Atlantic crossing gigs to put Westbury festival on map

6:00am Sunday 31st August 2014

By Craig Jones

SINGER Leander Morales aims to put Westbury Music and Arts Festival on the map by playing a gig in a America and England in the same day.

Mr Morales, 36, is putting on a show in Westbury, New York, just after midnight on Sunday, September 28 before jetting 3,500 miles home to west Wiltshire’s Westbury to perform at The Laverton at 10.30pm as part of the festival’s closing party.

New York’s Westbury, a village on Long Island, was named by a settler from the English town called Henry Willis. Mr Morales, who also promotes musicians, was Inspired to do his feat by Phil Collins’ doing something similar when he played in Philadelphia and London as part of Live Aid’s 1985 charity concerts.

The father-of-two said: “I’m really excited about it but there is an air of nervousness as I am a little worried about what might go wrong. A flight delay would obviously kill it.

“I think this is a good way of making the link between the two Westburys and also raise the profile of the Westbury Music and Arts Festival.”

As part of Mr Morales’ trip he will be do a short tour of iconic folk venues where music legends such as Bob Dylan and Richie Havens played. Mr Morales’ mother, American Jeanette Conroy, also graced some of these stages as a folk artist.

“It was quite common for rising stars to jam together and my mum was one of those. I would not be the performer I am today without my mother,” Mr Morales said.

“This is certainly going to be something to tick off the bucket list.”

Organisers of the festival are hoping to have the signer-songwriter’s Westbury performances streamed so that people in the English and American Westbury can watch the corresponding shows.

Mr Morales praised the support he has had from the festival’s director, Westbury town councillor Ian Cunningham and his wife Julie.

The festival has sponsored his trip as well as companies Wilsons Residential, Xylo-bands and other Westbury businesses.

Westbury Music and Arts Festival is on from September 26 to 28 and includes a wide of range of performances and exhibitions.

Mr Morales said: “I have been a part of the festival for five years and the demographic is certainly expanding. We are all looking forward to another great year.”

To see the festival’s full programme, log on to www. wmafestival.co.uk.

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