Category Archives: Bryn’s blog

A view from the Shoes – Bryn’s blog day 5

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Wow!!!  What can I say about Friday night, our last day of Fringe events at The Three Horseshoes. Hame followed by Rusty Shackle gave us at the Fringe Stage in The Three Horseshoes one heck of a night!!… the busiest night of the second stage in the 30 year history of Monmouth Festival !!

We were as they say absolutely rammed out – people everywhere as you’ll see from the photos. As well as having an incredible night of music, those who came did us proud on the bucket collection. I’d like to say a huge thank you on behalf of Monmouth Festival to everyone that has attended our events and given so generously this year – every penny goes towards the cost of running the festival. We were also very pleased with the two new initiatives to raise funds – T-Shirts & Wrist Bands. If you missed getting yours you can still call into The Three Horseshoes and buy them.

Hame, our local boys, entertained a packed out crowd of singing, dancing Monmothians (and others of course!) – lots of the bands’ contemporaries, and many others, enjoyed a high energy set. It was a real pleasure to support locally grown talent…on their way up we hope.  They delivered some fabulous original material and we on the sound desk were impressed by the numbers of people who knew the words and sure did sing along.

By the time Rusty Shackle came on we’d have to admit – it was rather warm in our venue. It wasn’t sweat dripping off the ceiling, it was condensation honest!!  It was something else it really was – a proper, proper full on jumping gig. Fiddle driven Acoustic Folk Rock enhanced by some great banjo work, acoustic and electric guitars, built on really solid bass and drums: that was the order of the day. They topped it off with all of the band backing up the lead vocals, once again on some really great original songs that have remained in the brain.

Yesterday night really was one of those times that is so difficult to put into words – I hope the few iPhone snaps I have included will give you an idea. I will also be uploading an album of my own snaps from The Three Horseshoes on to the Monmouth Festival Facebook Page (once the dust has settled!)…if you haven’t “liked” it, please do.

So, that’s it from me for another year. Once again our thanks to everyone that’s come to the Second Stage, for your company, generosity and support, we are very grateful. We hope that you have enjoyed eclectic mixed programme from Delta Blues to FuzzRop.  With the tasters we have given you we also hope you will be inspired to continue to support live music during the coming year until we see you again for next year’s Monmouth Festival…and you can be sure we are already working on (seriously!) next year’s line up on The Second Stage at The Three Horseshoes. Talking of which we’d like to thank Sam and the staff at “The Shoes” for all of their hardwork in supporting the festival.


Photos: Bryn Williams, BWM Promotions.


A view from the Shoes – day 4

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A quick blog from a volunteer for this evening’s show, as Bryn didn’t compere last night. Harry Jones was first on first, replacing Sam Eden who was unwell, and we were really pleased to have him back as he’d played at the Green Dragon earlier in the week and went down a storm.  I didn’t see him as I was tweeting and Facebook posting from St Mary’s Church where the Mavron String Quartet were playing, but hear it was a superb performance. Harry is definitely one to watch, with great personality, solid guitar skills and an amazing vocal range.

So, I arrived at 9.30pm just as George Montague was about to take to the stage. Just beforehand, a group of slightly older-than-usual audience members approached me and rather nervously asked me ‘what was going on’. I found it hard to describe George Montague as I’d not seen him before and he’s one of those artists that doesn’t fall into any particular camp. Singer-songwriter – well yes, but so much more: multi-instrumentalist (keyboard, ukelele, electric guitar, acoustic guitar).

As soon as he took to the stage it was obvious that this young musician is so much more than that, and what stood out in addition to his powerhouse musical skills were that he is a hugely talented performer: he commanded the stage, had the audience in the palm of his hands (even getting them to sing IN THE FIRST SONG!).

He chatted, he laughed, he growled, he squealed, he filled the Shoes with a vocal, musical and performer’s maturity far beyond his years (and I bet he HATES it when people say that sort of thing). The songs were captivating, touching, fun, and one, down-right scary.

He’s recording at Rockfield Studios today and was clearly excited when the Rockfield family – including Kingsley and Lisa Ward – turned up to cheer him on. Good luck today George, and we hope we see you in Monmouth again!

Thanks for the photos to: Paul Bond of Purabellezza Photography and Steve Mitchell of Stephen Mitchell Photography.

A view from the Shoes – Bryn’s blog days 1 & 2

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Welcome to the first blog from the ‘Shoes – to complement Paul’s blog from the main stage

We’re well under way over at The Three Horse Shoes, the second stage of the Festival: now it’s time to catch up with our blog!

In keeping with the aims of the fringe events over 30 years, we bring to the festival some of the best musicians and original music in the region, complimenting the main stage and giving you even more from your visit to the festival.

I’d say we started on Monday, but of course we didn’t…We started on Thursday because, like the main stage, we do a complete stage set-up, install the pro p.a., lighting etc…normally with just a crew of two: (that’s why we started early) – and everyone involved gives their time voluntarily – no-one is paid except the musicians. SO when you visit us, we hope that, just like the main stage, you’ll appreciate both the music and the hard work and expense of running our stage too and … ‘chuck it in the Bucket’ 😉

Music started on Monday with the internationally known Sons of the Delta – a real coup for us. They were simply incredible. Then came the biggest band ever to play the second stage – The Jigantics blew the room away with their high energy, rootsy, fiddle and guitar driven songs and some incredible vocals. We lost track of the total number of instruments used but we think it was around 17!

Last night, Tuesday, was another great night opened by Gaz Brookfield – “Newton Faulkner the second” someone commented. It was without doubt one of the most passionate performances we’ve had, and the first time we’ve had a guitar crack on stage with all the tapping and drumming mixed in with the strumming – all on one guitar! Keith Thompson, having flown back from a gig in Croatia, followed on with what was practically a demonstration gig of guitar techniques from picking styles to slide and every method in between. It was one of the gigs of the festival for sure.

Tonight, Wednesday, we are getting ready for what we think will be one of those “remember when?” gigs in the history of Monmouth Festival. To start with we have Martin Vogwell. Now, we booked him because we have literally seen people stand open mouthed at his style of playing – you shouldn’t miss it. Then for something completely different, coming all the way from the village of “Dribble Patch” !?! For the first time in
Festival history we have the musical genre of Folk Comedy! There’s not much guaranteed in show business as they say BUT we will guarantee belly aching laughs and great fun music from Folk-On one of the best acts, no correction, the only act!! of their style around. We love ’em, so will you! See you at 8pm at The Three Horses – don’t be late !!! 🙂

It’s a pleasure to MC the second stage, and it’ll be a pleasure to have you with us…see you soon.

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