Memorial concert to be held for Martin Hovden

An appeal has been made for Southport bands and musicians to take part in a memorial concert dedicated to Martin Hovden. Andrew Brown reports

Martin Hovden
Journalist Martin Hovden died in December 2022


A memorial concert dedicated to journalist and live music champion Martin Hovden is being planned and Southport bands and musicians are being asked to take part.

Martin, who lived in Southport, was the campaigning former editor of Champion Newspapers, a columnist with the Southport Visiter and a radio presenter with Mighty Radio. He died at home in December aged 70.

He was a passionate supporter of live music and was determined to do all he can to provide a platform for up-and-coming young musicians and bands.

Martin created ‘Live Sounds’ as both a weekly newspaper and online column and a radio show. He helped hundreds of acts, as well as encouraging as many people as possible to head out and enjoy live music at venues across the town.

A Celebration For Martin live music event will take place in the Extravaganza events space at Southport Market on Thursday, April 20. It will be free to attend.

Visitors will be invited to donate any money to one of Martin’s favourite charities, They include the Whitechapel Centre in Liverpool, an independent organisation based in Liverpool which tackles homelessness.

The music event is being organised by Suzy Walker, who runs the Gambolling Arena Theatre Company in Southport. She knew Martin for many years. The organising committee includes Steve Ashcroft, owner of Southport News, Andrew Brown, owner of Stand Up For Southport, and local musician Dave Aston.

Some performers have already been lined up. At Martin’s recent funeral, the moving Joyce Grenfell poem If I Should Die Before You was read out. At the Celebration For Martin, the poem will be read by Gambolling Arena actress Kim Helm, who played Joyce Grenfell in a recent play.

Stephanie Swanson will be singing An Ode To Martin.

Suzy Walker said: “We would love to hear from any bands or artists who have been supported by Martin Hovden over the years who would like to perform at this special event.

“We would like to present a varied programme of live music for people to enjoy. Martin was very wide ranging in his tastes and supported music of all different styles.

“The Celebration For Martin will take place over three hours between 6pm and 9pm and will be open for anyone to attend. Admission will be free, with people invited to show their generosity towards The Whitechapel Centre.

“The food outlets inside Southport Market will be open, so visitors will be able to enjoy some great food and drink before, during and after the show.

“Gambolling Arena will bring along our lighting and sound. We will host the event and ensure the acts and bands performing have what they need. John Coates has very kindly offered to provide the technical side of things for free.

“I have known Martin for 25 years, he has been a great friend. When Battle Of The Bands was first staged I was the Arts Officer for Sefton Council and Martin, who was the editor at Champion Newspapers, gave me so much help and guidance. I couldn’t have done it without him.

“He was amazing. He always supported shows that I staged.

“He was just such a nice man. I had such a high regard for him, as did many people.”

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