BILLY Bragg, the musician/songwriter/

political agitator described by no less mighty an organ than The Times as 'a national treasure', has agreed to take part in the Weysia: Weymouth Bands for Asia concert at Weymouth Pavilion this Sunday, January 23, as local musicians, performers, schools and colleges unite to raise funds for victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.

As well as having commercial success of his own and working with luminaries such as Johnny Marr (of Smiths fame, as if you needed telling) REM and Wilco, Bragg also wrote the anthemic gem New England for the wonderful Kirsty MacColl.

He was also a prime mover in the late 1980s of Red Wedge, a left-wing movement with which he toured with such luminaries as The Style Council, Madness, The Communards and The Smiths. Bragg, the noble borough of Burton Bradstock's official rock star (I might have made that bit up), will be performing a couple of his own compositions, after which he'll be sitting in with Robbie McIntosh's Steamer Ducks.

This day of highest-quality live music features four separate events, involving over 20 bands and more than 100 musicians. A further 80-plus performers will be taking part in the Kids For Asia concert in the Pavilion, from 2pm.

The whole event has been described by Pavilion head honcho Colin Worth in terms of being the biggest single event to have ever taken place at that venue. I certainly can't remember a musical event on such a scale in Dorset, let alone Weymouth.

Just a reminder: as well as Bragg and the Ducks, bands performing also include The Crack (onstage in the Pavilion's Ocean Room at 1pm), The Jess Upton Soul Band, Pond Life, Gothic Chicken, Lo Numbers, Splinter, Satan's Coconuts (crazy name - crazy guys!), Steve Wilson, The Daze and Manny More. Sorry, that should be many more. Oh dear, it's been a very long week.

Continuity between the bands will be immaculately handled by Tia, Ian Sedwell and Ken Watkins.

Tickets for this major event should be available on the day, but I'd book a ticket on 01305 783225 if I were you. I'm not you, obviously, that would be silly, but I'll be forking out for a ticket or two, as will many other musicians taking part.

A raffle has also been organised in order to raise more funds and Dorset's business community has shown generosity to equal that of the musicians in terms of donating goods and services.

Prizes include a Fender Stratocaster used by Robbie McIntosh on two world tours with The Pretenders, and other booty includes a Canadian hot tub, a motor scooter, a widescreen TV, a day trip on the Condor ferry, air flights from Hurn Airport, a flying lesson (those last two not at the same time, clearly), 10 free MOTs, an evening watching Marco Rossi eat pickled eggs and more.

I might have made that last bit up as well.

Raffle tickets are on sale at the Park Hotel in Grange Road, Weymouth, Rock & Pop Music in Great George Street, Weymouth, Harmony Music in the Forum Centre, Trinity Street, Dorchester, Compton's in St Mary Street, Weymouth, and several other outlets.

You can get more details at, where you can also find some good informative links to sites relating to many of the bands taking part.

The response to this event has been truly outstanding, as my pickled egg-munching colleague mentioned here last week.

Heartwarming as it is, it does make you wonder why it takes an event where hundreds of thousands of humans lose their lives to bring out the best in humanity, does it not? Funny old world, isn't it?