GEMFEST is an indoor festival in March raising money for Brain Tumour UK/The Brain Tumour Charity. The event started as a surprise 30th birthday party for Gemma Wensley organised by her friends and family. Gemma has an inoperable Brainstem Tumour. In 2010 the condition was deemed terminal and she was looking at a matter of months to live. She retired from her job as a Staff Nurse at the RD&E and prepared for the inevitable.
The following months involved gruelling treatment and a long emotional rollercoaster ride. Then miraculously, the tumour started to shrink and Gemma improved drastically. Although she remains on chemotherapy she is still here 3 years on and full of life! To her friends and family she is a true inspiration and with their support and her strength she has been able to fight this cruel disease head on! Her success so far is proof of the benefits of being positive and never giving up.
Gemma and her good friend and fellow organiser Susan Luscombe came up with the idea of making “Gemfest” an annual charity event at the end of last year and have been working hard on it ever since. Although it won’t be held on Gemma’s actual birthday this time, it will still be in March which is Brain Tumour Awareness month. The first public event will be held on Sunday 31st March (Easter Sunday) at Exeter Phoenix Centre who have kindly offered the use of the whole building for free.
The festival will be divided into 2 sections. The daytime is a family orientated event and will be free of charge to attend. There will be a performing arts workshops (some of which need to be prebooked), arts and crafts, storytelling, stalls, films, facepainting, games, competitions and more. Some activities have a small charge to cover costs but most of it is free. This will run from 12-5pm.
The evening runs from 6pm-2am and will be tickets only. There will be 2 music stages with both local and national up and coming performers and a variety of genres. The main stage will finish up with an amazing live electronic act with live projection mapped visuals. DJ’s will also be running simultaneously on the terrace until 2am. There will be additional entertainment elsewhere in the building including magic, comedy and films so there really is something for everyone. Everyone involved has offered their time and skills absolutely free. All profits will go to Brain Tumour UK/The Brain Tumour Charity (Currently in the process of merging to form the largest brain tumour charity in the country).
For further information on the event or if you would like to be involved, please contact Gemma or Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact them here if you are interested in booking any of the performance arts workshops being held during the day. A full list of the line up is available on the website www.gemfest.org and by joining the Facebook group here. Follow the event on twitter @gemfestexeter.
If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation go to their just giving page here.
Tickets are £12 each in advance and will be £15 on the door.
An Earth Without People – Live Electronic Act with live projection mapped visuals.
Northern Uproar – Rock Band from Manchester
Jabbrock – Dub/Funk/Reggae
The Fabulous Beaver Brothers – Lively, funky covers of favourite tunes
Mozura – An acoustic Alt/Blues trio
Raining Globe – Local Indie Rock
The Acolytes – Local Acoustic Outfit
Jake Morley – Singer/songwriter
Antonio Lulic – Singer/Songwriter from London with help Of John Parker (Nizlopi) on the Double Bass
Sarah Howells from Paper Aeroplanes – Solo performance
Sound of Sirens – Acoustic Duet
Rev Hammer – Local Singer/Songwriter
Cydney Brown – Local Singer/Songwriter
Brian Monahan – Pianist
Count Vanderhoff and Noisemonkey