The Sessions with IYE and Kimbo at GRUB Manchester 18 June 2022 

If you had told me when I was hooked up to a drip for my first chemotherapy in November 2020 to start the gruelling process of beating Breast Cancer that a year and half later I would have thrown an all day musical festival with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met through a free app on my phone, I wouldn’t have believed you 

I did it though because the strength the twitter tune army and the love from my family and friends made me determined to give back to them all, showcase the unsigned talent that is out there while raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support 

The day itself would not have happened if it wasn’t for Dan Hughes from IYE and his passion for bringing it to life with me, he is passionate, ambitious and full of ideas and has a genuine love for new music and making sure people hear it. 

We had already raised £5000 for Macmillan through our previous radio sessions but to be stood at GRUB Manchester in the company of people I’ve got to know with Paula, Laura Horton, Laura Jayne welcoming all the bands and artists into our event, it was a beautiful scene. When I looked around seeing people in our Sessions Tees designed by the amazing Tees Electric, it felt like something special was about to happen and truly it did

A massive thanks to all of the acts for putting up with me messaging them for the past six months or so in the run up to the event, for giving up their time for free to do this for us and making their travel arrangements from all over, including a Scottish contingent, meant the world 

Was so sad to not have Grace Calver with us and Lottie who took unwell the week of the event but in true twitter form, we reached out and were treated to Kallea , 12 year old from Manchester who blew us all away with a powerful vocal performance and Jace Campbell who jumped in at the last minute as the perfect addition with a whole lot of swag and stage presence to add to an already incredible line up. 

Kicking off the day in style , Andrew Johnson who also contributed to a design of each artist with Baba YB that they all got to take home , he was the perfect start to #TheSessions with experience and a vocal you can’t mistake to take to the stage, once he’d finished eating some of the backstage treats! 

Kallea stepped up next with her proud parents Stacey and Shane at the back of the hall and she really stopped us in our tracks with her vocal and has since bought a guitar; we hope to see her back next time with it in her hand. New track Happily Never After she sang with a confidence and a sweet sound 

Alex Spencer, who is one of the acts I’ve had a lot of messages about, a cheeky chappy with a smile who at such a young | age is taking stages by storm. Alex got up there and showed us all how it’s done and made a lot of people sit up and take note. One to watch for sure 

Ensuring we opened #TheSessions to local acts, delighted to then have Neeve Zahra on stage . I know many in the crowd were captivated by this girl, she was a vision in white with a voice that you have to hear to believe. A few comments that people were transported back in time and many Stevie Nicks comparisons being made, this girl deserves to go far and she was so appreciative of the opportunity 

An act I know I was so excited to meet and see was Perry Manning who treated us to a number of originals and the best cover of The Circle Ocean Colour Scene I think I will ever hear| sing to those I love at The Sessions we love you too Perry, the perfect mix of rock n roll and a number of tunes where the lyrics just hit you deep » 

The pesky kids were in the house and despite Ben having his arm bandaged up, it didn’t affect his banter on stage with the Revivarly gang, Connie with a power of a vocal and Lewis on the drums like a bat out of hell. My first time to see them but for others | know they commented on their growth as a band and their sound that echoed round the room with choruses of Shame on You , it was a true delight to hear. We were all very excited to meet the roadies too and thanks to them for raising three very polite lovely talented humans 

We all needed a bit of a calm and chill into the early evening and that was provided by the enchanting sound of Dr Fabola who local to area had joined us and was a great support in the planning stages visiting the venue. It was a pleasure to see him on the stage and he made us all smile with tales of his tunes and his excellent guitar fingerpicking style and soft vocals that had us in a wee chilled dream of bliss and calm

Jace Campbell stepped in to add the rock n roll element to the day at 6.30pm , he was buzzing about joining us and fired through some of his tunes and a couple of covers to get the crowd going and that he did , certainly wasnt Lost on that stage, what a performance 

Michael Forsyth came onto the stage with an emotional introduction and thanked everyone for their support to me through my diagnosis and all the emotion fell out of my eyes before he delivered a stunning set of originals. He might be my brother and I appreciate his sound but I caught a few others with tears in their eyes at his heartfelt lyrics and many commenting on his raspy vocals. Keep an eye out for more from him in 2022

Continuing with a run of Scottish artists our Silvi appeared with her guitarist Gary Ovens (formerly of The Begbies, check them out) What a performance from this pair! Silvi literally had the room in the palm of her hand, in awe of her vocal range, spitting rhymes and treating us to her new track Burning which will be released soon. Destined for big things 

There were many of the crowd ready now for a bounce and what better way to introduce PG Ciarletta onto the stage and boy did he bring it, volume up to 11 with his familiar tracks, crowd participation and everyone enjoying his tunes particularly when we got to The Sesh , that was a special moment in the crowd to see everyone singing it back to him. Won’t be the last we see of him in Manchester

Following PG we had half of The Outcharms with us for their acoustic set. Curtis on vocals with his trusty Ross beside him on guitar, they had hoofed it over from work in time to make sure they were making us smile and that they did. Stripped back you could hear they’ve gone from strength to strength over their recent tour and I cant wait to see them as a full band because I can just see that going off. | Lovely lads as well and are an act to not be missed 

We couldn’t come to Manchester and not have our Shed Project lads join us. Meeting Roy was everything I expected and his wingman Olly was a true gent and what a guitarist! They led us into the evening with many tales , Roy always has a story so along with a fitting song to his Sal, they bashed out our favourites and had the room in a chorus of Made of Stone which spread a lot of love around GRUB and was another moment to treasure 

Last but not least and our headline for the evening The Heavy North fresh off another set supporting Cast and The Boo Radleys they came to #TheSessions and had everyone transfixed by their acoustic arrangement on stage. They are a sight to behold and smoother than smooth , they play in perfect harmony and you can see the intricacy between them , incredible musicians and Kennys voice was melting all the ladies and the men in the room too..highlights had to be Darkness in Your Eyes which prompted a dance off, To the Wind I Go with that beautiful harmonica that later was auctioned for Macmillan

The most amazing moment was when a crowd of us danced to As Long as You’re Here with Me to end the night and those moments captured the very essence of why we were all there, the smiles, the laughter, the tears and mostly the togetherness of what can be achieved when a group of like minded people who some had never met, come together as a community and everyone felt part of something while those final notes played out… 

Music is power 

Thank you all for everything... same again next year 3 Kimbo xx