Monday, December 11, 2023

Legends Line Up for John Wetton Memorial Event

A memorial event is to be held in memory of John Wetton celebrated member of King Crimson, Family, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK and Asia, among others, on 3rd August 2023 at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex. 

Hosted by Prog Magazine editor Jerry Ewing, alongside Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Asia, YES),Steve Hackett(Genesis, GTR) and artist Roger Dean, the event is being organised by his wife Lisa Wetton, son Dylan Wetton, and QEDG Management.

Friends and family of the late singer and bass player will gather together to celebrate the life of the extraordinary musician, with an all-star line-up of legends performers, who were friends and collaborators of Wetton’s, will perform songs from throughout his incredible career.

The list of performers and special guests who wish to pay tribute to the legendary Wetton is growing by the day, but so far boasts (in alphabetical order): Chris Braide (Downes Braide Association), Roger Chapman (Family), Mel Collins (King Crimson, Alan Parsons Project, Chris Squire, Roger Waters), Jim Cregan (Family, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Rod Stewart, Katie Melua), David Cross (King Crimson), Chris Difford (Squeeze), Geoff Downes, Steve Hackett, Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Dave Kilminster(John Wetton, Keith Emerson, Steven Wilson, Roger Waters), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), John Mitchell (John Wetton, Icon, It Bites, Fr*st), Martin Orford (John Wetton, IQ, Jadis), Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, Roxy Music) , Jay Schellen (YES, Asia), Billy Sherwood (YES, Asia) and Rick Wakeman (YES, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe),Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash, Snakecharmer) – all of whom will be supported by The Paul Green Rock Academy.

The sheer diversity of talent listed above, frankly astounds. Listing John Wetton’s own credentials is impressive enough, but when you consider those who will be coming to pay their respect in live performance it’s quite fantastic – We’re talking stars who began played on hit singles back in the 1960s to acts that have filled stadiums. Few festivals can boast this kind of lineup, what a sad pity that we had to lose John Wetton for an event like this to take place.

Wetton died on 31st January 2017, as a result of complications due to cancer.  He spent his last days being cared for by the charity Macmillan Caring Locally, at the Macmillan Unit, Christchurch Hospital in Dorset.  As a gesture of recognition towards his fans who supported Wetton right up until his death, his family and management have decided to allow this private event to be live streamed so that it can be enjoyed by fans across the globe.  They have also identified the memorial as being the perfect opportunity to highlight the fantastic work done by Macmillan Caring Locally and to raise much-needed funds for the creation of a special hospice suite dedicated to the star.

Lin Sharp, Fundraising and Communications Director for the charity commented “It was a privilege to care for John in the final days of his life and we are so grateful to his wife, Lisa, for her continued support.  All monies raised will go to fund a room as a legacy to John, named The John Wetton Suite. A massive thank you to you all for making this possible.” 

John Wetton’s son Dylan went on to say: “I am delighted and humbled that so many legendary artists who worked with my dad over the years have agreed to come together both to honour him and raise vital funds for the charity which supported him during his last days.”

It’s also important to recall, the list of performers above, only includes those who have committed their time and talent at the time of writing, and may well grow.

Keyboard player Geoff Downes commented: “I am very excited to be a part of the upcoming John Wetton Tribute.  As you all know, I had a very close and unique writing partnership with John, and we were dear friends, brothers and band mates for many years.” 

Tickets for the live stream can be purchased now with all proceeds going to Macmillan Caring Locally.  In an effort to raise further funds, a special online auction will run alongside the evening’s proceedings boasting some unique lots, including a guitar owned by Wetton himself. 

This promises to be an incredible, once-in-a-life time event and it is hoped that fans will support it generously by buying live stream memorial tickets as well as bidding on the various auction lots. 

Dylan Wetton went on to say “I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my dad’s life and the incredible musical legacy he has left behind.  It’s going to be an amazing night, a unique event – which is exactly what my dad deserves.”   Downes agreed “To honour John’s legacy in this way with so many of his former musicians, colleagues and family gathered together, shows just what an enormous amount of love, gratitude and respect so many of us held for John and his music.  It’s going to be a wonderful celebration spanning the whole of John’s amazing career. I am very much looking forward to it. See you all there.”

Live stream tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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