Free NHS festival headlined by Emeli Sandé announces new Sunderland date for 2021

Organisers of a free festival headlined by Emeli Sandé at Herrington Country Park have announced a new date for 2021.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 4:53 pm

Rocking In The Free World is the brainchild of friends Andrew Kennedy and Ben Potts, who came up with the idea last year of organising a free one day festival at Herrington Country Park for NHS Staff and essential workers.

Among those who agreed to take part for free was multi-award winning Sunderland-born singer, Emeli Sandé, who was lined up to appear at the event which was scheduled for May 22.

But now Andrew and Ben have taken the decision to move the event to September 18 with the original line up of Emeli, Karen Harding, Sons of Eden and Christian Yu on the main stage, as well as James Haskell, Carly Wilford and Charlie Davies in the dance tent – with new acts added to the line-up in the coming weeks.

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Emeli Sande is set to perform at the festival

“Because everyone is still very unsure when we will be allowed to have large gatherings again, we decided to make the decision to move the event until September,” said Andrew, a freelance recruitment consultant.

“We’re now working flat out to get other performers on board so it will be an event that will really be worth waiting for.”

The idea came to Andrew after seeing what his wife Jan, a sister at the emergency admissions unit at South Tyneside Hospital, was having to deal with on a daily basis.

He enlisted the support of Ben, whose band, North East rock tribute group, The Sons of Eden, played at his wedding and will also now be performing at the festival.

“We know it’s disappointing that it can’t take place on the date we originally scheduled but we really need it to be a day that people can come along and really celebrate,” said Andrew.

The organisers have also set up a Just Giving page to help raise £20,000 towards financing the event, which can be reached at

Anyone wanting tickets can register at the website at

They are free for essential workers as well as to anyone else who wants to attend so that people can celebrate together.

Anyone who already has a ticket which they booked for the original date can also now use this for September 18.

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