This December is the 30-year anniversary of the death of the amazing and unique Sylvester, it is also the 30th anniversary of the first ever World AIDS Day. In honour of the musicians we lost to AIDS and those living with HIV I am organising a charity concert for World Aids Day, Saturday 1st December 2018. The aim of the concert will be to raise awareness around HIV today and to raise funds for The Terrence Higgins Trust http://www.tht.org.uk to enable them to continue the work they are already doing in this field.
The Power of Love: will be a musical celebration of the lives of those we lost to AIDS and those living who are affected by HIV. The object is to raise awareness, particularly in young people, around HIV, and how the illness still affects people today. The aim is to showcase young, up-and-coming artists who have volunteered to help with this project. We are particularly focussed on artists whose fan-base may not ordinarily be involved in HIV awareness events, and artists from minority groups most affected by HIV like the LGBTQ and Black African community. The event will see different generations of people from the LGBTQ and Black & Ethnic communities coming together and celebrating the lives of those who paved the way for us now.
The concert: The concert itself will take place 7.30-10pm with a 20-minute interval. As well as bands, soloists and a gospel choir, there will be cabaret and guest speakers. The décor and clothing will be red, to honour the iconic red ribbon symbol for World Aids Day. Most of the songs will be about HIV or AIDS. Some will have been originally performed by people with HIV, and others have been chosen because they have inspired me over the years, and are about loss, struggle or love overcoming all.
The venue: We have managed to book the prestigious Tabernacle in Notting Hill for our concert - https://www.tabernaclew11.com which has seen performances from the likes of Adele, Lily Allen, Florence + the Machine, Jarvis Cocker, Take That, Jamie Callum, Ellie Goulding, Brian Eno…the list is exhaustive.
How you can help: The costs of putting on this concert are high - from hiring the venue, to rehearsal space. With your help, we aim to raise £4000 to cover everything, and ensure that all proceeds on the night can go to The Terrence Higgins Trust.
Anything you can donate would be truly amazing, and to say thank you, we have some special 'rewards' listed on the right of this screen.
My story : 26 years ago, I lost the love of my life, Tony, to AIDS. It is a loss that haunts me to this day, so much it inspired me to put on this concert.
I met Tony when I was 19 and he was 32 years old (1986). Tony was the most amazing person I ever met. Back then, our love was illegal as the age of consent for gay men was 21 (it was lowered to 18 in 1994 and equalised at 16 in 2001)! Around that time AIDS was just being reported about — risky times!
Tony was the funniest, cleverest most creative person I have ever met, even to this day. His star burned so amazingly bright! I was quite lost when I met Tony and he inspired and encouraged me to get back on track with my own creativity; eventually helping me through college and off to University to do my Fine Art degree. A dream I had almost given up on.
Tony educated me in so many ways and music was a big part of our relationship. It seems a fitting tribute to a man who put me on my path to where I am now, for which I am eternally grateful. I also lost many friends, people I admired and people who inspired me to AIDS: from Sylvester, to Freddie Mercury, to Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring. It was a horrific forest fire that tore through the gay creative community — the very community I had dreamed my whole life to be part of. I had danced next to Freddie Mercury & Kenny Everett in Heaven around the time I met Tony. These men were my heroes and I lost them all.
Why Music? Music was a big part of Tony & my relationship, both of us loving the people we lost to Aids. More recently I began to learn to sing and joined a gospel choir. Through this, I met inspirational artists and sang songs that reminded me of Tony and the loss I felt for him still. These songs inspired to do something positive and celebratory and some of the songs and artists I discovered along the way will appear in the show.
This Concert is for Tony, for Sylvester, for all of those who died, and for all of us affected by HIV.
We have some amazing artists appearing on the night: from rock legends Never The Bride to newcomers from this year's Pride Got Talent competition such as rock band Chasing Deer, overall winner Lamont Ricketts and Cabaret category winners Busty & Ginger. We have the popular electropop band Indigo Face ( recently winning the ‘1MEurope’ competition, as well as performing at the prestigious Primo Maggio Festival in Rome in front of 65,000 music lovers), Anin Rose, who combines pop music with gospel inspired vocals and modern production. The London International Gospel choir — a truly international and exceptional Choir with a wide repertoire and hugely varied performance experience. Newcomers; IMC (Independent Music Collective): an amazing collective of musicians and singers from all different backgrounds and disciplines, and Louise Carter (pianist and songwriter) whose EP White Feathers features some of LIGC choir as backing vocals. There will be dancing, drag queens and so much fun - don't miss it!