From Sad Beginnings to Happy Days – The Big Busk

It’s that time again, the throat lump and the tummy flips have started, Spring is here and with it brings music, happy days and a familiar tiny tug at the heart!!

in 2 days the streets of Shrewsbury will be filled with the most wonderful, talented and above all kindest of people, singing, dancing, performing, volunteering, supporting and being part of something that is so incredibly beautiful and magical that every year I find I have to take a step back to take in just how amazing it all really is.


Now here I could break into the media spiel to explain how this event started, but I won’t, I shall tell it as it was.

In September 2012 my brother Ben was … (yuck there’s that “M” word again that makes my insides recoil) nope, I’ve typed and deleted it as I just don’t like seeing it in front of me and will instead say “Killed”! Now I don’t need to go into the events of how and why this happened, but what I will say is that some 3 and a half years later you think you have started to come to terms with it and boom, there will be an innocent word or image that makes you fall back hard to the realisation that its still happened and your nose stings, the air inside your lungs vanishes and that hole in your heart opens up again.


I know that my big sister experiences the exact same thing and just like me it’s been the love and extreme kindness of a town that’s filled this sad hole with so much happiness.

Now talking of my Big sister, she will have you believe that in the weeks that followed our brothers death we all sat round together and in her words “rather than have a bench in Ben’s memory, we wanted to do something more fitting”, no this in fact was not the case, as I recall for the weeks after his death I self medicated with alcohol and it was my Big Sis that rather than let grief, anger, pain and incomprehension take over and have our brother remembered as a “tragic alcoholic” as sadly he was referred to in the press, she wanted to take all the positives from his life, the attributes that he had, the talent and the intense passion for his home and his gratitude and fondness towards The Shrewsbury Ark and make something wonderful and so after a tweet from her and a reply from a lovely nomad singer songwriter The Big Busk was born.


I cannot even begin to tell you all the images, emotions and pride that those 3 words incite and I know that anyone who has been at the Busk over the last 3 years will tell you its just breathtaking, on every street corner, around every bend, on the main shopping streets, in the squares, cafes, restaurants, bars, museum, library, market …… are singers, musicians, magicians, street performers, dancers, drummers, choirs, bands, battles, rappers, storytellers, there is life and there is, as my brother would have noted “Happy Days”.


This year, which is to be the events forth I have taken a step back to concentrate on extending the Big busk family! Thankfully I am able to do this a we have the most amazing group of friends and volunteers that unconditionally give their time and devotion and although over the years some of these special people are unable to take such an active role they will still always be very much part of the Busk family, there is also one person that no matter what is happening in her life, with work, how busy she is or how ever many times she says that’s it definitely the “Last One” will be the constant, non wavering driving force, with every detail on her spreadsheet, she is the mum of this special family and when birds leave the nest will still continue to nurture it and makes sure that the music continues to fly, yes Karenella this is you!


One of the most wonderful things that the busk has given me, is an unbreakable bond with my sister, I know that’s what many siblings will say and feel, but there is a deep love between us that is unspoken and yes although of course we have our ups and downs and frustrations (I do still do the annoying little sister role quite well!) but we share something that has grown from sadness into pride, joy, hope and at 1pm on Pride Hill when we will be standing in the middle of the crowd, we will both know that unlike our brothers song we wont be alone in the crowd.


Above all what the Busk has done is simply real magic, if even for a day …

It brings music, a whole town and my brother to life ♥



The Big Busk is a charity music event which raises funds and awareness for The Shrewsbury Ark, a drop in centre in Shrewsbury which supports the vulnerable and homeless on our community.

It kicks off at 10am on Saturday 2nd April and will see over 70 acts perform and entertain throughout the town.

The event will continue on into the evening with many bars, pubs and restaurants hosting a night of fantastic local talent.

Find out more at our website here




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