Jen’s Dad, Stephen, was massively into music and, although he didn’t sing or play any instruments, he would listen to music at any opportunity – every car journey would be an education for Jen. She grew up listening to Paul Weller, David Bowie, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Dire Straits and Dad’s favourite, Black Sabbath.
Stephen was in his early 30s when he was diagnosed with secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis, which was a massive blow since he was a hugely active man who loved running, canoeing and anything that involved being outdoors. In the end, he couldn’t do anything for himself and he lost the ability to walk, talk, eat and move. But he always had music and Jen likes to think listening to music was one of his only pleasures in the last few years.
Stephen passed away at the age of 46. As a family, they were completely devastated but took comfort in the fact that he was finally at peace and no longer in pain. Two years after he passed, Jen decided to spend a summer working in Ibiza with a friend and it changed the course of her life. The friends she made in Ibiza were all from London so, when she returned home, she made the decision to make a move down south.
Jen enrolled on a BA Hons in Fashion, Styling & Promotion at Middlesex University, but with a vision of somehow combining that with her love for music. In her final year, she was given the freedom to decide her own final major project and she had the rather ambitious idea that she would organise a music and arts festival!
It was important to Jen that the festival promoted two things: new music and raising awareness for Multiple Sclerosis Research. This is the charity in which they donated her Dad’s tissue and brain stem to for research and as a family, tried to support as much as they could.
And so Yard Life was born!
After hours of blagging, sleepless nights and being let down by several venues, Jen and her team eventually got there and on the 19th & 20th April 2014 Yard Life Music and Arts Festival took place at Islington Metal Works in London. Over 65 bands and DJs played for free and all the profits were donated to MS Research – raising over £20,000!
After Yard Life, Jen got an all-encompassing job and, even though she always knew she would do Yard Life again, the time hasn’t been right – until now! Lucky us.
Welcome back Yard Life!
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Yard Life is on the 28th of April 2018. Sign up to receive a notification when tickets go on sale on the 31st of May 2017 and line up updates.