Our first Smile Festival took place in the summer of 2017, with the idea coming back in 2016, when Abbie, the sister of Arran, and her partner James attended a local music festival and thought 'we could do this for Arran, he would have loved it'.
So after a lot of planning, learning, setbacks and endless hurdles to get over, as well as a last minute rush, the first Smile Festival took place on the 22nd July 2017 at AFC Sudbury in Suffolk. The first year was intended to be personal, specific to Arran, and carry meaning. Smile Festival is also about the people, and to try and give something back to the community who have been so supportive of the charity since the start.
Stems opened the festival, who consist of Arrans former Stopclocks bandmates Toby Halls and Joe Snell. They were then followed by local bands as well as the X Factors Wagner, before the young, talented band Little Giants, mutual friend Will Varley and 80's Scottish icon Graeme Clark of Wet Wet Wet started the evening entertainment. An epic performance from headliners Little Mammoths (fronted by Matt Owens from Noah and the Whale, along with former bandmate Fred Abbott) who finished on L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. made for a fitting tribute to Arran.
In 2018, Smile Festival took as years break, and plans were scrapped due to personal commitments of all organisers involved, however we welcomed back Graeme Clark and held 'An evening with Wet Wet Wet's Graeme Clark' which took place in February of that year. The event was organised due to demand for his return after playing at Smile Festival. The evening saw Graeme take part in a live Q&A session before playing all his best hits.
2019 was a SELL OUT, and was headlined by The Hoosiers (Goodbye Mr A, Worried About Ray) and Just Jack (Starz in their Eyes/Embers), with Sahara Snow, St Luna and Tagore Chayne completing the bill. An evening event, with a more raw, acoustic vibe turned out to be a huge success. This platform enabled both artist and the crowd to be immersed into the unique atmosphere.
Like every other event in the country, we were forced to cancel the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and collectively decided to also postpone the 2021 event until 2022.
In 2022, we came back with a bang! Scottish legends and charity patrons The Proclaimers came to Sudbury and headlined our first event back after COVID, playing an intimate yet explosive set. They were supported by Sandi Thom and the returning Will Varley, as well as Gabby Rivers, Frettlyst and Christian Smith. Our biggest event to date, and our second consecutive SOLD OUT SMiLE!
SMiLE is a not for profit event, with all money made making its way to the Smile of Arran Trust. It is important to remember that without you, these events don't happen, so we thank you all for your continued support. You can also check out the charity website at www.smileofarran.org.
You can also contact organisers Abbie and James at their respective email addresses:
What they say...
“Fabulous night! Brilliant line-up and great venue. Stall holders for refreshments and food were excellent and good value. Great organisation all-round. All in aid of an amazing cause in memory of the legend that is Arran Tosh.”
Jane Bevan via Skiddle
17th July 2022