ORGANISERS of a free concert to celebrate the work of frontline staff have teamed up with three charities to raise awareness of their vital work.

Rocking In The Free World will take place at Herrington Park on May 22 2021, with a number of artists donating their time for free as a thank you to key workers during the Covid-19 crisis – including award winning headliner Emeli Sande.

Andrew Kennedy and Ben Potts, who are pulling together the event, have now partnered with Mental Health Matters, Dementia UK and the Red Sky Foundation, which supports people with heart problems in the North East and beyond.

The concert started as a way for Mr Kennedy to show thanks wife, Jan – who heads up the emergency unit at South Tyneside Hospital – and quickly snowballed into a much bigger project to reach more of the essential staff in the region.

Along with Emeli Sande, the line-up includes Mr Potts’ tribute band The Sons of Eden, singer-songwriter Karen Harding and South Shields-based singer Christian Yu, who is also a nurse.

The pair have recently announced the addition of a DJ stage, featuring Katie Goodman, James Haskell, Carly Wilford and Charlie Davies.

Organisers have plans for a funfair, bars and street food vendors, with buses to transport concert-goers to the site from Darlington, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham and Sunderland.

Mr Kennedy said: “We’ve had such a positive response from everyone who has heard about the concert and it’s set to be a really fantastic day celebrating the work of our frontline staff – with even more still to be announced.”

Claire Hall, of Mental Health Matters, is delighted to be involved in the event and said: “The concert provides an opportunity for us to show our appreciation for key workers, offer our support and use our experience in mental health to promote positive wellbeing.”

The organisers have a Just Giving page to raise £20,000 towards the event. To donate