If you were looking for a “great music event” or more of “a musical party” this September, Steerfest was the place to be. In honour of the late Shaun Steer, an extraordinary, well liked and respected local musician who sadly passed away this July, a festival which he himself helped design took place. 

The event however was not just in memory of this incredible man.   Shaun’s original inspiration for creating Steerfest was about wanting to do something to celebrate the local village of Claygate.  The event was a fund raiser for the local community, attended by the local community and all the performers lived in the local community.  

With a turnout of over two hundred people and raising just under £4,000 I believe Shauns vision was well achieved. The musical festival, which took place at Claygate village hall on 22nd September this year, brought together a vast array of very talented musicians – all from very different backgrounds but all living within the same village.  Some knew each other well, some had never met before, but Steerfest saw them harmonise in unison as friends and strangers played together in front of a frighteningly large crowd of local residents. 

The festival was designed to raise money for  localcauses, with a large proportion of the monies raised going to a young, single mother in the village who is suffering from an incurable form of cancer.

The evening was structured in a way that each song was sung by a different performer.  This task alone was something many people including the host David Smith, were very apprehensive about in terms offefficiency. However, the luck seemed to be with them as everything went smoothly with David Smith putting it simply “I don’t think anything went wrong, it ran absolutely on time, there were no delays between the songs which is more then anyone could have hoped for in this particular industry. “

Throughout the night there was a huge variety of songs with some of the highlights including “We are family” and “Let me Entertain you” where not one but two musicians had a costume change mid song.  It ended with the lead guitarist appearing on stage dressed in Robbie Williams’s iconic outfit from the music video.  Acting on a request Shaun had made earlier in the summer this musician then went on to smash a guitar in two on stage much to the audiences shock and amusement. The event was loved by all with many saying it was the “best night of the year so far”.   I am sure this would have meant a great deal to Shaun.

The fascinating mix of performers at Steerfest all in some way were connected to the wonderful man Shaun Steer and this is what interested and excited me most about the night.  There were guitarists from hard rock backgrounds to pianists with classical training all joining together to play Bonnie Tyler ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’  or Amy Whinehouses’s “Valerie” as if they had been playing together for years. David Smith notes how “there was no ego” and others commented on how lovely it was to witness so many people joining together as one.

Overall the general vibe I received from speaking to the people of Claygate is that the event sparked joy into the village and there is a tremendous amount of hope and excitement for another Steerfest next year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!!!