Youth charity event BENefit Gig is taking place for the seventh time next week, inspired by a local teenage music fan who would have turned 21 in March.
14 year old Aldridge student Ben Sambrook passed away in February 2014 following years of fighting a brain tumour with gruelling surgery and treatment. Just 10 days before his death, his friends held the first BENefit Gig at Aldridge School to raise awareness of the disease and money for brain tumour charities.
Ben’s wish was for the gig to continue - to raise money and to give young people the opportunity to showcase talent and to have a local, safe night out. The annual event attracts audience members, their families and bands from schools and colleges all around the region, with musicians this year ranging from ages 13 - 20.
Ben’s mum Sharon Sambrook said “This has become an established event and it keeps selling out, so for Ben’s 21st we decided to have a larger venue to really celebrate his beautiful legacy and so opted for Sutton Coldfield Town Hall. We love that for many of the musicians it is the biggest crowd they have ever performed to and also a first gig for many of the audience. The promo and events team are all young people who want to get involved in the music industry, events and fundraising.”
The show will be held on Friday 13th March at Sutton Coldfield’s Town Hall. Tickets, priced at £8 are available from the Town Hall’s website and box office, with all profits going to Brain Tumour Support. As well as Ben’s birthday month, March is National Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
This year, 17 year old Connie Mason, a student at Lichfield’s South Staffordshire College and close friend of the Sambrook family has led the promotional campaign for the event and worked with local musicians get a 3 hour show together.
The line up includes rock band Tyrants, indie / pop band Mosaic from Aldridge / Brownhills, regular BENefit Gig band Underground Storm, Pelsall band Magnalium and Grae Taylor-Morris of Aldridge School. A BIMM (British & Irish Modern Music Institute) band led by Isabel Abbott is set to be another highlight of the show. Another BIMM pupil performing is Ben’s 17 year old sister Emily Sambrook who became interested in performing through BENefit Gig. She has now written and recorded a range of acoustic and pop tracks, and uses her experiences of losing Ben as an influence in her writing.
Sharon continued “To enable the musicians to have the best possible performance experience, we are continuing to use Wolverhampton based sound company LNP Sound. They are so good with the bands and introduce them to a very professional way of working."
Local businesses and individuals are supporting the event including Mocha Coffee Lounge in Streetly. Some are offering prizes for a raffle and tombola, including tickets to Rock the Beacon, and rehearsal space at Robannas Studio in Birmingham. To donate prizes from pens and Easter eggs to larger prizes, contact Julie Rennison at Sutton Town Hall.
Ticket information can be found on the gig’s Facebook page ‘BENefitGig’, www.ticketor.com/townhall or call the box office on 0121 296 9543.