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Concert For Life

March 2009

SHOULD Sam Beeton's star rise to the heights his record label SonyBMG expect, the 20-year-old Carlton singer-songwriter will still find time for the annual bash at Rock City for the Julie Cotton Foundation.
AUDIO: Listen to the full studio interview with Mark Cotton & Sam Beeton
"It really is a charity close to my heart," says Sam, who will headline the next gig for the charity on Easter Sunday, April 12.
"After that first Rock City gig, which was my first big public appearance, I've been there ever since," he says of the debut concert in 2002, when he was just 14.
"I had an acoustic guitar and sang and thankfully everyone was quiet."
"He did exceptionally well," adds Mark Cotton, a firefighter from Carlton who set up the foundation after losing his wife to cancer in 2001.
"Everyone listened. You know, this is in a busy Rock City. But he had a big voice."
"I did a Nina Simone song and a Bob Dylan song," says Sam.
"It'll be a little different this year because I'll be bringing my band along and I'll be doing my new songs."
Sam's debut single late last year, What You Look For, stalled at No. 41 in the UK chart and since then he's been re-recording his debut album with James Morrison's producer Fraser T. Smith, who co-wrote the No. 2 single Broken Strings.
"It's been going really well," says Sam.
"The thing is, we keep coming up with songs that are better than what we had before."
He adds: "It'll be good to play live again. The last gigs I did were in December supporting Scouting For Girls."
That included a date at the Trent FM Arena. Prior to that he played a tour of UK forests with James Morrison.
Sam got involved with the Julie Cotton Foundation gigs because the Beetons and the Cottons have been friends for years, he says.
Last year's gig attracted 1,500 people and raised £12,000 for Leukaemia Research's work at Nottingham City Hospital
Mark says: "The public, the local community, local businesses all got behind it and we're hoping to better that this year because obviously the more tickets sold, the more money is raised."
Each year they choose a particular project to raise funds for. Last year's Concert for Liam was named after Liam Doherty, the eight-year-old from Arnold who had lost his battle against cancer.
This year the money will go to Billy's Appeal, a £2m project to refurbish a house for families of children with cancer who are being treated at the E38 Ward at the Queen's Medical Centre.
Billy Greenall, who was on the ward with Liam, is one of those children.
"Billy is doing very well," says Mark.
"He's been in remission for a couple of years. Billy's parents set up this fund because they wanted something that would be useful to families like theirs."
The fund is part of CLIC Sargent's Home From Home scheme, a children's cancer charity project that provides accommodation for parents of children being treated for cancer.
Billy's House, which will be the eighth of its kind in the UK, is due to be officially opened in June.
"It's a big detached house opposite the Queen's Medical Centre," says Mark.
"It will accommodate six families while their children are having chemotherapy and radiotherapy. So it's a good local project. All of the ticket money will go that fund."
As well as Sam Beeton there are a variety of bands on the bill that will start late afternoon and run in to the night.
They include covers bands Blaze Of Glory (Bon Jovi), Basketcase (Green Day), The Phonics (Stereophonics), Modfathers (Paul Weller) and Baggy Trousers (Madness).
Nottingham's 13th Hour, who won The Confetti Battle of the Bands will also appear alongside The Joe Strange Band, original punks Resistance 77, plus Pistola Kicks, Silent Film Project and Against Spoken Words.
"It was important to have covers bands playing because we will have a lot of people going along who perhaps don't really go and see live music normally. And the songs will be familiar to them.
"There will be a few more musicians playing a few acoustics songs, coming on in between the bands as well."
He adds: "It's a unique night. George Akins, who owns Rock City, has said that it breaks the rules because it works really well when it shouldn't.
"It can be an emotional night because it's very personal to a lot of people. And those putting it on are putting a lot of heart and soul in to it.
"Rock City have been great. They don't take anything off us. They have offered help with the organising and they do have their own bar staff and we do ask for security but we like to do our own thing."
They have a lot of professionals on board, giving their services for free. Such as sound engineer Neil Allen, who is currently working with Girls Aloud. And the Eastwood-based outside broadcast company Arqiva, who have filmed everything from The Antiques Roadshow to Sky Sports. They'll be filming the show for a DVD to sell in order to raise further funds for Billy's Appeal.
Sam says: "If you are going to go to one gig this year make it this one."

Concert For Life, Rock City, Sunday April 12, tickets are £10 in advance from Rock City (call 0871 310 0000), The Old Volunteer pub in Carlton and Foreman's Bar in Forman Street.

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