Strummer Inc gears up for anniversary

Festivals, films and merchandise will go into overdrive in 2012 to mark 10 years since the Clash singer's death.

A charity founded by Joe Strummer's wife will stage a 5,000-capacity festival in Somerset next year, in one of the highlights of a year of elaborate plans starting this month to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of the former Clash singer.

Strummerville, founded by Lucinda Mellor after the singer's death in December 2002, will stage the Strummer of Love festival to coincide with what would have been his 60th birthday on 21 August.

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 singer and guitarist, branding everything from guitars to cigarette papers.

There will be a commemorative 2012 calendar and Strummer Christmas cards, with more anniversary merchandise to come, and the seventh Strummercamp festival will take place from 1-3 June at Manchester Rugby Club, paying tribute to Strummer and the Clash.

BBC's digital radio station 6 Music will also commemorate the 10th anniversary, and in the film world Julien Temple's 2007 documentary Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten will be joined on our screens by a Film4 Strummer biopic, entitled The Ballad of Joe Public.

Meanwhile in Granada, a city cited by Strummer on the Clash's classic "Spanish Bombs", councillors last week announced plans to name a street after the man who "spread the name of Granada around the world".

Perhaps the ultimate accessory, though, for punk fans is the Joe Strummer Telecaster, produced by Fender, which will get a sales push over the next year. The guitar is modelled on the 66 Tele Strummer played, complete with stencils and stickers to recreate the Strummer effect.

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. "There's no Glastonbury next year, which has helped us to do our own event."

She 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."

For Nick Tesco, singer in the Members, a contemporary band with the Clash, it wasn't so much Strummer himself that was important but the idea of the Clash: "They had real charisma, an incredible cool that was personified by Joe. Joe wasn't a saint, he was a man, and that's what made him so powerful."

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