A stellar lineup of music stars will be celebrating key workers at a special festival in Sunderland later this month – and there’s still time to get tickets.

Rocking in the Free World takes place at Herrington Park from 18 to 19 September, organised to thank the frontline staff for their hard work during the pandemic.

Originally planned as a one-day event, the festival recently expanded to a full weekend of entertainment, with Sunday’s One Love line up featuring huge names like celebrated DJs Gok Wan, Danny Rampling and alternative rock band Republica.

Best known as an award-winning tv presenter, Gok Wan has gone on to enjoy a successful music career playing at festivals and events around the country and recently launched Isolation Nation – a live DJ set streamed from his home.

Joining him on the Sunday are Republica – whose hit song Ready to Go has become an unofficial anthem for Sunderland FC – and multi-platinum rock band Toploader, known for top 10 singles Achilles Heel and Dancing in the Moonlight.

Also taking to the Esh Construction Monument Stage are disco favourites Horse Meat Disco, who have performed at many of the world’s top festivals, Danny Rampling – often credited as one of the founders of the UK club scene –, 20-piece orchestra, Ibiza in Symphony, and singer-songwriter Chintzy Stetson.

Music fans can also enjoy acts on the Beacon Stage, including Wayne C McDonald and Keith Martin, Sam Dickinson, Say What and Rusty, with a huge food and drink village, comedy and stalls elsewhere on the site.

One Love has teamed up with Pride Radio and aims to celebrate Pride around the UK, along with supporting akt – a charity helping young LGBTQ+ people who are homeless or struggling with their housing situation.

And those heading to the festival on Saturday can enjoy performances from award-winning headliner Emeli Sandé, Karen Harding, Sons of Eden and Christian Yu along with a string of top DJs including Fat Tony, Carly Wilford and Richard Tulip.

Tickets for One Love cost £10 each and are available at https://www.universe.com/events/one-love-tickets-5VBHFN?ref=Ticketmaster, while the Saturday remains free event.

Andrew Kennedy, who organised the festival with a friend, Ben Potts, is confident there is something for everyone across the weekend.

“Rocking in the Free World is the result of months of hard work and planning from everyone involved so it’s amazing to now be just weeks away from the event,” he said.

“We have some really incredible performers lined up across the weekend from a variety of genres, so we’re hoping there’ll be something to suit everyone’s tastes.

“We’re delighted to have been in the position to add a second day to the festival and we hope that people will come out and support the acts across both days because it’s sure to be a brilliant weekend.”

Freelance recruitment consultant Andrew came up with the idea for the festival because he saw at first hand the challenges facing the NHS through his wife Jan, a sister who heads up the emergency admissions unit at South Tyneside Hospital during the worst of the pandemic.

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

Further information is available at www.rockinginthefreeworld.co.uk

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