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Manchester Versus Cancer gig review

Jonathan Schofield catalogues the Versus Cancer gig at the MEN Arena with Snow Patrol, Happy Mondays, Kid British and people with violins

Written by . Published on December 14th 2009.

Manchester Versus Cancer gig review

“Is there anybody in here who hasn't been shagged by Tiger Woods?” asked comedian Paddy McGuinness before Puressence came on the stage and shagged our ears.

And then it was the Happy Mondays. Brilliant. Effervescent. Funny as a family party where grand-dad falls into the buffet and the seventeen year old second cousin is found asleep on the pool table snuggling her own bottle of vodka.

On a night which was both entertaining and uplifting, Puressence, a usually tuneful Manc band, produced a hideous blur of noise that threw the audience back into bar concourse of the MEN Arena to seek solace in crap bitter and dodgy lagers. This was a surprise because we should have been listening to the soaring voice of James Mudriczki rather than a big leaden lump of dull bass and reverb that threatened to collapse the ribcage.

Before the noise attack Kid British had begun the Versus Cancer gig with a breezy ska bouncing foot tapping fest of cheeky lyrics. These Manchester boys are a ball, if you're not seen them or heard them, look them up. With stories of the everyday life of city boys they've got an edgy charm all their own. 'She will leave' was one of their more thoughtful ditties on this occasion. But along with The Twang from Brum they provided all the fun in the first part of the evening before Snow Patrol came and slowed things down.

The Twang from Brum are another marvel who came over like a more mature rockier version of Kid British covering the same young urban male themes. Lead singer Phil Etheridge is clearly a genius and personally I wouldn't have minded another half an hour of him and his chums.

Another support act The Codeine Velvet Club, led by Fratellis' Jon Lawlor and burlesque dancer Lou Hickey, were not nearly as good. With their swing and vaudeville inflected tunes these folk were 'nice' and nothing more: better suited to a smokey club venue than an arena. Hickey for a burlesque dancer was strangely wooden, dancing round her right foot - which seemed to have been stapled to the floor - with odd jerky movement.

Then came the best purveyors of drippy girl indie around, Snow Patrol. The lead singer, Gary Lightbody, is obviously a talented and lovely man but I can't take him seriously for two reasons: his songs make me feel sick as though I've eaten 17 Greggs' vanilla slices in a row and secondly because he looks like Terry Jones off Monty Python – the one who loved dressing up as a woman and talking in a shrill voice. Still songs like 'Chasing Cars' got the crowd busy with their mobiles all lit up and swaying.

And then it was the Happy Mondays. Brilliant. Effervescent. Funny as a family party where grand-dad falls into the buffet and the seventeen year old second cousin is found asleep on the pool table snuggling her own bottle of vodka. The set started with 'Kinky Afro' and finished with 'Step On'. Best track of the night – the whole night - was 'Loose Fit'. Nostalgia can be wonderful especially when as earthy and solid as this. A word of commendation to the glorious vocal and dancing antics of Julie Gordon who led the band more than Ryder on most songs.

The transformation of the stage into an orchestra pit for the full BBC Philharmonic's collaboration with James was entertaining to watch but didn't seem to have paid off. Drowned out by the voice of Tim Booth and the guitar of Larry Gott the orchestral backing was eventually bumped up to audibility by about the third track. Again we got a beautifully delivered back catalogue of James' anthems such as 'Laid' and 'She's a star' with 'Say something' the stand out moment. Gott wielded his guitar like a seventies axe man and Booth danced like a frog in a blender.

The orchestral arangements were by Joe Duddell who earlier this year had collaborated with Elbow and the Halle Orchestra for their Manchester International Festival gigs. You have to wonder where this will all end Mr Duddell? Which Manchester band next? Northside?

And just as we thought it was all over Peter Hook joined in, and Rowetta came on stage. Together with James and the Philharmonic Orchestra we got Joy Division songs 'Transmission' and 'Atmosphere'. Not a dry eye in the house.

Every act had been careful to underline that this was a gig for the charity Versus Cancer. That it was for a good cause which pumps money into cancer awareness campaigns, supporting those with cancer and funding research. It was made clear that the gig was born out of a loss to cancer suffered by one of the organisers, and aims to try and reduce the tragedy cancer brings to families. £350k has been doled out so far.

Very good, but there must be a doubt as to whether this charity gig is reaching the end of the line?

“It's busier backstage than Kerry Katona's off licence,” Paddy McGuinness had quipped earlier on in the evening, what with all the groups and the orchestra milling around. It was less busy outside.

Despite the line-up there were perhaps, as a maximum, six thousand people in the arena. It was a very loose fit. Given the entertainment value on stage this was a surprise and begs the question where next for Versus Cancer? If they are to continue then maybe a move from the Arena might be a start.

Versus Cancer 2009 was held on Manchester 12 December at the MEN ARENA

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54 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

The bands who play for 'free' still manage to get paid 'expenses'; 'expenses' in some cases which total £10k plus.

John S. LockeDecember 14th 2009.

By the way...James, Hookey and Rowetta where breathtaking!...That was worth £40 of anyone's money as a performance on it's own...check it out on You Tube...superb! I would also personally like to thank Paddy McGuinness , Mick Ferry, Jason Cook, Dan Nightingale and the Corrie Girls for compering on the night for free and with great gusto!

The ugly truthDecember 14th 2009.

I knew it would be a matter of time before the truth behind V Cancer came out. A lot of really well-intentioned artists, well-known supporters and of course the audience who have paid a lot of money on the understanding it was a charity gig with the aim of raising awareness, have been horribly hoodwinked.Andy Rourke did not attend because he nolonger wants to be associated with what has become a scandalous and quite appalling exploitation of a serious cause.The man behind it is doing very well however and bought three flash apartments in the city centre last year - no money from last year's gig got distributed at all - that is a fact. No money was invested in promoting the charity but plenty of freebies were procurred from good people assuming all was above board.The great thing is that the truth is finally coming out and the right people are on to the case.The absence of some key organisations' support and some key former supporters should tell you all something - V Cancer is, and this is so sad considering the cause it should be benefitting, a scam.Don't worry - the great thing about Mancs and the media (for a change) is that those responsible will know now the 'party' is over and we ticket payers are not going to be fooled again.If you want to support a cancer charity, go to Macmillan, Christie, Breast Cancer Research etc directly.. their teams work really hard, they pay staff the standard 'not for profit' salary rate and they work tirelessly ALL YEAR raising awareness. They do not hold a 'gig' (based on leaning on mates, free booze and hotels or charidee kudos) for one night (the venue is given free by the way, tech costs are minimal as the MEN discounted even those) - very, very clever business.Yes, business.End of.

ADDecember 14th 2009.

Didnt we have this debate about pride just a few months ago?

HowardDecember 14th 2009.

Doncha just love these anons? Stand up if you have a view. You resemble totalitarian regime whisperers.

Can't stand anchorsDecember 14th 2009.

What did you expect Simon T? What does that T stand for?

Mark Garner, the PublisherDecember 14th 2009.

Sceptical, we have promoted Versus Cancer in 07 and 08, both years using over £10,000 of media at rate card. We gifted this for no value on both years as we were led to believe that other medias were doing the same. In return we were gifted a handful of tickets in the first year, again the same in the second, but I was given a T-Shirt as well, which sadly didn't fit. We decided to decline the offer this last time.

Stating the FactsDecember 14th 2009.

The accounts to 31st Dec 2008 state that no charitable donations were made as a result of the Manchester concert. The first 3 concerts raised nearly £1.64 million - £195,945 was donated to charities in 2007 and £93,530 spent on a cancer public awareness campaign in 2008. While this is undoubtedly money for cancer projects which wouldn't otherwise have been there, and clearly putting on concerts of this scale are expensive - people buying tickets to the concerts did so partly because they wanted to support cancer research and projects, joining the line up and standing shoulder to shoulder to help beat this vile disease. With this apparently small % of the turn over from the concerts going to front line cancer organisations / projects, it is hard not to raise an eye brow and wonder what is going on. Maybe someone at ManCon should contact Christie's (who seem to be the biggest beneficiary) and see whether they did ever get anything from the 2008 concert - their branding was everywhere on the night, so like everyone else I assumed I was doing a good thing and helping to raise loads of cash for them! I'll be upset if I find out, as I suspect that this wasn't the case!

Dr TowerDecember 14th 2009.

Anonymous are you Cas or Emma Grace. At last the rest of us have a chance.

jimjamDecember 14th 2009.

No matter what the cause you will never get me to go and see Snow Patrol. Utter shite. James should have had a headline slot backed up with the same kind of hype that the significantly inferior Elbow had for their gigs this summer.This kind of thing needs a big act, a star, a legend. Johnny Marrs dead dog playing 2 songs isn't that. It also needs more exciting collaborations, or at least the potential for them.Also, the MEN is a soulless pit selling the worst beer I have ever tasted. Move it to summer, put it on down at Castefield arena, let's have a ball.

Simon TDecember 14th 2009.

ManCon blithely regurgitates press release information. Shock!

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

Went on Sat and I agree that it was no way near as good as previous years. The line up was not as good and the spark was missing. I have never seen the arena so quiet for a gig. Maybe it is beacuse it is 2 weeks leading up to Xmas. But I think the organisers need to get bigger acts next year like Paul Weller + Noel Gallegher which played in previous years.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

@Nameshavebeen....Respectfully, all charities have to balance their priorities, particularly large organisations such as the NSPCC. These are not quick fixes or quick wins, you need to spend huge money to raise profile and interest in causes to raise the money you then use to fund the specific projects. Usually it comes in waves of advertising & fundraising, then allocation of capital to projects and so the cycle continues again. It is also important not just specifically for fundraising, but hugely important to raise general consumer awareness of the issues the charity is responsible for. I would argue that it is thanks to some ill advised journalist that the "10x" figure emerged, i would suggest if you want clarification on such matters, write to the charity, or, indeed, the charities commission. Your level of cynicism does nothing to help charities who, in the main, work extremely hard to behave transparently.

Versus CancerDecember 14th 2009.

Due to the number and nature of comments left, we would like to make the following points with regards the organization of our charity and the way in which charitable funds are spent.The way in which we approach the organization of our charity concerts is extremely similar to any other charity concert in existence. All products and services which go into staging the concert are either through volunteering, are negotiated free of charge through company good will, or at the very least are gained at a discounted rate. It is correct that artists are not paid, however, as with all concerts, there are production expenses with regards equipment and crew that must be covered as we can not demand our artists also be out of pocket. Neither Andy Rourke or his girlfriend have ever had flights from America paid for by the charity – he lived in Manchester at the time of the 2008 concert, and was unable to attend this year’s concert. With regards advertising, all concert advertising space is donated. The total marketing cost referred to in the posted comments included all concert merchandise and charity badge campaign (line up). Where money is spent on charity awareness (e.g. charity badges), money is recouped through their sale. Money spent on the production of concert merchandise is recouped through their sale at profit at the concert. A small amount was allocated to the production of our website and the printing of posters, with these items being produced for an extremely small fee in relation to market rate. In terms of the ways in which we spend and donate money, again we follow a similar model to all charities, are heavily regulated by the Charities Commission, and have our business practices approved by both the Commission and a charity lawyer. All our accounts are strictly audited, though take time to appear on the Charity Commission website.With regards the use of funds raised for charitable causes, we have at all times displayed (both on our website and within our concert programmes) the areas for which we raise money. These are cancer research, support groups and awareness. With regards research and support groups, donations are made to third party organizations such as Dr Kershaw’s Hospice. Breast, testicular and skin cancer awareness campaigns have been organized directly by the charity and so this does not appear as a donation on our accounts. Independent evaluation has seen excellent success rates from these campaigns which have also won over 10 industry awards. As stated in the concert programme and on our website, £350,000 has been raised which has been split between Christies, Genesis, Teenage Cancer Trust, Maggies, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, East Lancashire Hospice, and cancer awareness campaigns.We would like to thank all those that came to Saturday’s concert, the artists, production crew, donators and volunteers for giving their time. We are currently finalizing the accounts from the concert and will announce the amount raised as soon as possibleShould anyone wish to ask any further questions, please contact us through the website and we will respond to your questions as soon as we can.

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

Now Mr Schofield, I Note that Mancon advertised last years gig, and that there is 50k in the accounts for advertising costs; how much did you lot charge? Come clean.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

James by far the only thing worth the entrance money. Generally a very tired looking line-up and maybe a tired-looking concept. The organisers need to be a bit more creative in their programming and definitely ditch the Happy Mondays and Puressence and all these other creaky Madchester acts well past their sell by date. Plenty of good intentions but the accounts will show a huge amount of money taken up with admin and over-the-top artist 'expenses'. Rumours of what some of the artists have claimed and been paid puts the MP scandal to shame.

Names have been changed to protect the innocentDecember 14th 2009.

Anon, they are not rounded up figures, they are the end of year accounts as reported by the organisation. Or can you report fudged figures to the charity commission?

Brian GrailDecember 14th 2009.

You're right Gary Lightbody is the spit of Terry Jones. "He's not the Messiah, he's a naughty boy."

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

The audited accounts for The Great Northern Aid Trust (the charity behind Versus Cancer) are publically available on the charity commission web site. Look at these and you will answer a lot of your questions. Go to http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk and put Great Northern Aid Trust into the search.

Dr Rosy DanielDecember 14th 2009.

I agree, transparency is vital and so is a clear giving policy. I am sure that the dialogue above will push VC forward into setting up a far stronger framework for their charity which I and others within the charity I run world will gladly help them to do. The view expressed above is my own expressed without the prior knowledge of Versus Cancer as I really feel for them after having just made such a monumental effort to raise money through the concert. Having worked in the charitable sector myself for 25 years I understand the difficulties of fund raising and fund raising through events is the trickiest and riskiest of them all. You never know in advance if your outlay on an event will be re-couped and profit made as there are so many factors outside of your control. For example, look at what happened to one summer garden party run for another cancer charity: outlay £20,000 for all the stands, food, marquee, bands, prizes; expected income £60,000 as in the previous year; projected donation for the charity £40,000; one torrential summer rainstorm half an hour before the gates opened; takings £2,500; serious egg on face and an actual loss for the charity! Then there is the question of the months of anxiety about who will volunteer help and who will come along to the event. Bad enough if the community is fully behind you but a nightmare if there are people out there seeking to undermine you! The bigger the vision with event fund raising the bigger the risk and yes, all charities are businesses which have to be run on business lines. The VC team have elected to live with this high level of risk and uncertainty for months in order to make a difference. Let's get behind them Manchester and give them support not criticism to get cancer prevention funded as it should be. The cancer charities you mention are focussing most help on those who have cancer which is terrific, but cancer is around 80% caused by our own lifestyles and the totally preventable risks we take through ignorance. Thie VC focus on awareness raising and prevention is highly laudible and very rare. They have a really great idea that has the potential to stop the suffering before it starts. After twenty five years of seeing hearts broken and lives shattered by this illness, that gets my vote every time!

rosieDecember 14th 2009.

We've got lives outside Mancon y'know!

The Ugly TruthDecember 14th 2009.

No one is questioning the work of good causes that work hard ALL YEAR raising awareness for cancer - as someone who has been treated for cancer this issue is very important to me and I have lossed some wonderful people sadly to the diseasse. While the above comments are legitimate (in general) they do not actuallly deal with why people are so upset and annoyed at what is coming out about this business (aka as a charity). Dr Daniel - your comments are fair but I wonder if you have been asked by V Cancer to sign off this comment without knowing how the organisation actually operates (very differently to the likes of MacMillan, Breast Cancer Research etc). In fairness to V Cancer - they have seen a great opportunity, given some money (in the first year) to some causes but it appears that this opportunity to do some good has also turned into a business venture and that should be made public and they should account for that - it is not illegal but being open about it would stop the critics.The MEN arena do have an arrangement with V Cancer where they get the arena but do pay for costs - inc technical - anyway, getting into a discussion on that diverts from the the real issue - where is all that money going??My point was that an awful lot of money is not going where ticket payers think it is going - fact.

foodpleasenowDecember 14th 2009.

What happened here? I never noticed any advertising, last year mancon told us when it is, did you lot forget to tell us? I wanted to go.

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

No-one is saying the E word Dave, just that a first pass at the accounts point to the organisers having had their pants pulled down by the 'Artistes'. not one of whom should have taken a penny in exes or fees. Then, who is being paid a wage? Not on, it's supposed to be a charity.

tickety booDecember 14th 2009.

Unfortunately a little (I believe well informed) birdie tells me that Christies cancer charity has seen no money from LAST year's gig never mind this one! Sounds like it's not "doing what it says on the tin"

NorthernGeezerDecember 14th 2009.

Well you got exactly what you asked for then Simon didnt yer................and as from next month, you'll pay for the privilege too, hehehe.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

At best, it's one of the least efficient ways to give to frontline cancer research and/or cancer care. And the whispers about the organisation and its artist 'expenses', running costs etc have become so widespread that I'm surprised ManCon have been caught unawares by some of the comments made in response to your gig review.

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 14th 2009.

Er we'll chase. But the £350k is printed loud and proud on the press information.

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

Have you seen proof of £350k being raised for Charity Mr. Schofield? Or is that the turnover? I was told that these guys paid for first class air tickets for Andy Rourke, which are clocking in at four grand plus. Ooh, and his girlfriend, another 4k. Can we see accounts? I think ManCon should check.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

I have just read the above posts and quite frankly I'm disgusted at the amount of wild speculation that is going on here. I am not sure what exactly qualifies you to know how much money it takes to put on a concert of that size, how much needs to be kept in the charity for future use, and how much should go to outside charities other than their own. I have worked with charities for years and, like any business, they need a) staff who are qualified to do the job (not just volunteers to make the odd cup of tea) in order to ensure it is run to the best of it's ability and b) ongoing funds. I don't think that a quick glance at rounded up figures gives you the right to start stating your own opinions as if they are fact. Charities and their directors have to abide by strict rules and have to go through a mountain of red tape. That is what the Charities Commission is there for. I don't think it is fair for you to judge without knowing exactly what you are talking about. If you put your energy into volunteering instead of rumour spreading, the world may be a better place.

Dr Rosy Daniel, Integrated Cancer ConsultantDecember 14th 2009.

Cancer medicine is wholly reliant on the efforts of good people like the team at Versus Cancer to raise the money to provide the support, care and focus on cancer prevention which cannot be afforded by the NHS. Currently with lifetime risk at 1 in 3 affected and rising due to the ageing popultion medical systems struggle to deliver the most basic and often ineffective medicine. All efforts to prevent cancer and empower those with cancer in effective self-help are to be strongly encouraged. Fund-Raising is in crisis during the recession as Trusts that usually donate the interest on their funds have nothing to give. Cancer charities are really struggling to keep vital services and sources of hope alive right now. The brave efforts of those who are turning the pain of their loss into dedicated attempts to make a difference through contribution of their skills, contacts and experience is welcomed whole-heartedly. On behalf of the cancercare profession and the clients we serve I would like to thank sincerely Versus Cancer and all those who donate their time and energy to this really important work. Cynicism and criticism have no place here and I say 'shame on you' to those who we seek to undermine this brilliant effort to make a difference. Versus Cancer, you have my full support now and for the future. Please keep going as I and others within cancer medicine know your intention is true and integrity impeccable.

Amateur AccountantDecember 14th 2009.

Those accounts look poor to me, why on earth are there £70k's worth of fees for Musicians and £50k's worth of advertising? My boss did the ads on his publication for nothing and surely the musicians gave their time for the charity??

DaveDecember 14th 2009.

Didn't go last year but each of the other three have produced truly memorable moments for me. I go because of the cause - every band/artist is not going to please all of the audience. I would concur that there were 10,000 there, although a lot of them left at various stages, like if you're there for Snow Patrol you might not be into Happy Mondays and/or James. Snow Patrol were extremely polished and professional, just like their records, and rather dull. Happy Mondays were ace in a disjointed way, with Shaun Ryder like a circus master, even though none of the band was original. James with the orchestral backing were amazing in my opinion, and the truly memorable bit this year was the Joy Division covers at the end with Hooky. I only hope these theories about embezzlement are just mischief.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

Question; if someone buys a £40 ticket for a Versus Cancer gig at the MEN what proportion of that goes to the frontline in the batttle against cancer; not to artists, or the MEN, or to administration costs or expenses, or to GNA, or to advertising costs or print costs, but to life-saving frontline cancer services?

JoDecember 14th 2009.

Saturday was a big night for gigs, for those of us of an old-school indie/'alternative' persuasion: as well as Vs. Cancer there was Placebo and The Horrors at G-Mex, Bootleg Beatles (who are great) at the Apollo, The Bluetones and... Wayne Hussey at the Uni! I think we know where the rest of the crowd was...

DaveDecember 14th 2009.

IN response to The ugly truth..The Venue is not free."by the way"... where do you get this from? Are the MEN really going to give up the Arena for free and then pay all their staffing costs? Tech costs are nothing to to with the venue! When you hire the venue, you hire an empty room, and it's external companies who supply equipment. Think before you make a fool of yourself. Call up the MEN and see if you can hire their sound rig for the weekend.. I'd love to hear what have to they say. Does every show look the same as the last in there? No! Why not? It's not the roadhouse is it! You obviously know far too little to make well written judgments like this. Did you go to school for that? Spend more time getting the facts before you write more crap.Where are the 3 flats you talk of.. can I go round for a brew and and chat about V Cancer? Maybe we could meet there. I'm sure that if you know so much about other issues here, you must know where they are... Let's go.

John S. LockeDecember 14th 2009.

I have spoken to the VS Cancer organisers and they assure me they will be answering all comments etc. accordingly. I will say to Slightly sceptical that every charity I have ever worked with - and there have been a few, have had a permanent and paid staff to organise events and run the company behind the charity ...otherwise the charity would not function with any degree of professionalism or expertise. I am sure that the integrity of the individuals I have had dealings with in all VS Cancer matters is without question. I thank you for your comment on my own personal honesty and hope that your concerns can be satisfied by VS Cancer in the next few days.

RobDecember 14th 2009.

In response to “stating the facts” post...you’re not sating the facts at all...Where do you get the figure of £1.64 million raised from the first 3 years. If all 3 shows sold out tickets at £40 you would struggle to reach that figure....I’ve been there every year and in 2006 there were about seven thousand in the place...2007 was a sell out with Noel and 2008 was about 2/3rds capacity...Having looked deeper into the figures...which you could do too...it looks to me like you’ve added in as cash all the pro bono stuff that makes the show happen.For tax reasons everything has to be given a cash value...like the weeks of promotion on the radio which must have been valued at a tidy sum.....all falls into the “donation” figure here so that the one doing the donating can account to the revenue...This would include Hotels, Legal work, Accountancy and even those who gave their time should they wish to show it in their own accounts.You forget...the show raises awareness too...not just money...It looks to me like you are fixated on finding something bad here...I don’t see your gripe...and as for Christie’s, I’m sure they are grateful for the publicity they got from the event...not to mention the money...all for free...their own fundraising department could carry on with the great work they do...whilst these guys did what they do. Sounds like win...win to me... It wasn’t a Christie event created by the Christie team...it was a Versus Cancer event...and the posters around the place all had the Versus Cancer chevrons everywhere....looked like the Hacienda !!I loved the show this year too and I think it looked maybe 2/3rds full again...oh...and I’ve not seen another bad review anywhere but here...were we at the same gig Mr Schofield?

Names have been changed to protect the innocentDecember 14th 2009.

End of year taint it, got one week to finish up everything before two lovely long weeks off.

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

Mr. Locke, Andy Rourke I was told was there last year, did have two first class return flights from New York paid for; can an organiser please state this was not the case? Can we also have a statement from an organiser as to exactly how much has been taken over the past three years and how much has been been distributed form that figure to the charities in question?

Jonathan Schofield - editorDecember 14th 2009.

In a concert review not a charity review Simon of course we did. And I'd do the same if somebody told me that the new build of a hospital was £90m. But now since we've got some doubting Thomases I'll investigate. Do you - or any media group - question all the figures they are given in reviews of gigs and the like? Be reasonable. I'm sure the Versus Cancer figure is all above board anyway, but we'll ask for a reply.

John S. LockeDecember 14th 2009.

As someone who was involved with the organisers, and assisted at VS Cancer this year can I please clear up some complete innacuracies on the pasrt of some of you who have ranted on this show.Andy Rourke was not at this years event and therefore could not have had flights to or from anywhere to the event...neither was his girlfriend, the information about money raised and distributed to the charities is available directlr from VS Cancer as far as I am aware, the show was actually attended by almost ten thousand, and the artissts list who were approachecd to attend was actually enormous - all of whom had reasons they could not perform...predominantly the dtae of the show as mentioned two weeks before Christmas...but as the MEN Arena can only schedule certain dates throughout the year to allow VS Cancer the chance to use the Arena the decision was made to go ahead with the show right up to the last minute.The team behind the event (huge amounts of whom are volunteers , including myself who recieve no and expect no payment) work hard befor during and after the event to give Manchester the best show they can. I can also tell you categorically that non of the comperes or comedians recieved expense or fees for attending and never have.This year's show was in my opinion one of the best and I have been at every one of them! Maybe not as superstar studded but certainly a great gig and a charity event...and that is the clue here to all you nay sayers and complainers...it is a charity show with the restrictions and difficulties that go with organising and producing such a show.Have a little Christmas spirit - or is that all too much humbug?

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

Is it me or is very quiet on this site just lately? No sign of Cas, Rosie, emma grace etc.

Names have been changed to protect the innocentDecember 14th 2009.

Not specifically VS Cancer, but most charity's are at it. Anyone remember what came out about the NSPCC, and how they spent nearly 10 times as much on advertising as they do directly on kids?

DawnDecember 14th 2009.

In response to The Ugly Truth I think you should check out your facts before making such posts as what you are saying is both Ugly and plainly not the Truth. There are too many people working for this organisation for it to be a scam and it is shameful that people who are trying to make a difference in this city become easy targets for criticism. If you want to know the financials behind the "gig" and charity then why don't you ask the organisers rather than anonymously sniping and trying to undermine the work of others. I'm going to check with the MEN tomorrow to see if the venue was donated for free as I suspect this is not the case along with your other claims. I know that the MEN is owned by the SMG Group and I will re-post once I have further information. If you are so sure of your facts why don't you use your real name and identify yourself - I think hiding behind a pseudonym when making such scurrilous claims is shameful. I trust the moderators/editors of this site will remove such postings when shown to be untrue. Finally, I will also be emailing the charity via their website for further information as they suggest in their earlier post.

AnonymousDecember 14th 2009.

@nameshavebeen.... Sorry, I meant totalled figures which aren't broken down (eg 'fees' or 'marketing' as previously mentioned), rather than rounded up.

Names have been changed to protect the innocentDecember 14th 2009.

AD, pride are as bent as they come (HO HO HO!!!!) - sorry, terrible joke.

Simon TDecember 14th 2009.

What did I expect? A smart-arsed comment under my comment. The usual.

Harold The MagnificentDecember 14th 2009.

third year for me with no idea how much dough has been passed out, is that £350k accurate? Simple maths appears to say that seems very good if they have.

ADDecember 14th 2009.

Perhaps not having the gig two saturdays before christmas would help.

John S. LockeDecember 14th 2009.

Dear Slightly sceptical...I have asked and been told quite clearly, from one of the main organisers and given full assurance that Andy Rourke has never or has his girlfriend, had first class tickets from New York to any event from the charities funds.As far as openness and reply to the other questions and comments on here, they are preparing a post for tomorrow....I always ask questions first before placing accusations,,,otherwise it's just gossip - and gossi[p can hurt.

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

At first glance it appears that £121k was distributed to charity out of a whacking £600k spend; whilst someone is taking £50k wages out, where has the rest gone?

Slightly scepticalDecember 14th 2009.

To be honest Mr. Locke, you are well known as an honest bloke (well, nearly, like the rest of us ;-) ), if you don't know those accounts intimately I would stay out of this batle, it's one that may well let you down. After looking pretty closely, I think that the people running this charity are guilty of extreme naivité. The amount of money donated to actual causes this last couple of years has been, well, I will wait until the official responses are in.

Simon TDecember 22nd 2010.

I was wondering when the next Versus Cancer event might be and went online and followed the trail to the Charity Commission site. The accounts show that the Versus Cancer organisation ("Great Northern Aid Trust") attracted £590,000 of income in the year to end 2008. Not a single penny has been donated to charity. It still rankles with me that 13,000 people attended the 2008 event the VC organisation hosted at the M.E.N. and not a penny from ticket sales have been donated to charity. The VC say in the comments above, regarding 2009's concert; "We are currently finalizing the accounts from the concert and will announce the amount raised as soon as possible". That was more than a year ago and there's no sign yet of any voluntary opening-up of the accounts. In fact, by statute the accounts for the year to end 2009 should legally have been presented by the end of October 2010, and are currently 52 days overdue.

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