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Music festival to raise money for blind Ilfracombe singer who was targeted by thieves

By NDJJoel  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

  • Connor Mackay

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DOZENS of musicians have clubbed together to organise a unique rock festival to raise money for a blind man who lost almost all his possessions in a series of burglaries.

Last week the Journal reported how Ilfracombe guitarist and singer Connor Mackay, 39, who is registered blind, was targeted three times by thieves in one week.

The thieves made away with Connor’s laptop which contained his art degree course work as well as his television, guitar amp, PS3 console, 500 DVDs and even one of his own paintings.

Police officials said it was likely Connor was targeted because of his disability and described the offence as sickening.

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However, dozens of musicians have agreed to waive their usual fees to perform at a day long music festival in Ilfracombe to raise money to replace some of Connor’s stolen items.

The festival, called Con-Tribute, was the brainchild of musicians Peter Bradshaw and Kelly Render who play together in punk band Falling Apart and rockers Psylum.

Kelly said: “Connor’s a really close friend and part of a wider community of musicians in Ilfracombe.

“The news about him getting burgled was all over Facebook and people were getting very angry and frustrated.

“Peter said rather than get angry we should do something positive to help.

“So what started as a small idea has now ballooned into a huge rock festival.”

So far 17 bands and artists, including Connor himself, have agreed to play the festival which will take place across seven venues in the town on Saturday, March 16.

So far the line-up includes Odds and 8 Balls, Dark Matter,

Falling Apart, Psylum, Sam Nichols, Coco Reed Jones, Chris Millington, Noel Grummit and Ellie Campbell.

The festival, which has already attracted support from Ilfracombe Round Table, The Olden Group and Taylor’s Solicitors, will take the form of a pub crawl starting at around midday at the Pier Tavern before moving on to the Sandpiper Inn, The Royal Britannia, The Ship And Pilot, The George and Dragon, Chill Bar and Buddy’s Live Lounge.

Kelly said: “We will have two or three acts playing at each pub before moving on to the next one.

“The landlords of each pub have agreed to donate their payment for the bands to help Connor replace his stolen items.

“Anything extra we make will go to a charity which supports the blind.

“I really hope this could become an annual event.”

Since the story appeared in last week’s Journal, Connor said he has been humbled by the support shown from Ilfracombe residents.

He said: “I’m extremely grateful, I never expected such a reaction.

“My friend Matt has been reading out some of the comments people have left on Facebook and they’ve made me burst into tears, I’m truly bowled over.

“I’m really excited about the festival. It’s not just about me any more, it’s about keeping people in Ilfracombe safe.”

The Con-Tribute festival will also feature a raffle. Anyone willing to donate a prize can contact Kelly by emailing kelly@theoldengroup.com.

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