Rock fest benefit for blind musician

Connor Mackay from Ilfracombe is determined to start over after thieves stole most of his property.

Connor Mackay from Ilfracombe is determined to start over after thieves stole most of his property. - Credit: Archant

Music community rallies to support Connor Mackay, whose home was burgled twice in one week.

THE musicians of Ilfracombe have responded in droves to organise a benefit concert and rock fest for Connor Mackay after thieves took almost everything he owns.

The North Devon Gazette revealed on Wednesday how the registered blind artist and musician had his home burgled twice and his laptop stolen, all in the space of one week.

Musicians wasted no time in rallying around one of their own to raise money and help replace Connor’s lost belongings after thieves took almost everything except the furniture.

The result is Con-Tribute, a day long festival of music on Saturday, March 16 from 12noon at venues around the town and already featuring 20-plus performers, and the list is growing.

From the harbour up to Ilfracombe High Street, venues will host live music throughout the day and evening, at regular intervals to allow the audience to follow the action around the town.

It is being sponsored by The Olden Group in association with Taylors Solicitors and Ilfracombe Round Table.

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Connor, 39, was born with congenital cataracts and has only 25 per cent vision.

Despite this, he is studying for a fine art degree, with his art and music a central part of his life.

He is a regular performer at local venues such as The Chill Bar in Ilfracombe and after 14 years in Ilfracombe well known and liked by the musical community.

An overwhelming response on Facebook following news of the thefts soon prompted musicians Kelly Render, Pete Bradshaw, Paul Gates and their friends to organise the event.

Kelly, lead singer of rock band Psylum, said: “The local music community has been outraged at these mindless thefts and want to show that we will not tolerate such behaviour in Ilfracombe.”

“It has upset everyone so much and there was a lot of anger from people who obviously cared, so we thought why not just do something about it,” added Pete, who also plays in Psylum and Falling Apart.

“The response was astonishing. I just put out a letter to all my Facebook friends asking for help and they came right back and said ‘no worries’.

“All the landlords have been absolutely amazing in offering their venues and helping out.”

The double burglary at Chandler Way saw thieves take Connor’s television, Playstation console and games, music amplifier, a collection of more than 600 movies plus other items, to leave nothing but the furniture.

A few days earlier his laptop computer was stolen while he was on the bus home from Petroc college in Barnstaple, where he is studying for a fine art degree.

Con-Tribute organisers are hoping to raise enough to replace his property, but also collect money for a chosen charity or two as well.

Visit the Con-Tribute page on Facebook to find out more, and check out the North Devon Gazette next Wednesday.

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