Well, we did it. Ten months of planning, dreaming, persuading, promoting… and it paid off beyond our wildest dreams. I’m Lu and here’s my story of the day One25 hosted a charity concert with Ed Sheeran, raising over £40,000.
7.15 am phone interview with BBC Radio Bristol (from my bed!)
9 am collect my dry cleaning for tonight’s attire. It’s not every day you get to host an Ed Sheeran gig- I want to look my best!
10 am BBC Points West arrive at the One25 drop-in to do an interview. Karen (a caseworker) and I have to also pose with the One25 van and look busy which is quite funny. Interview here:
11 am – 3 pm run over schedules with Ed’s tour manager, continue selling last minute tickets, quick phone interview with Jack FM, run through checklists again and again. Take lots of deep breaths.
3.15 pm Travel to The Fleece with Ruth, a long-term volunteer at One25, a good friend and also my stage manager for the day. Arrive to find the crowds are already forming outside the venue, chilling in the sunshine and singing the A Team on loop!!!
3.20 pm Ed’s good mate and tonight’s main support act, Luke Concannon, arrives with a smile on his face and guitar in hand of course! He’s brought some friends along to make a film of the show for him…. watch this space.
4 pm Ed’s label arrive to coordinate a front cover photo shoot and interview he’s doing with Total Guitar for their summer magazine. See HERE.
4.15 pm BBC Points West and ITV West arrive, set up their lights and cameras and await their chance to chat to Ed who is now 5 minutes away.
4.20 pm Ed wanders in, still waking up from a sleepy journey. I say hello, thank him for all he is about to do for us and ask if he’s ready to get started. “Yeah, let’s do it” he says without a moments hesitation. And in front of the cameras he goes… watch ITV HERE and BBC HERE (as above).
4.30 pm Ed reunites with Luke backstage- hugs and smiles all round. We have 3 guitars and a stack of ‘+’ CDs for Ed to sign and he happily scribbles away whilst I frantically snap some pics on my cheap camera (to use for authenticity when we get around to ebay-ing them or giving away in competitions etc). Slow down ED!
4.40 – 6.15 pm Ed’s photo shoot and interview for Total Guitar takes place at the back of the room while we push on with laying the merchandise out and welcoming First Thought and Katie Sky. I change into my evening outfit, squirt a bit more hairspray and re-apply my lippy. All done with no mirror- there’s never one when you need it! My phone rings constantly, texts, emails and tweets keep beeping. I’m started to stress a little…
6.15 pm Heart FM arrive just as Ed takes to the stage to sound check. We all stop and admire the sounds he makes as he casually does his thing.
6.20 pm Alvaro, a film-maker who has volunteered to make us a short film of the event, is briefing me on some questions I need to ask Ed on camera as soon as he finishes his sound check. We invite Luke down from the dressing rooms to join Ed in the interview and I start to feel nervous and a little out of my depth.
6.30 pm Sound check over, Ed asks if anyone has a first aid kit (his tattoo that he had done that morning by the way!) is starting to get a bit icky. We find a bandage and Luke helps him strap it around his wrist. It’s really lovely watching the two friends together and I only wish they could have more time to spend catching up without all the madness of what’s going on tonight. But alas, we are here for a good reason and we must press on…
6.30 – 6.45 pm We do the interview with Alvaro. I ask Ed and Luke a few questions about why they’re here tonight, why it’s an important cause to them and why people should support the charity and the ‘Give it up’ campaign. They answer with such insight and conviction I am once again reminded of what genuinely lovely guys they are.
6.45 pm Ed does a quick interview with Heart FM before making a quick exit to spend some well earned time with his Bristol family, out for dinner. He leaves out the back entrance with his hood up and slips away unnoticed!
6.50 – 7.30 pm Sound checks continue with Luke, then followed by First Thought and Katie Sky. The atmosphere is already electric as the crowd builds outside. Alvaro and his film crew pop out to take some footage and interview a few ‘Give it uppers’.
7.30 pm Doors open and we’re away!!! Friends and family appear all around me and my nerves start to settle. Katie Sky takes to the stage with her ‘Sweet sweet melodies’, followed by First Thought who express their gratitude to everyone, saying “Last time we performed here there were only about 7 people“. Everyone gives them a cheer!
8.30 pm I jump on stage to welcome everyone and chat a bit about ‘Give it up for One25′. I spot some familiar faces of people I have got to know through the campaign, or die-hard fans of Ed who’ve become very chatty with us on Twitter. It’s lovely to finally meet everyone! I finish by introducing Luke Concannon who appears from the back of the room, guitar in hand, bare feet, beautiful voice.
9.20 pm Stage manager, Ruth, catches Ed backstage just before leading him out for his set. She shows him a three minute video made in One25′s drop-in by women we support. They express their gratitude, saying “Hi Luke and Ed, I just wanted to say thank you for helping to raise money for One25. For me personally this place is a life saver…” and “One25 has helped me over the past 8 years, from being homeless and working on the streets, through some of the worst times in my life.” A special moment before Ed takes centre stage.
9.30 pm Karen (a One25 caseworker) explains to the audience what One25 is all about, who the women are that we help and the sort of issues they face. It’s a hard spot to fill- just before Ed- and although the audience is keen to see the main act, they listen intently as Karen swallows back her tears.
9.35 pm I take to the stage one last time to announce our grand total raised through the ‘Give it up’ campaign and this gig… £42,000!!! The crowd cheer. I take a deep breath and say the words I’ve been waiting to say for ten months; ” And now, it is with great pleasure that I welcome to the stage… Ed Sheeran!” Raucous applause ensues as Ed jumps up the stage steps, gives me a hug and I slip back down to watch him do what he does best. And he is on fire tonight…
There follows 90 minutes of magic. Including a heartfelt dedication of Ed’s hit ‘the A Team’ to One25, the women we support and everyone involved in the charity. Oh and me (I was quite chuffed to be named!)
An amazing night with a really intimate vibe as though we were all just good friends hanging out and jamming. Ed’s request that “this is not so much a headline gig as a ‘have fun’ gig” was certainly heard by all. We had fun!!!
We’ve just uploaded our pics of the eve HERE. We’ll share our short film of the event as soon as it’s ready (stay tuned). And for now I’ll leave you with this catchy little number from Luke Concannon, who was inspired by the whole event and especially the thank you video from our beneficiaries. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, “Give it up for One25″ !!!!