Hard to believe it was nine years ago today (December 22) that Clash singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist Joe Strummer shuffled off this mortal coil at age 50. But the good news: a charity founded by Strummer's wife will stage a 5,000-capacity festival in Somerset, England next year to honour Strummer on the anniversary of his birth.
England’s The Independent reports that Strummerville, founded by Lucinda Mellor after Strummer’s sudden death of heart failure in 2002, will stage the 'Strummer of Love' festival to coincide with what would have been his 60th birthday on August 21.
The festival will slot into a busy anniversary year for Strummer's ardent fans: an industry – albeit largely charitable – has sprung up around the former Clash/Mescaleros honcho, branding everything from guitars to cigarette papers, calendars to Christmas cards, and even a Joe Strummer Telecaster guitar, produced by Fender.
Next summer's festival will include live music, ethical food and a Strummer Museum, including the singer's guitars, stage clothes and notes to fellow Clash member Mick Jones, as well as the Strummerville Campfire, which has been a fixture of recent Glastonbury Festivals.
"Our festival will be about bringing everything together under an open sky," said the Strummerville charity director, Trish Whelan speaking with The Independent. "There's no Glastonbury next year, which has helped us to do our own event."
Whelan added that the singer had an enduring appeal. "Why did Joe inspire people? He seemed to have met everyone and everybody felt like they were his best friend. We get a lot of people writing in saying he was the one man who gave them hope."