Established legends and rising stars of Liverpool’s music scene are coming together at The Philharmonic Hall ahead of World AIDS Day 2016 for a spectacular fundraising event, set to celebrate the lives and ongoing legacies of the many people living with HIV.
Following on from the success of last year’s sell-out show, The Celebration of Life concert on Thursday 3 November will bring together some of the city’s most passionate performers to generate vital support for Sahir House, Liverpool’s dedicated HIV Charity.
The event also seeks to help people overcome the stigma surrounding HIV, and encourage everyone to recognise that although HIV is a very real threat, it can be easily prevented if everybody takes the responsibility into their own hands.
The night is being curated by Thomas Lang and Jennifer John, local musicians and patrons of Sahir House. The event is part of Homotopia, a local and international LGBT arts festival.
Thomas Lang, musician and event organiser, said:”This is more than just a concert. As the name indicates, this is a celebration of life, an affirmation of everything people are and everything they can achieve despite what stands in their way.
“We need to remind people that HIV has not gone away. In 2015, there were approximately 133,000 people in the UK living with HIV. One in four of those are undiagnosed. It is important to know your HIV status, and for that to happen we need to overcome the stigma. This night is a big step in that direction.
“All the artists have volunteered to perform free of charge to show their support for Sahir House, which I’m extremely grateful for. Now we would love for the public to follow suit and show their support by coming along to what is set to be a brilliant night of poetry, music and performance – all the things that make life worth celebrating.”
The event will be hosted by Gerry Potter, the Liverpool-born poet, director, actor and author. Gerry will be introducing the headline act: Tommy Scott, lead singer of Space (pictured), with his bandmate Phil Hartley on bass.
They will be joined by Paul Hemmings from The LA’s and The Lightning Seeds, up-and-coming LIPA singer-songwriter Satin Beige, and Martin Smith from Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band.
Also on the bill are the award-winning Sense of Sound Singers. Rising soul star Mersey Wylie will be performing, and the bluesy Connie Lush will be bringing her gritty, powerful vocals to the packed hall.
The event will also raise awareness of National HIV Testing week, encouraging everybody to overcome the outdated stigma surrounding HIV and take prevention into their own hands. This ties in with the theme for World AIDS Day 2016: ‘HIV stigma: Not retro, just wrong.’
Serena Cavanagh, Health Awareness lead at Sahir House, said:”In the 32 years that Sahir House has been running in Liverpool, support and treatments available to those living with HIV have improved dramatically. Unfortunately, however, the attitude towards it remains largely the same. People view it as something that we don’t have to worry about anymore, or perhaps something too frightening to think about.
“The reality is that HIV is still very much around, but that it’s not all doom and gloom; treatments have improved to the point where a diagnosis is by no means a death sentence. What we want people to recognise is that they need to take the matter into their own hands by not being afraid to get tested, and by taking precautions to prevent HIV spreading further.
“The Celebration of Life concert is a wonderful way of remembering everything worth living for, and a reminder to take the necessary steps to ensure that we can keep on living. It’s also a heartfelt ode to those who have passed away, and a celebration of the long-lasting legacies they left behind.”
The Celebration of Life concert will take place at The Philharmonic Hall Music Room, Thursday 3rd November, 7.30pm.