Exclusive interview with X Factor finalist Danyl Johnson

AHEAD of his performance at the charity music festival ClaireFest on September 3, The Comet caught up with X Factor finalist Danyl Johnson.

ClaireFest will take place at Elbrook Meadows in Ashwell in memory of Claire Stanley, the former landlady of The Three Tuns in the village, who lost her battle with cancer in June last year, aged 48.

Her husband, Darrell, and her family founded a charitable trust – The Claire Stanley Trust – with the aim of raising funds to provide cancer treatment, care and research.

ClaireFest, which as well as live music will include magicians, sideshows, stalls, a food bar and a kids’ corner, will raise money for this cause.

Danyl Johnson, an X Factor finalist in 2009, will be headlining the event.


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“I was asked if I wanted to play and I jumped at the chance,” he said. “It’s a really good cause and it should be a great crowd.

“I had suspected cancer and had an operation to remove it when I was about 11.

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“Especially with us boys, we don’t check anything out and this is a great way to raise awareness.”

Danyl will be supported at ClaireFest by 80s rockers Dr and the Medics.

Other confirmed acts include singer-songwriter Scarlette Fever, Andrews Sisters tribute The Rockabellas and Stevenage-based classic rock band Black Dog.

There will also be an open mic competition, with studio recording time up for grabs.

Danyl said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing the other acts playing. I’m a fan of new music.”

He will be performing songs from the X Factor, as well as brand new music and “covers to get everyone dancing”.

Danyl has been busy fulfilling a contract with Butlins, as well as recording new material in both America and London.

“Everyone keeps asking for an album. I will just keep writing and see what happens,” he said.

“I’m not interested in bubblegum pop. I want to release stuff that people will play in 10 years time.

“I don’t think a lot of music today will be listened to for long.”

Asked about the X Factor, Danyl said: “It’s a crazy experience and I don’t think you can ever be ready for it. If you have a game plan it will be ripped apart.

“This year is going to be different to any other you have seen before.”

Tickets for ClaireFest, at �16 for adults, �8.50 for five to 15 year olds and free for under fives, are on sale now at www.clairefest.org

Corporate sponsorship provides vital funds towards the running costs of ClaireFest. If your organisation is interested in putting its name to this event, email louisa@clairefest.org for details of the packages available.

ClaireFest is also looking for volunteers to help at the festival. For more details, email volunteers@clairefest.org

Two pairs of tickets to ClaireFest are up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning a pair, answer this question:

What song did Danyl Johnson sing at his X Factor debut?

A - Waltzing Matilda

B - With a Little Help from My Friends

C - Mozart’s 5th Symphony

Send entries to ClaireFest Competition, The Comet, Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, SG1 3EE.

The closing date is Friday, August 26. Normal competition rules apply. The editor’s decision is final.

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