From the outside, Fat Lil’s in Corn Street, Witney, doesn’t look as though it's up to much. But this Oxfordshire bar and grill is a magnet for lovers of live rock and cover music. And on Saturday, 14th May, the place is going to be buzzing for the ME Association.
Sarah Morrish, who has just joined the staff of Oxford University as an events officer in their public affairs directorate, is putting on a mini music festival there from 3pm 'til late. It will be packed with talented bands and DJs – all playing their hearts out in ME Awareness Week.
The 37-year-old mini music impresario told us:
“I was diagnosed with CFS/ME in 2019 after many years of going back and forth to my GP with symptoms such as inflamed glands, severe fatigue, bursting into tears at everything, nerve and muscle pain, migraines all the time – even feeling paralysed on occasion and not being able to get out of bed.
“The diagnosis was something of a relief for me as I could finally understand why I had felt unwell for so long.”
Although Sarah now knows her own body well enough not to put any bets on how things turn out, she said something about the nature of optimism which might explain why she just loves bringing bands and DJs together.
“Despite the symptoms, the flare-ups and crashes, it doesn’t mean life has to be miserable all the time. I’m very lucky to have amazing friends and family who, even though they might not see it or understand it, just support me anyway. I’m determined to go through life happy, positive and smiling – even on a bad day.”
Working on the mini music festival with a friend, they’ve lined up some remarkable turns for Saturday week:
There’s Fused, a rock cover band with guitarist Paul Spink, who owns Fat Lil’s; Badmonkey, with lead singer Kate who covers Amy Whitehouse and Imelda May; multi-instrumentalists David and Rhiannon Fitzgerald; new duo The SubTheory; Scottish singer-songwriter Matt Midgley who lives in Witney; ‘sound designer' David Ashbourne; and DJ Andy James.
It will be open mic from 3-5pm, and then the bands and DJs ‘til late. Entrance £4 on the door.