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Community spirit hailed as 'emotional' K Fest The Finale rocks Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 18:33 28 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:33 28 May 2017

Clare Chenery-Down and her brother Matt Down perform as Sibling Rivalry at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

Clare Chenery-Down and her brother Matt Down perform as Sibling Rivalry at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

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Dozens of people have flocked to enjoy a popular music festival, which is rocking Lowestoft seafront for the final time today (Sunday).

Event organisers K’s father Roy Down (centre) and K's sister Clare Chenery-Down (right) with brother Matt Down (left) at K Fest The Finale. Pictures: Mick HowesEvent organisers K’s father Roy Down (centre) and K's sister Clare Chenery-Down (right) with brother Matt Down (left) at K Fest The Finale. Pictures: Mick Howes

K Fest The Finale is under way at The Aquarium and Zoo on Claremont Pier in Lowestoft – with the charity music festival set to continue until late tonight.

With 20 bands playing 12 hours of continuous music across two rooms – The Aquarium and Zoo – entry is free.

And emotions have been running as the bands perform in memory of Karen Sturgess – known as K – who lost her fight against breast cancer in June 2008.

Performances on the main stage at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick HowesPerformances on the main stage at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

Marking a tenth celebration in style, the festival is aiming to “finish on a high,” according to organisers.

The festival has been organised by K’s father Roy Down, sister Clare Chenery-Down, and friend Linzi Moore. They have been ably assisted by K’s niece Emily Down and nephew-in-law Ashley Powell, as the festival has raised thousands of pounds for the Sandra Chapman Centre and Louise Hamilton Centre, both based at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, over the years.

Earlier this afternoon Clare Chenery-Down and brother Matt Down surprised their father with a “secret” 45-minute set as the duo Sibling Rivalry. Tonight, at 9pm, they will unite on the main stage once more with Mr Down and family friends as the family band ‘Alive’ perform their final gig.

The crowds at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick HowesThe crowds at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

Mrs Chenery-Down said: “My sister set up the first K Fest in May 2008 and performed with her bass guitar, just weeks before she passed away. One of her wishes was for the festival to continue every year and any money raised to be donated to the organisations that helped her through her difficult illness.”

Addressing an appreciative audience this afternoon, Mrs Chenery-Down said: “Thank you to everybody who has supported us over the past 10 years. It is a very emotional day, but this is extra, extra special as it is the last-ever K Fest.”

Speaking after Clare and Matt had surprised him with the 45-minute set, a shocked, but very proud Mr Down said: “It was a complete surprise to me. Today is very emotional, a mixture of emotions, but I am very proud of them.

The crowds at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick HowesThe crowds at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

“I thought they did extremely well and really well done for keeping it secret from me.”

Reflecting on the past decade, and the thousands of pounds that the festival has raised for the charities, Mr Down said: “I have very mixed feelings, mixed memories. We always gets lots of people and the main thing is everybody has a good time. Whatever money we get always goes to the charities what we support.

“This is the last year and we’ll make sure everything goes - and come 9pm we will all be up there, doing our big bit – that will be emotional being the last one.”

Performances on the main stage at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick HowesPerformances on the main stage at K Fest The Finale in Lowestoft. Pictures; Mick Howes

He added: “Thank you to the whole community for supporting it year on year and raising all the money. We have people who come every year and we always have a good turnout. People do return and enjoy it, and a couple of the bands who performed at the first K Fest are here today having reformed.”

Hopeful of raising their biggest-ever total, Mrs Chenery-Down said: “We are hoping we can raise more money than ever today - that will top it all for us. “We have some fantastic raffle prizes, generously donated by local businesses and we thank everyone for their fantastic support.”

The poster marking K Fest The Finale. Pictures: Mick HowesThe poster marking K Fest The Finale. Pictures: Mick Howes

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