Since September 2019, an estimated 27 million acres of Australia have burned, 1.25 billion animals are thought to have perished, 1000s of individuals have been displaced, and 100s of communities have been destroyed. And, at the time of writing, Australia is still burning.
Although bushfires are a regular occurrence in the southern hemisphere nation, and indeed have played a major role in shaping the continent, a record-breaking heatwave combined with the long-lasting impact of global warming have caused the most recent Australian fires to be considered a global catastrophe. Despite the soothing impact of recent rain, it is important to understand that this disaster will not end when the last fire goes out, the effects will endure and there is a difficult road ahead for Australia’s wildlife and people. This has been the influencing factor that has spurred a coalition of Leicester musicians, promoters, and venues to stage Leicester Artists Relief for Australia (LARA), a multi-venue day of music performance aimed at raising some well-needed money and awareness.
Taking place Sunday 22nd March, the event will stretch over five of the city’s venues (Duffy’s Bar, Firebug, The Music Café, The Soundhouse, The Cookie) and will feature an array of local talent. Headlining the event is Leicester’s favourite musical uncle, Frank Benbini with his band Uncle Frank. Best known for bashing the skins with New York musical maestros The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Benbini’s side project has been described as “the music from the Jungle Book blended with Barry White’s lush soul vibe and some genius songwriting a la Burt Bacharach” (I Like Music).
Also topping the bill is local hero Jersey Budd. Well known both locally and nationally, Budd has toured extensively across the UK and Europe headlining his own shows and supporting the likes of Kasabian, The Enemy, John Martyn, and Turin Brakes.
Other notable artists on the bill include psychedelic prog trio GU-RU, high octane gypsy folk collective The Whiskey Rebellion, Hinckley ska stalwarts The Social Ignition, rising Black Country punk duo EARLS, The Brandy Thieves’ tattooed frontwoman Andrea Kenny, and hotly tipped singer-songwriter Michael Vickers. With 50 acts already announced, there is sure to be enough on offer to satisfy most musical palates.
LARA takes Sunday 22nd March 12pm. Tickets are priced at £15.00 (+ Booking Fee) and are available from here. Tickets can be exchanged for wristbands which will grant access to all venues. All proceeds of the event will be donated to Goongerah Wombat Orphanage and Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary.