Convention will pay tribute to co-writer of Free classic All Right Now

Original members of Free have appeared at previous conventions, including Andy Fraser, whose death will be marked this year
Original members of Free have appeared at previous conventions, including Andy Fraser, whose death will be marked this year
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A fans' convention celebrating one of British rock's best-loved groups will gather again in the North East this weekend.

The Free Convention is a celebration of the lasting legacy of Free, best-known for their 1970 signature song All Right Now.

This year's gathering, at the Park Hotel in Tynemouth on Saturday, is the 29th annual event, and will pay tribute to bassist Andy Fraser, the co-writer of many of Free's greatest songs, who died in March.

Free formed in London in 1968, and were one of the biggest-selling British blues rock groups of their time, selling more than 20 million albums around the world before disbanding in 1973.

The celebration will be led by Terry Slesser, who fronts the UK's leading Free tribute band, Freeway, and was also in Back Street Crawler with the late Free guitarist Paul Kossoff.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the formation of Back Street Crawler, and Slesser will mark the work of both bands.

Also appearing will be three other bands/artists who will be paying their own tribute to Andy Fraser: a young protege named Tobi who Fraser took under his wing, Fraser's own band, Sharks, which he formed after leaving Free, and Saiichi Sugiyama, who has been labelled the "Japanese Clapton", and whose album Fraser guested on just before his death.

Promoter Bill Flynn is excited by the line-up, saying: "Andy Fraser was such a key member of Free. He was the one who, 46 years ago, came up with the chorus for one of the greatest rock anthems of all time, All Right Now.

"This happened in a dressing room following a gig by Free in late November 1969. Besides being a co-writer on most of Free's songs, he also co wrote two other hits by the band with Paul Rodgers, My Brother Jake and Little Bit of Love.

"Andy's passing was felt by so many, I did not want this year to pass without remembering him in some way, and with also Koss having his own anniversary this year, it is fitting that we will have lots of excellent Free music during the night, but there will be something for Andy Fraser and Paul Kossoff fans too.

"We always get a great reaction to Free's music when we hold the convention in the North East, so to have Terry Slessor with Freeway, Sharks, Tobi and Saiichi Sugiyama all present is a dream come true."

Paul Rodgers, the singer with Free and Bad Company, is sending auction items to help with the charity fundraising

Tickets, priced £17 in advance, are available from Bill Flynn at freeconvention@aol.com or on 01282 868352 or 07948 017380.