Radio legend John Peel to have music festival named in his honour | Music News

Celebrating the life and career of famed journalist, record producer, radio host and deejay John Peel, organisers of this year’s Norwich Sound and Vision conference will host a festival dedicated to the late disc jockey; the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs.

Fifty British bands will perform as part of the first John Peel Festival of New Music from 11 to 13 October in venues across Norwich.

Organisers emphasise the festival’s focus will be on emerging bands. “The festival is making a statement for new music,” Stuart Hobday – the Norwich Arts Centre director – said. “Each of these acts that we all liked from the past were a new band at some point trying to elbow their way in, and that is what John Peel represented – getting new music through to people.”

Coordinated with Sound and Vision’s industry panels and workshops, the festival will take place across 10 venues, with a major headliner to be announced imminently.

Peel’s widow, Sheila Ravenscroft, said of the festival: “I’m very pleased that an organisation like [festival backers] Norwich Arts Centre is keeping the spirit and legacy of John’s passion alive.”

Adrian Cooke, director of the Sound and Vision festival, stated: “John was always interested in hearing something new and I like to think he would have felt at home at our gigs, helping people to discover new bands.”

Revered as one of the greatest British DJs of all time, Peel was a broadcasting pioneer, one of the very first deejays to play psychedelic and progressive rock records on British radio. Peel embraced a variety of sounds and genres, supporting dance, punk and British Hip-Hop acts.

Peel was also noted for the quality of his Radio 1 shows, with his “Peel Sessions” proving most popular. In addition to hosting BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths, the native Merseysider was also a frequent Top of the Pops presenter in the ’80s.