Do you live in london? Do you love NWOBHM? Do you want 6 bands for a tenner at Borderline? Of course you do, so have a read of this interview with Mearfest organiser Brian Mear. Not only will you see he has put together a great bill for your early 80s reminiscence, but the proceeds go to an amazing cause. Please have a read and check out the festival link at the bottom of this page.
Book your day off work in August and splash out the £10 from your next wage. You will not regret it.
Hi Brian. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak to us. We really appreciate it. Now, MearFest is now in its fourth year, did you see this as being an ongoing thing when you set it up?
“I initially set it up just after my mum died of cancer. I wanted to raise some money for the hospice she was in . I just went out and asked for help. I got a nice pub and huge field for a venue. I was given a caravan which I put on site . I took a week off my job as a paramedic, and put marquees up. Built a stage, got a P.A and lighting rigged, got posters, back stage passes and banners done, got 14 local bands to play over three days, contacted radio stations and local press, and put the first Mearfest on for a fiver for three days. The whole thing cost me £34.20 to do, all on my old Nokia phone. I lived in the old caravan for a week and we raised £2.000.”
Can you tell us your thinking when you originally set this up. It was obviously emotionally driven.Was it a way of dealing with the situation?
“Totally. I was at a very low point in my life. My mother had just died after a very long and painful illness, my marriage had broken down, and I had nowhere proper to live. The festival was something for me to focus on to create something positive.”
The focus has changed now due to the your circumstances. Can you tell us a bit about the background?
I have raised money for various cancer charities for many years through putting on rock nights, and then the Mearfests, raising £30.000 in total. When we lost our daughter Molly, full term, we were both totally devastated. I did no more fund raising for two years. I then thought we could do some good by raising money for this cause.”
I have to say I was completely taken aback when I read about The Willow Support Group. Just the fact that something so important was unkown to me, as it will be to many people. I think it is fantastic that you are highlighting this brilliant service, and the people involved. Can you tell us a little more about the amazing services they provide?
“They are a tiny charity who help fund a special room at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. It’s for couples expecting a still born baby. They help provide an additional bed for partners, a special cooling cot so you can have the baby with you all night. Take hand prints ( Our logo for Mearfest) a snippet of hair, take photos etc. It helps a great deal with such a traumatic experience.”
Personally, I think the rock and metal fans are very much a family, and one of the most heartfelt people you could meet. Every year through music and gigs I am introduced to more and more people. Do you get a good deal of support from the fans?
Finally, what would be your dream for the festival? What would make you the proudest?
“It’s already exceeded my initial expectations . I’d love for it to continue to grow. It’s named after my mum, so I’d like to keep it going in her memory as well as Molly’s . I’d like to put on every band who’s offered to play over at least two days, if not three.”
Once again, thank you for your time, and also for the wonderful job you are doing. It makes me love this music business that bit more and I really feel you are doing something very special here…keep up the good work.
For more Mearfest info and tickets click HERE
Interviewer: Ritchie Birnie