Video: Norwich band Bearsuit offer to play in your front room

A Norwich band hoping to head off to a prestigious music festival in the United States has made a plea for help in getting there - and is offering to play in a fan's living room.

City five-piece Bearsuit have been given the chance by Radio One DJ Huw Stephens to appear at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas next month.

The festival is a major showcase for bands, but Bearsuit face a race against time to raise the cash to cover their plane ticket and visas.

So they have set up a website where they are asking people to make donations with the offer of something in return. For example, if someone is prepared to stump up �1,000, then Bearsuit are prepared to change their name to the name of their sponsor for a month, give them a starring role in their next video and allow them free entry to all of their gigs.

And for �500 the band will perform a gig in the comfort of a fan's own living room. They are also selling all sorts of merchandise.

Lisa Horton, Bearsuit keyboardist and vocalist, said: 'SXSW is the annual mecca for the music industry – with thousands of bands vying for attention from record labels, agents, publishers, managers, journalists, taste-makers, and DJs. But with so many bands showcasing, it can be hard to get noticed.

'Being asked to play for Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and the British Music Embassy, alongside other high-profile bands, is just about the best opportunity we could have.'

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The 33-year-old, who lives off Unthank Road, said: 'We realised we would probably never, ever get the chance to play such an amazing showcase as this again.'

'After plugging away for nearly 10 years, after releasing three albums, countless singles, endless touring, finally, we have a chance to really get noticed.

'We could not let this pass. Our one-man record label Fortuna Pop is too small to foot the bill, so we have been scrimping and saving, and we will be touring the UK to try and cover some of our costs. But we're still a long way off.'

The band, which also consists of Charlene Katuwawala (bass, vocals, keyboards), Joe Naylor (drums, vocals), Jan Robertson (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Iain Ross (guitar, keyboards, vocals), will be playing an album launch for their latest record The Phantom Forest at Norwich Arts Centre on Monday as part of their fund-raising efforts.

Bearsuit has already got celebrity backing from Never Mind The Buzzcocks panellist Phill Jupitus.

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