17:22 Thursday 21 February 2013

Tribute act prepare for music marathon

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

FANS of 80s and 90s music icons Bon Jovi are in for a treat with a local tribute act set to embark on a whistle-stop tour of venues in Burton and South Derbyshire.

Bon Jovi UK are to take on the challenge of playing 20 gigs in two nights for charity in April.

The band, which features Swadlincote’s Nigel Atkins in the role of frontman Jon Bon Jovi, as well as Bob Billings, from Burton, on guitar, will get pubs and bars rocking all over the region in 15-minute slots.

The ‘Jovithon’ will take place on April 5 and 6 in aid of Rainbows Hospice, in Loughborough, which cares for terminally ill and disabled youngsters in Burton and South Derbyshire.

Mr Atkins, AKA Jon Bon Jovi, said: “We can’t wait. Everyone’s dead excited. The venues are fantastic. The nice thing about it is they really get involved. They hold karaoke nights and everyone is given t-shirts.

“That’s the nice thing about Bon Jovi – everyone knows the songs and it’s a great atmosphere.”

The music marathon is due to begin at the Stanhope Arms, in Bretby, at 6.15pm, on April 5, with the band visiting pubs from all over Burton, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire, before winding up at The Woodman, in Moira, at 11.15pm the following night.

The band attempted a similar task last year, and Mr Atkins said the biggest challenge was sticking to the schedule.

He said: “We’ll play 15-minute sets, but we don’t want to disrupt the pubs and have to make them wait. The tough part is getting away and getting the band back on the bus in time.

“For some of the journeys, like Melbourne to Ashby, we’ll have to give ourselves a bit longer, but for the rest it will be a half-an-hour window to get to the next venue.”

For all the buzz and excitement of being on stage, there is an important reason behind the event – raising money and awareness for the Rainbows Hospice.

The band, which also includes keyboard player Ben Parkinson, of Loughborough, drummer Rich Harris, from Ashby, and Pieter Schoonderwoerd, from Derby, have been involved with the charity for a number of years.

Mr Atkins added: “We raised £1,300 last year. We never say what we’d like to raise, we’d just like to raise as much money and awareness as possible.”

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