EastFest is back! Event with Rock in Mind returns

Meldreth guitarist Richard East died by suicide last year - and now EastFest is being held in his me

EastFest is being held in memory of musician Richard East, who died by suicide three years ago. - Credit: Archant

The East Anglian rock community is once again coming together for a music festival in aid of mental health and suicide prevention, in memory of a Meldreth guitarist.

Following the success of 2019’s event which raised £7,500 for charity, this year’s EastFest – Rock in Mind will again take place on a five-acre site at the Coach House at Flint Cross, on Saturday, September 18, and will run from 12 noon until midnight.

EastFest was established following the tragic suicide of rock guitarist, Richard East, who took his own life in 2018.

Seven well-known rock bands from across the east - many comprising former friends and bandmates of Richard - have joined forces to celebrate the life of their friend and stage a musical extravaganza embracing all genres of blues, rock and soul music from the past 40 years.


The EastFest team at The Coach House in Flint Cross. Picture: Steve Mallen

The EastFest team at The Coach House in Flint Cross. Picture: Steve Mallen - Credit: Archant

The festival site will have full parking, catering and entertainment amenities and is designed as a family event. All the bands are performing for free and there will be many other entertainments and activities on the day.


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Richard’s wife, Sandra East, commented: “As with all suicides, the loss of my dear husband three years ago was incredibly traumatic.

"His loss highlighted the curse of mental illness and suicide in our community. I was determined to honour his memory and do all I can do improve mental health services and support for those touched by suicide.

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"EastFest 2019 was a huge success, despite the weather and we are once again looking forward to welcoming everybody back.”

All proceeds from EastFest 2021 will go to the Zero Suicide Alliance, which was co-Founded by Richard’s friend, Steve Mallen.

Edward Mallen was just 18 when he took his own life in February 2015. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Mal

Edward Mallen was just 18 when he took his own life in February 2015. Picture: Courtesy of Steve Mallen - Credit: Courtesy of Steve Mallen

Steve - who is also from Meldreth - lost his 18-year-old son Edward to suicide in 2015.

The ZSA is a local and national charity which seeks to transform our understanding of mental illness and suicide. Since inception in 2018, more than 1.7million people have accessed the free, online ZSA suicide prevention training and awareness programme.

Steve Mallen said: “The COVID pandemic has really challenged the mental health and wellbeing of our community and society at large.

Steve Mallen said he will not rest until better treatment of mental illness is commonplace.

Steve Mallen said he will not rest until better treatment of mental illness is commonplace. - Credit: Archant

"Demand for mental health support is rising in spite of increased government investment and we remain deeply committed to supporting all those affected by psychological trauma and suicide. EastFest is a marvellous opportunity to have fun and enjoy quality music while raising valuable funds to help those in need.”

Tickets for EastFest 2021 cost £10 and are available from the Cambridge Corn Exchange Box Office.

Under 18s go free and tickets will be £15 on the door on the day. For more information see www.eastfest.live/ and www.zerosuicidealliance.com.


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