Former BBC executive pays tribute to West Sussex village in worldwide broadcast

Broadcaster Matthew Bannister gathered 15 of the UK’s top folk artists for a music festival centred on his home in Amberley.

Matthew Bannister broadcasting from home for the Folk on Foot Front Room Festival
Matthew Bannister broadcasting from home for the Folk on Foot Front Room Festival

The Folk on Foot Front Room Festival was seen on YouTube and Facebook, putting the tiny West Sussex village in the spotlight around the world.

The 7½-hour festival on Easter Monday had more than 40,000 views and raised £103,844, to be divided equally between the charity Help Musicians UK and the artists who took part.

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During the show, Matthew spoke from his home in Rackham Road and paid tribute to Amberley’s 'wonderful sense of community in these difficult times'.

He thanked Colin Woods, Lee Stace and Tina Bishop at Amberley Village Stores, and Lee Forbes and Sophie Cooper at the Sportsman Inn 'for the amazing work they’ve been doing to keep us all fed and supplied'.

Musicians included Seth Lakeman, Karine Polwart, Steve Knightley, Peggy Seeger and Julie Fowlis, performing 30-minute sets in their front rooms to raise money for musicians who cannot work during the coronavirus lockdown.

Matthew launched his Folk on Foot podcast in August 2018, bringing together his three passions, folk music, walking and telling stories in sound.

In each episode, he walks with a leading folk artist in the landscape that has inspired their music, and they sing and play on location.

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