.30pm - THE TRACKS
4.15pm - FOG LIGHTS
5.00pm - KNIGHTS OF THE ROSY CROSS
5.45pm - NATIVE STATE
6.30pm - KINGS OF THE INFIDELS
7.15pm - IN THE NAME OF...
8.00pm - MERRY MEN
8.45pm - VACANT STRANGERS

All Damien needs now is a generous audience.

“I actually organise the whole thing myself. I decide on the dates, get the bands together, do all the promotional stuff and generally just try to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.” And what does Damien get out of all this? “On the Monday morning after the event, when I sit there and count the money that has been donated, it feels great to know that all that money is there because I decided to actually get off my arse and do something, rather than just get on with looking after myself.”

Damien is confident that this event will continue. “It will be yearly with the date always somewhere around the middle/end of June. I'm hoping that the profile can be raised more and more as time goes on, so that we can turn it into one of the events of the year in Manchester for unsigned bands to get involved in.”

Confidential thinks that this might not be on the scale of Manchester Versus Cancer, but it is still the city at its best, establishing a stage for an impassioned line-up of diverse, unsigned bands who are performing free of charge at a festival filled with noble intentions - and plenty of beer.

Venue: Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, City, M4 1LE
To donate to Cancer Research UK:
www.justgiving.com/
castlerockscancer2008

To donate to Marie Curie Cancer Care:
www.justgiving.com/
castlerocksmariecurie2008

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