Blues battle hits right note for Veterans in crisis

May 15, 2012

Veterans Aid was the talk of The 100 Club when the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues was fought in the famous Oxford Street live music venue.

The nationwide competition run by Tourism New Brunswick was aimed at selecting a band to appear at a Canadian blues festival later this year.  Winners 24 Pesos will now take part in the 2011 Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada between 13-15 September.

The 100 Club was founded in 1942 and its heritage is legendary. Over the years it has hosted performances from artists as eclectic as The Sex Pistols, Muddy Waters, Hugh Masakela, Oasis, Travis, The Clash, Nico, Sinead O’Connor, Paul Weller and The Rolling Stones.

Proceeds of the 150 tickets on public sale, augmented by a collection on the night, raised £920 for Veterans Aid which was represented by Hugh Milroy, Bethan Harris and Glyn Strong.

Organiser Lee George said “We had over 100 entrants for the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues and we heard 30 live over five regional heats. The six acts which we saw on the night were the winners of each of the five heats plus the ‘peoples choice’ which was chosen by on-line voting from the two best runners-up from each of the heats.

“This is the first time we’ve run this competition and it was done to raise the profile of New Brunswick in general and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton in particular.

“We selected VA because we decided to put tickets on sale to the public rather than just give them away, in the hope that we could also provide some benefit to others. I shortlisted three smaller charities which I felt did not get enough coverage, one of which was VA. Lisa Gagnon Norris, who worked for the new Brunswick Government in the UK,   made the final selection. The selection timing was fortuitous as the night before I provided her with the shortlist she was travelling on a tube and got into conversation with an ex soldier who had recently returned from Afghanistan and who was having some problems. After that VA seemed the obvious choice!”

CEO Dr Hugh Milroy said afterwards “It was an amazing night; not only were we bowled over by the generosity of the organisers and individual donors, but by the wonderful atmosphere and superb entertainment. Many people had paid a lot just to be there so we didn’t expect anyone to dig deep – it was heartwarming to receive so much. Every penny will go to those who come to us for help.”