Rock festival to take a final bow

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AN annual Sunderland music festival celebrating the life of a hard-core rock fan will go out with one last blast.

Kennyfest is held in memory of Kenny Brown who died in 2006.

Kenny, who used a wheelchair due to spina bifida, played in North East heavy rock bands and was passionate about going to watch live music.

His widow, Melanie Brown, 46, said: “It’s brilliant because it means everyone is remembering him.

“He was a well-liked person, but I’m making it the last one because I want to be able to move one.”

Kenny died age 42, from volvulus, which is a bowel obstruction where a part of it has twisted over on itself.

Melanie said: “Even though he was in a wheelchair, he did not let anything stop him.

“We would go to gigs together and he would sit up in his wheelchair. He loved heavy rock music.”

The music fan – instantly recognisable with his meteor-emblazoned wheelchair – played in bands including Cap’n Flint and Fair Haven, playing bass guitar and acoustic.

He was also one of the first disabled driving instructors in the UK.

Melanie, who lives in Witherwack, said: “It’s great that all these bands come together every year and they give up their time. All the money raised is going to charity.”

The money from the festival will be donated to PDSA as Kenny was an animal lover, as well as some going to Macmillan Cancer Support and St Benedict’s Hospice.

“All of his friends who he played in bands with will be there,” added Melanie, a community care assistant.

“I’ll be sad that it’s the last one, but I think it will be a good thing so I can move on.”

Eighteen bands will play over the two days, including Black Magic, Vendetta and Bon Jovi Forever.

Kennyfest will be on September 29 and 30 at Independent, in Holmeside.

It costs £5 for one day or a weekend ticket is £8.

Full listings for the festival are on the website at www.kennyfest.co.uk.

Twitter: @sunechohannah