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A Magazine for Sheffield

Chopfest UK 2019: Join us for a party to remember

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Carl Hilton

The last four years of organising Chopfest have provided a burgeoning embarrassment of riches, with regard to who we'd like to play.

Aided by the advent of Delicious Clam, Hatch, Lughole and all those DIY places, the once-weary homogeneity of our grassroots music scene seems to have been conquered. We are enjoying a renaissance of the unusual, music unfettered by the adult-pleasing professionalism which de-punked the ethos of many a band in the quondam epoch.

There's been an outbreak of uncynical beatitude, which must confound the engineers of the pay-to-play culture and which should be the envy of those who endured it. The kids are more alright, and more proactive about celebrating it, than before. It's all for the hell of it, and no longer beholden to pub landlords who see an easy, volunteer-staffed way to sell beer. Simon would've approved, which is why Clam is a beneficiary as well as an organiser. As a man who once swapped his decent shoes for a homeless person's forlorn ones, he would also have been a supporter of the Foodhall project.

Simon, aka Doctor Chop, was a musical, scholarly, rollerblading friend to many. He passed away suddenly in 2015 in his adopted home in Taiwan. From down the road at Chesterfield, he made a place for himself in the city's music scene as a member of the Carol-Anne Showband while a student at Hallam. A talented guitarist, he also played with Jake Flowers, Double No No and Sid Caribou.

He and I became pals as soon as we met, 14 years ago. Many others would say the same thing. Virtually everyone I'm close to these days I met through Simon's expansive plexus of friendships. With his professorial stylings and his guitar-slinging, bon viveur ways, he was an indelible character.

Almost all bonds are surpassed by those we form with people we make music and art with, or those we simply collaborate with in the higher art of fun-having, in the philosophical babble of youth's ardency. A better, closer friend I have never had. I doubt anyone else has. These relationships are formed all the time, for life, within the community that creates and enjoys creativity in this city. Everyone should feel a part of that. We hope you will on 27 July. There will be beer and dancing.

Tickets are a fiver. Buy yours here.

Benjamin Cockayne

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