O’Reilly’s to rock at upcoming charity gig for The Day Project

Geoff Savage - The Day Project
Geoff Savage - The Day Project

Punk will meet rock at a benefit gig in O’Reilly’s next month, as a number of DJ’s from Banbridge Community Radio aim to raise funds for local drug awareness charity, The Day Project.

Paul Scappaticci, host of The Jungle show on a Wednesday night, praised the work of The Day Project as he spoke of the growing drug problem in the Banbridge area.

Geoff Savage

Geoff Savage

“This is a charity to be applauded,” he said, “and founder Geoff Savage has poured his heart and soul into this work”.

Geoff set up the charity following his own personal struggles with addiction.

“At the age of 16 I got involved with drugs,” Geoff said. “I started out like any first timer smoking Cannabis with friends and taking bongs”.

This ‘recreational use’ progressed until Geoff was spending around £300 a week on the habit and became addicted.

The problem progressed to an even more serious level when Geoff started using Speed, Ecstacy and Cocaine, and finally ended up in trouble with paramilitary elements and the police.

“I was involved in a punishment attack to which I nearly died,” he said, “but in hindsight I believe what happened to me was a turning point.”

Sent to prison for drug offences Geoff began to study drug education and on his release became involved with organisations who provide drug awareness training.

The focus of The Day Project, based at E2A in Newry Street, is to raise awareness of drugs and the effects they have on individuals, their families, friends and the local area.

Together with E2A Community Theatre Group they recently produced a play, Our Story that has been taken on the road to schools and community groups.

The idea of the benefit gig started with a few presenters at the Community Radio.

“It was mainly myself and Carole Kerr working on it,” said Paul, “and as she loves punk rock and I’m into heavy rock, we decided to marry these together in a concert.

“We’d put out a few feelers but were struggling to pull the whole thing together so we got in touch with Joanne Rodgers of Rock Therapy NI.

“Joanne works to help promote local bands and within a few days she had organised the whole thing.

“I’ve known Geoff through Banbridge Radio so we decided to make it a benefit gig with funds going to Geoff’s work.”

There is now a confirmed line up with Nighthawks headlining and other acts will be Foreign Affairs, an alternative pop punk band with local connections, Barney, Preacher’s Son and Thieves of Ennui who also played O’Reilly’s in October.

The gig is on Saturday, February 27 in O’Reilly’s Bar, with tickets £5 at the door.