A festival to celebrate our friend

Becky Haslam
Becky Haslam
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Friends are celebrating the life of a man who was a familiar face on Preston’s music scene for years - by fulfilling one of his last wishes.

Evan “Wolf” Page was well known among Preston’s musicians since he worked 18 years ago at iconic music pub, The Lamb, which once dominated Church Street.

He played guitar and was often seen giving a song at open mic nights in the Unicorn or Moor Park pubs.

But tragically, Evan suffered from the crippling mental condition, bi polar disorder - and he was found dead at his home on November 22 last year. An inquest recorded an open verdict.

But just days before his death, he had asked his friend Kate Jones, who stages gigs around the city, if she would help him to organise a show to raise awareness and money for the condition which dogged his life.

She and many of his other friends are now making that wish come true by staging Evanfest this Saturday at the Ship and Giggles pub, in Fylde Road, with a host of local bands, all of whom were Evan’s pals.

And one, Peter Knight, has even written a tune for his lost friend, called Evan’s Song, which will be performed by singer Becky Haslam, and has been put together by former landlady of the Lamb, Lynda Lamb and local musicians, Matt Gallagher, Mark Thomas, Jan Hough, Will Thomson and many others.

Plans are for an extended version of the song to be released as a single to mark the first anniversary of Evan’s death, along with a video.

Evanfest will feature two stages, one indoor and one outdoor, with bands including rocker Bad Behaviour, George Harris and the Memory Makers, Legs and Lovelys, The Slydes, Deadwood Dog and more.

And there will also be solo performances from Martin Ritch, Jamie Brewer, Steph Murray, Matt Gallagher, Mark Thomas and a lot more well known performers from this area.

Organiser Kate said: “A month before he died, Evan phoned me and asked me to put a gig on for him.

“It was to raise awareness of bi polar. It was something Evan obviously cared a lot about - he was even involved in a research programme at Lancaster University on the children of bi polar parents.

“Then the next thing I know, I get a phone call to say that he has died. It was terrible.”

Members of Evan’s bike club, The Millennium 2000 BC, Kate and his pals, worked to stage the all-day show, which starts at 2pm. Kate believes Evan would love the whole event. She said: “He’d have been absolutely thrilled. I’d like to think he will be watching us somewhere and having a good smile about it.”