As the guitarist with James, Saul Davies is used to performing on the biggest festival stages; embarking on major concert tours and facing the challenge of coming up with new songs which have kept the band current for more than 40 years.

But he admits being one of the driving forces behind a charity concert to help fight food poverty has been a whole new experience.

Music Feeds Live will see a host of well-known bands and artists share the stage at Manchester Apollo at the end of the month with the aim of raising £150,000 for the Trussell Trust.

Lancashire Telegraph: Saul Davies (left) with Tim Booth and Jim Glennie from James

The line-up includes Starsailor, The Farm, Slow Readers Club, Lanterns on the Lake and poet laureate Simon Armitage and his band LYR.

“Pulling this all together has been hardcore, that’s for sure,” he laughed. “But I am really enjoying it. In a way I feel compelled to do this.”

During lockdown James were part of the online two-day Music Feeds Festival which raised an amazing £1 million for food charity Fareshare and cultural support organisations Help Musician and Stagehand, as well as providing 2.4million school meals, in conjunction with The Co-Op.

“I suppose the natural step was to take the event on to a stage and physically make it happen,” said Saul. “I understand that musicians becoming involved in charity events can appear ‘do goody’ in some eyes and it can be controversial. But I’m prepared for that.

“You could say that whatever we do won’t touch the sides of the wider issue of food poverty but having spoken to people who run foodbanks I know that on a local level it does make a difference.

“Plus you don’t know what kind of impact you might have on other people who come along and support the event. It’s our way of having a dialogue with people about such an important subject.”

As soon as you have musicians involved in a charity concert comparisons are inevitably made with Live Aid, the global event arranged by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1985.

“I’ve not turned myself into Bob Geldof,” Saul says quickly with the air of a man who has heard the comparison slightly more times than he would like.

“I’m old enough to remember watching Live Aid happen in front of me. I was in my flat on the edge of Platt Park with a bottle of Merrydown and watched the whole thing - both at Wembley and Philadelphia - on the telly.

“The event has had its detractors but really what they achieved was amazing - it’s all too easy to have a pop from a distance.

Lancashire Telegraph: Music Feeds Live poster

“What we are trying to do is nothing like Live Aid. We’re limited to the capacity of the Apollo for a start. But what Live Aid did was change the way our industry thinks about itself.

“I’d like to think we’d do more frankly but there are lots of technical and business reasons why that doesn’t happen.

“One of the main issues is availability. Bands take breaks, they do an album then embark on their own touring cycle so to do a one-off event is difficult. There are all sorts of pressure specific to our industry which makes it hard but I’m not scared of that – I like hard work.”

Saul admits he started off planning the event by putting together a ‘shopping list’ of bands and musicians he’d like to appear.

“Like many shopping experiences that was totally unrealistic,” he laughed. “We had to concentrate on artists around the North West to keep costs down as much as we could.

“We’ve had a huge amount of help from the promoters Cuffe and Taylor. To be honest without them it wouldn’t have been possible. I couldn’t just walk into the Apollo and say ‘I’d like your venue for a couple of days’.”

The response to the event has been overwhelming which has allowed Saul to put on a diverse line-up.

“It needed to be diverse, not just some indie-fest,” he said. “But at the same time if you make bill too eclectic no-one will come as they don’t really know what they are coming to see.

“I think we have struck the right balance and now we have to make the event work as a show.

“Tickets are not cheap but it’s all going to good cause so that’s great but I also need to make sure that people enjoy themselves.

“The chances are it will go wrong at some point but that’s music. Actually it will probably go wrong when Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher start having a go (the football legends are co-hosts for the event alongside Chris Hawkins from 6 Music). That’ll be fun.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Saul Davies - guitarist turned festival organiser

For all the hard work and seemingly endless phone calls and emails, you sense that Saul is genuinely enjoying the challenge of it all.

“When you are younger you can be very enthusiastic about things but not really have an idea what you are doing,” he said. “I think I’ve got to a point in my career - he’s been with James since 1989 - that I’m not phased by things. If something happens you deal with it.

“I’m actually a detail person but with something like this you have to see the bigger picture; you can’t micro-manage it.

“I’ve known some control freaks in my life and an event like this is not for them, that’s for sure.”

Music Feeds Live featuring Saul, Tim and Jim from James, Starsailor and many other artists, Manchester Apollo, Tuesday, February 27. Details from