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The real Ed Sheeran performing in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich? Nearly

PUBLISHED: 19:00 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 20:12 14 June 2017

Jack Shepherd mingles with the crowd during his The Ed Sheeran Experience set at The Nearly Festival. Photo: Contributed

Jack Shepherd mingles with the crowd during his The Ed Sheeran Experience set at The Nearly Festival. Photo: Contributed

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This year’s Nearly Festival is benefitting from the Ed Sheeran factor, with the Suffolk singer-songwriter’s tribute act proving almost as popular as the real thing.

Victoria Goddard performs a Motown set at The Nearly Festival. Photo: ContributedVictoria Goddard performs a Motown set at The Nearly Festival. Photo: Contributed

Co-organiser Danny Banthorpe laughed: “I’ve booked the real Ed a few times for events before he was famous. It’s become quite a joke that I’m paying these tribute acts more than I paid the real Ed Sheeran.

“I think his mum’s going to be there selling her Ed range because we’ve partnered up with St Elizabeth Hospice this year. It’s a cause close to everyone’s heart in Ipswich and hopefully we’re going to help make lots of money for the charity.”

Asked what they wanted to see and what they were looking forward to most, a Sheeran tribute topped onlines polls followed by Queen.

Queen, Bon Jovi, Oasis, Ed Sheeran, Kings of Leon, Beatles, George Michael, Stevie Wonder and Motown play Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds, this Saturday and Sunday and Ipswich’s Holywells Park the following weekend.

Definitely Might Be as Oasis, performing at The Nearly Festival in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Photo: ContributedDefinitely Might Be as Oasis, performing at The Nearly Festival in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Photo: Contributed

The Bury St Edmunds dates also include Kaiser Chiefs, Blur, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. The Ipswich line-up, moved back a week so it didn’t clash with Saturday’s Elton John gig, also features tributes to Amy Winehouse, Stereophonics, Specials and Madness.

“It’s a bit of a mixed bag this year to keep everyone entertained; just feel good music everyone can sing along with and reminisce,” Danny said of the festival, now in its second year in both towns. Saturday in Bury St Edmunds has sold out with limited availability Sunday. Ipswich is selling well and last weekend’s Colchester debut sold out too.

The idea beind the event is it’s nearly a festival - not as big, not as loud and not as expensive as the real thing can be. As well as music, there are lots of kids activities to enjoy.

“We’ve changed directon with our kid zone. Last year we had a stage with a few acts through the day. It was often the case parents wanted to see a certain band and it clashed with the workshops so we’re making it more informal. We’re doing lots of different stations with princess sing alongs, dance classes, craft workshops, more interaction so kids can join in whenever they want. About half will have a small fee and the other half free.”

Gates open at 12.30pm, closing 9pm Saturday and 8pm Sunday both weekends.

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