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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: Contributed Victoria 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: Contributed Definitely 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.

Kevin Kennedy will forever be best known as Coronation Street’s loveable loser Curly Watts, but he is also a stage star. His latest role is an all-star musical version of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends, which allows him to rekindle his love of this region.

Fresh from being ravaged by hunger and sand-flies on Channel 4’s Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, Shazia Mirza returns with a show about lies and truth - or are they the same thing these days?

The 80s are officially back, with Fame The Musical coming to the Ipswich Regent later this year.

The cast of new musical An Officer and a Gentleman has been revealed, featuring top West End talent.

Taj Mahal chef Sayid swaps the kitchen for the stage in The Chef Show, part of PULSE presents.

Crazy for You at the Ipswich Regent, all week until Saturday.

Energetic and intense, dynamic and diverse; it’s a fast paced musical and lyrical journey for Teddy and his young girlfriend Josie.

They say never work with children or animals but Norwell Lapley Productions do both very well in bringing Rod Campbell’s timeless children’s book Dear Zoo to life on stage, writes MICHAEL STEWARD.

Known best perhaps for playing Brookside’s Lindsey Corkhill, Claire Sweeney’s causing just as much trouble as bridezilla Irene in the classic musical Crazy For You, at the Ipswich Regent from Tuesday.

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