Dementia AwareFest – Rock bands play for a good cause. Part one

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Station Bar, Cannock 2024

Saturday 20th February

Review and photographs by Linda McDermott

With a four-hour drive under our belts, we were in Cannock for a small festival in aid of Dementia Awareness. This little festival came into creation in 2013 when Dave Evan’s was asked to do a one-off charity fundraiser. He took up the challenge and Dementia AwareFest was borne. This one-time event has now been going on every year since!

People living with this debilitating condition are predicted to rise to over one million this year, every penny counts, and everyone involved in putting this fantastic day together made sure we all had a good time while raising as much as possible.

With a stellar lineup featuring a wide range of rock genres, I was looking forward to hearing all eight bands. Unfortunately, White Skies had to pull out at the last minute due to personal reasons but undeterred the other bands stepped up and added another couple of songs to their sets to fill the gap.

Considering the day started at 3 pm there was a great crowd in to hear Pete K Mally compete for the day.

Bang Bang Firecracker

The first band to take to the stage were Bang Bang Firecracker, a three-piece heavy rock band from Stoke-on-Trent. They had the task of warming up the crowd and this they did nicely. Having never seen the band before I was impressed and particularly loved ‘GFY’ (Go f*** yourself) ‘Set the World Ablaze’ and their last song ‘Father Genocide’. Along with their cracking songs they included a toast to Motorhead and went on to play ‘No Class’ getting a lively round of applause in appreciation. What a start.


Next up were the great heavy rock band Kinstrife. With one album out, ‘Fools and Monsters’ they played a blinding set from the album. Mike has a very distinctive voice that is full of deep rich tones that just work with the heavy rock music they belt out. Their latest single ‘Sticks and Stones’ is a punchy number that gets the crowd nodding along. ‘Get Away’ was even heavier and that along with ‘Make Me’ are my favourites of the set.

Mike actually worked in dementia care for four years and he dedicated the song ‘Any Given Day’ to all those who have been affected by it. There was also a tribute to the forces with ‘Ground Hammer’. In my opinion, they have hints of Pearl Jam and Disturbed running through their whole set, so these guys just can’t do any wrong in my eyes. Musically and vocally, they are top-notch, and I wasn’t the only one in the crowd who thought so.

Set List


Sticks and Stone

Get Away


Rise and Fall


Any Given Day

Ground Hammer

Make Me

Adam and the Hellcats

I’ve never seen this band before, but a few friends said they were brilliant, so I was expecting them to be, no pressure! With three albums and eight singles under their belts and on the music scene for over five years, Adam and the Hellcats know how to get a crowd on their feet.

There was a great mix of songs in there with lead vocals shared between Adam and Cirwen. Stand-out songs for me were ‘Demons’ the great rock and roll number ‘Look What the Cat Dragged In’, and ‘Peace Love and Sausage Roll’ that had everyone singing along, and with a little ale now consumed, I have to say there was a few bum notes coming from the table behind me.

I have to agree with my friends who said they are brilliant because they are.

They have a new album coming out called ‘Nine Lives’ so watch out for that.

Set List


Queen & Country

Black Witch Bomb

F*** Your Brain

Cover Band

Hot Tin Roof



Go Easy

Cat Dragged In

Peace Love and Sausage Roll

Circus 66

Playing songs from their debut album ‘Follow the Black Crow’, they gave it some welly with Annabelle’s powerhouse vocals vibrating through the room. They even gave the crowd the first play of their new single ‘Save The Damn World’ from their up-and-coming album, having just started a crowdfunding page to help launch it. If you’d like to help with that follow the link below.

It is great to see so many strong female singers pushing to the fore in the heavy rock scene and Annabelle is one of them. The band have some highly impressive songs to get your ears around, and I can’t wait to hear the new album when its released. That’s what’s so great about these wee festivals, you discover some incredible bands.

Set List

Replace the Pain

Jekyll and Hyde

A Little Piece of Magic

Save the Damn World

Live for the Day

Little Texas Princess

Take a Shot


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