Festival draws in crowds

Karen Sitek.
Karen Sitek.

Expectations were surpassed as around 350 people flocked to the inaugural KarenFest fundraiser which boosted Cancer Research UK fund by £75,000.

Wetherby-based The Sunflower Foundation, set up in memory of Karen Sitek who died of cancer in October 2018, organised the music festival at the Engine Shed.

Karen’s husband and foundation chairman Tony Sitek said they were delighted with the success of the event which had been months in the planning and had attracted 350 visitors.

“On the day of the event, we knew that we had done okay in terms of advanced ticket sales, having sold around 300, and we knew that we were going to raise a good amount of money for Cancer Research UK,” said Tony.

“However, the capacity of the Engine Shed is 400 and our target had always been to sell out the event.”

Tony added: “On the day, the on door ticket sales surpassed anything we thought was possible, selling around 80 tickets.

“The donations made by people attending the event throughout the day also surpassed all our expectations.

“By the end of KarenFest we had raised over £7,500 for CRUK.”

Looking to the future, Tony added: “We look forward to doing it all again next year, but watch this space as it will be bigger and better next year with some surprises throw in along the way.”

The Sunflower Foundation was chosen to spearhead Cancer Research UK in the Wetherby and Harrogate areas.

And Tony set out to start a lasting legacy of fundraising to his wife Karen, who was a volunteer worker at the Oxfam shop in Wetherby.

KarenFest showcased six local artists and bands throughout the day and evening and ended with the headline act and the UK’s number one tribute band, The Really Hot Chilli Peppers.

Tony added: “My heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who supported KarenFest, most of all the people who attended the event, as without you there would be no event and no funds raised for such a great cause.”

He added thanks to: “The team at The Sunflower Foundation, all the bands who played, the staff at the Engine Shed, our sponsors Linton Logistics, Graham Foxcroft of Triton Security, Dencold Refrigeration, Kevin Brown and Joanne Crampin, the team at CRUK.”