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Boston gig aims to showcase original music talent… and raise cash for aid trip to Ukraine

A gig to showcase original music from the area - and raise cash for an aid trip to war-torn Ukraine - will be held this weekend.

Ian Russell wants to help Lincolnshire overcome its ‘real problem’ of not having enough venues which highlight its own talent, and is encouraging music lovers to back his latest show.

Three artists will perform a matinee gig at The Eagle in Boston on Saturday (June 8), with funds raised from the pay-what-you-can gig going towards Ian’s next trip to Ukraine later this year, where he will be delivering a truck which is set to be transformed into a much-needed ambulance.

Badaxe, DH Welsby and James Clay will showcase their music in the upstairs room of the West Street pub between 2pm and 5pm, after an open mic hour from 1pm to encourage more local talent to take part.

“In Lincolnshire in particular we have a real problem with not having enough outlets for musicians to play their own songs,” said Coningsby resident Ian, 34.

“When I was living in Skegness, with it being a holiday town, everyone was doing tributes or covers. It was damn near impossible for friends who had written amazing songs to perform them.

“I really want to give them a space where people can come, listen to real music and really connect.

“I’ve set a rule of two covers per artist to try to really push their own music.

“It’s pay what you can, but even if you can’t bring money, just come and enjoy some music and have some fun.”

Ian is now preparing for his third aid trip to Ukraine this October, inspired to help out after witnessing friends getting caught up in the conflict

“I’d been fundraising for a long time. I was homeless and when you’re living in homeless shelters you’re not allowed to earn money, so I started having to donate all of my proceeds (from music events) to charity,” Ian explained.

“Fourteen months ago I got back into normal housing and realised I was doing ok without having to take money (from gigs) and I’d got friends over in Ukraine.

“I’ve got one friend in particular who, before the invasion, was a musician. One Facebook there was one picture of her performing at the start of the year, she looked amazing. Then in May of that year there was a photo of her with a sniper rifle, ready to protect Ukraine.”

Ian’s next trip will see him and pals take two vans filled with aid packages to Eastern European, with one van being left behind to be converted into an ambulance.

“Its nothing compared to what people over there are doing,” he said of his next trip.

“I’ve met people over there who have now died.

“The last two trips, we’ve filled a van with aid packages and dropped them of at Lviv, Kyiv and Odessa. This time we’re taking two different two vans, leaving one behind to be turned into an ambulance. It will make a real difference to lives out there.”

Having witnessed the conflict first hand, Ian says a major challenge back home is convincing people of the severity of the war.

“It’s incredibly real and there are risks. I’ve been at churches and seen military funerals daily. People are still dying,” he added.

“We have seen the awful side of the war. The first day we got to Odessa, that night there was a raid and they struck a warehouse and killed three aid workers. I didn’t personally know them, but our driver Simon did.

“Equally, our first day off we went to a karaoke bar and we could sing, have coffee with some of the army guys.

“It’s very extreme and there’s two problems, a lot of people think all of Ukraine is a war zone and then think ‘why should we help as the war is already lost?’

“On the other side its the opposite and people think ‘everything is fine, why should I donate?’

“We’re trying to get across that people are still living there and trying to have a normal life and trying to work. But equally it’s not a normal life.”

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