WHY grow up when you can stay Forever Young, asks Ian Donaghy, ahead of his September 1 music festival at Grimston Court, in Hull Road, Grimston, York.

"Nobody would have ever put a music festival within the grounds of a residential care home, but since we started it's been a resounding success at Grimston Court, raising thousands of pounds for Age UK York and St Leonard’s Hospice, fusing a community to show that age is just a number," says Big Ian, frontman of the York party band Huge.

"It’s not about the acts on the stages, it's about the people watching and enjoying, with generations coming out dancing and singing together."

More tea and cake than beer is sold at Forever Young. "In celebration of this, there'll be £100 of prizes for the best showstopper, cupcakes and biscuits," says Ian. "With pizzas, tacos and a barbecue, no other festival has a higher calorific content...so people have to dance it off and there's plenty of opportunity."

Forever Young is "a simple affair" with two big marquees, one for musical theatre, choirs and large community groups, the other for acoustic acts.

Big Ian has put together another "embarrassment of riches", including stars of his A Night To Remember concerts at York Barbican: Jess Steel & Oliver McClaren, Heather Findlay, Beth McCarthy, These Jaded Streets and the grandmas' favourite, Las Vegas Ken.

"Then add the likes of Pete Godson, Samantha Holden, Graeme Hargreaves, Annie D, Maggie Wakeling, Josh Newell-Brown and a fantastic house band led by George Hall," says Ian.

Great Yorkshire Fringe favourites The Grand Old Uke Of York will fill the Limelight Tent with their joyful renditions of favourite pop and rock songs, as heard on their newly launched album, Without The Tassels.

York musician Steve Cassidy will be joined by musicians 60 years younger than this former head teacher to perform in a band together! "Intergenerational dance classes, from ballroom to street dance , will highlight there's no age limit on fun," says Ian. "This year it features the pink ladies of Stamford Bridge Community Choir and the Wigginton Singstars school choir, led by York singer Jessa Liversidge.

"A community band called Allstarz will make their debut, conducted by Alan Rutherford, and York pianist Kieran White will give people the chance to perform live for the first time with him, with the best of the day performing on the main stage for the Gran Finale. So far the oldest person we've had performing is 91!"

For this year's festival, one of the performance areas is being renamed Sarah’s Stage as a tribute to Forever Young stalwart Sarah Frank. "She was a key member of the team, who helped out in all fundraising activities despite being very ill," says Ian. "Everyone knew what Sarah brought to the festival, so this has been met with a warm welcome.”

Add to this bouncy castles, face painting, a drumming workshop and craft activities and "we promise you a wonderful day out, starting at 12 noon and finishing at 8pm," says Ian. "Well behaved dogs on leads are welcome too, and the cost to attend this festival is free, thanks to sponsorship by Wellburn Care Homes, Pavers Shoes, Electronics Direct and Nu U Nutrition. Parking is £5, but Grimston Court is on a major bus route, and all donations will go to our two charities, Age UK York and St Leonard’s Hospice."

Summing up the spirit of the day, Ian says: "Don’t grow up. Never grow old. Stay Forever Young at Grimston Court on Saturday, September 1 because fun has no age limit."

His enthusiasm is shared by Rachel Beckett, managing director of Wellburn Care Homes, who own Grimston Court. "Last year we saw four generations coming out together and a 100-year age range," she says. "Our residents, care team and families can’t wait for another wonderful day.”

Charles Hutchinson