Singer Russell Watson to headline village charity music festival

BRITAIN’S best-selling classical singer is set to appear in South Gloucestershire at a charity’s outdoor festival.

Russell Watson is the headliner for the tenth annual Music in the Meadows open air concert in Iron Acton on July 1.

The event, organised by local charity Acton Aid, attracts hundreds of people to Iron Acton Parish Meadows every year.  

The bigger sister event on Friday June 30, Mash in the Meadows, will feature a mix of rock and pop music, led by Queen tribute band Flash.

Money raised will go to fund local good causes, and a bucket collection at both nights will raise money for St Peter’s Hospice.

Acton Aid spokesman Rob Taylor said: “To attract Russell Watson to our Music in the Meadows is a major coup for Acton Aid. 

“He will be appearing on a large professional stage, backed by the Bristol Millennium Orchestra. 

“We look forward to welcoming a large appreciative audience for a very special evening in Iron Acton Parish Meadows. 

“They can bring their own picnics or enjoy local foods from various stalls.

The finale of the Saturday evening will include Last Night of the Proms music followed by a spectacular fireworks display.”

Acton Aid is a not-for profit-organisation which is run entirely by volunteers from the village of Iron Acton.  

Past events have funded local projects including an all weather track at the Parish Meadows, play equipment and Christmas parcels to around 100 pensioners in the parish each year.

In the past the bucket collections have raised money for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and Ukrainian refugees.

Last year the two events were attended by 2,000 people, raising £3,500 for good causes.

Russell Watson has been described by the New York Times as a performer “who sings like Pavarotti and entertains the audience like Sinatra”.

He shot to fame after winning a local radio competition in 1999 – and his debut album The Voice was number one in the UK classical music album charts for 52 weeks.

He has performed for the royal family, the late Pope John Paul II, former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and the Emperor of Japan.

Watson has also collaborated with artists including Meatloaf, Lionel Richie, Paul McCartney, Lulu, Alexandra Burke, Sean Ryder and the late Luciano Pavarotti.

Flash are the UK’s leading Queen tribute band, and are returning after appearing at a previous Mash in the Meadow.

They will be supported by Joey the Lips – described as “the Nation’s funkiest ten-piece band”.  

Over the years they have supported big names including Bob Geldof & The Boomtown Rats, Will Young, UB40, Gabrielle, and Bananarama.

Acton Aid’s Richard Hunter said the tenth Mash could be the most successful ever.

He said: “We are so excited to showcase two world class acts. 

“The evening will be a wonderful start to the weekend. A full range of food stalls and a well-stocked bar will enable the audience to feast, drink and dance to their favourite music.”

Acton Aid was formed more than 40 years ago, and the twin concerts are their most high profile fund raising events.

Anyone in Iron Acton parish who needs assistance from the charity can apply for help through its website, where tickets to the Mash and Music in the Meadows are also on sale.