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Four popular local artists return to Godiva Festival as part of 20th anniversary celebrations

Published: Wednesday, 01 August 2018

Alasdair Beckett-King

Four local artists are set to take to the stage at Godiva Festival this year, in recognition of their appearances over the 20 years of the annual event.

The Neville Staple Band , Hazel O’Connor, Sunny J of Offlicence and Jimmy Kemp and are all set to take to the stage once again this year.

The Neville Staple Band will take to the Main Stage on Sunday, just before Ronan Keating. Regular Godiva Festival attendees will be familiar with Neville, who has performed several times at the festival, and remains a much-loved part of the festival and Coventry’s musical history. The singer is best known for being part of Coventry’s two-tone ska band, The Specials.

Hazel O’Connor last performed at Godiva Festival in 2010, and is a Coventry-born singer and performer. She is best known for her hit song ‘Will You’, and for starring in the 1980 film, ‘Breaking Glass’. Since then, she has performed twice at Glastonbury Festival and many venues the UK, including Wembley Arena.

Offlicence were scheduled to play at Godiva Festival 2012, which was unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather, and played in the city centre later that year. Sunny J of Offlicence and his band, is now set to return to perform on Godiva Festival’s Main Stage, having performed alongside Panjabi MC in last year’s Rhythm Tent.

Sunny J and Hazel will both also perform on Sunday’s Main Stage.

Jimmy Kemp, better known as one half of ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ is a singer from Coventry. Jimmy Jimmy were well known around the city in the mid-1980s, and he still regularly performs around the city centre. Jimmy Jimmy first performed at the first ever Godiva Festival in 1998, and organisers were keen to invite Jimmy back to perform once again. He will open Godiva Festival on Friday evening on the Main Stage.

Lee House, Events Manager at Coventry City Council, said: “2018 marks a special year for Godiva Festival as it’s the 20th anniversary, and we really wanted to pay homage to some of our local talent and artists that have been so popular in the past.

All four of the artists have always proved popular with Coventry audiences and we thought it would be a fantastic tribute to them and to the musical heritage we have in the city to invite them back to perform again.”

Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, added:

“Godiva is one of the biggest dates in the city’s festival calendar.  Over the years Godiva has presented artists and bands from a range of popular music genres to the people of the city and many other visitors.  The festival has also become an important platform for celebrating diverse musical talent from Coventry.

“It is brilliant that we are bringing back the brightest stars to have come from Coventry.  National icons and bands that have contributed to the British music scene over decades and who have promoted Coventry on the global stage. 

“Coventry is a music city, with a rich musical heritage.  So it is fantastic to see our artists being celebrated at this year’s Godiva.”

Also confirmed is Godiva Festival’s comedy line up, including Matt Green, Jay Foreman, Howard Read, Keith Farnan, Cerys Nelmes, Eshaan Akbar and Alasdair Beckett-King, which will take place in Friday night’s Paradise Tent.

Godiva Festival 2018 will take place from 31 August – 2 September in the city’s War Memorial Park and continues to be the biggest free family music festival in the UK, with last year’s event attracting 179,000 visits.

Coventry Godiva Festival is brought to you by Coventry City Council, in association with Free Radio and Jaguar Land Rover and supported by Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, Coventry University, Fargo and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

To keep up to date with the latest news for Godiva Festival, head to www.godivafestival.com or @godivafestival on Facebook and Twitter.