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A view from backstage – another manic Monday – Paul’s day 4 blog

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Photos thanks to Paul Bond of Purabellezza Photography. Video of Secret Police (Sunday night) below this blog, thanks to Stephen Mitchell. See the Facebook page for more informal shots of the evening.

Monday Monday, so good to me! After such a huge weekend and having so much fun on Sunday night I was seriously wondering whether I would make it to the stage on Monday, but music prevailed and by the time 7pm came around I could see we were heading towards another great night of music. For this fine Monday evening the theme was simple……..ROCK!

The original line up had 4 bands coming to the stage but with Toadstool playing for us last Saturday, the three remaining bands had a longer set time to fill which was a better solution than cramming another group into the schedule. To kick things off a band from Coleford and beyond, with the youngest musicians I’ve seen on the main stage this year. Young at heart and incredibly talented, we welcomed to the stage Pandemick. Great to see the drummer on lead vocals too, a rarity and certainly a tough job. It’s occasional, but when I do sit down to hit the skins I can’t even think in a straight line, let alone remember words in a sequential order and keep them in key. My hat comes off to the boys from Pandemick. A couple of years and they will be really owning their own sound. They ended their set with the Terminator theme which for me was the highlight of the night.

Second up, Between The Lines. Again a really young band but with a whole different kettle of fish on offering. Rock, folk, Funtime and even some occasional foreign vocals, although I couldn’t get to the front of stage quick enough to work out which language their lead was singing in for that tune. They welcomed a cameo singer who added a nice female touch to the otherwise all male crew and also got the whole audience singing along to their music. There were two words that defined the band for me, stage presence! They had stack loads and although they were young, they didn’t sound it.

Our headline for the night was The Words. A more mature band with some great songs under their belt. These guys knew how to rock the stage and with Monday night ever more pressing on the audiences watches, the band did a fantastic job at keeping the mood going. For not only did many of us normal folk work during the day, but we had to do it again tomorrow. The question is do we care how tired we are? Of course not, It’s just another manic Monday. With tantalising  Tuesday just round the corner.
And another goodie for you – The Secret Police performing on Sunday night:

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Paul’s day three blog – Sunday

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Sunday night and Sunday Carnival photos thanks to: Des Pugh, Hannah McGregor and Paul Bond of Pura Bellezza Photography, Emma Cheshire-Jones of ECJ photography and festival volunteers. Video (below this blog) thanks to David Ibbitson of www.goherefordshire.co.uk

Normally Sunday is considered the official day of rest, but not at Monmouth Festival. Following a noisy, colourful and spectacular Carnival day, in the evening Blestium Street car park was alive with jivers from across our fair county all enjoying the sounds of The Jiveoholics, our first band to hit the stage. I’ve known the boys from the band about five years and seen them play a myriad of gigs, but this year with their new line up I was looking forward to see how their sound might have changed. If you missed it then I can confirm that they still know how to party. The crowd were dancing their socks off and those who weren’t enjoyed a gentle sway in place of all out leg shaking. A fun, frollicky and energetic start to Sunday night’s line up.

Then something completely different with the Secret Police, one of the best tribute bands in seen in a long time, excellent covers and smashing vocals. We all enjoyed an hour or crackin’ tunes and because the bands renditions were so close to the original, most of the crowd were spotted singing along to more than one hit.

Overall a superb evening and a perfect ending to the week. Hold onto your hats though because Monday night is coming. And sees us launch into day four of Monmouth’s Festival.

What a night! Hell’s Bells & Toadstool

What a night last night was (Saturday) – as you’ll see from the pictures below, and video (see end of blog). Our compere/MC Paul Roberts (you may remember him way back from Sunshine Radio) will be blogging following each night so make sure to check in each day for the lo-down on the night’s happenings. Over to Paul …

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Photos from Paul Bond of Purabellezza Photography. See the Facebook page for more informal shots of the evening.

I love it when a plan comes together, but even more so when it doesn’t! Saturday night saw a slight change in the scheduled line up. Due to unforeseen circumstances Yes Sir Boss were unable to attend the main stage, but what the hell, Toadstool rocked the joint effortlessly with their mix of mainly self-composed tunes topped off with a few well performed covers thrown in to keep the crowd singing as well as moshing the night away.  For a last minute performance they made sure everyone in front and behind the stage was suitably hyped for the headline act.

The second night of the festival took off seamlessly where the first night finished. As with any event the normal teething problems had been ironed out in day one leaving the crew a chance to relax and enjoy the show on day two. From backstage I could tell we were in for a big night after DJ Jeff got everyone singing along to Bon Jovi in the intermission. A solid sign of a fun crowd.

if you’re an AC/DC fan and didn’t make Saturday night’s show then shame on you. Hells Bells truly owned the evening with fantastic renditions of the biggest tunes from the legendary rockers. Although I did wonder whether the lead singer had surgically removed some vocal chords to keep his voice high and tight! Certainly sounded that way, especially when he spoke for a sentence or two between songs. Either way who cares, we do what we have to do and if surgery is the answer to rocking the night away, I say so be it.

An awesome second night. Roll on Sunday for what is sure to be a truck load of swinging legs and flailing arms as we turn up the jive. Followed by a chorus of English man in New York when The Secret Police step forward.

Read Paul’s first night blog here.

Thanks to Stephen Mitchell for the video below.

So close, it’s … HERE! Monmouth Festival starts TONIGHT

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After all these months and weeks of preparations it’s finally here!!! Monmouth Festival kicks off tonight with classical diva Sarah Ann-Cromwell at St Mary’s Church, local favourites The Good Times and psycho-ceilidh rockers Neck on the main stage, and singer Andy M at the Green Dragon.

The festival fever continues on Saturday with AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells and Bristol based festival favourites Yes Sir Boss on the main stage, Monmouth’s new festival orchestra performing at Wyastone Concert Hall – a festival first! – and singer Lee Lloyd at the Green Dragon.

** STOP PRESS: Yes Sir Boss’s lead singer has a severe throat infection so they will be replaced tonight (Sat 18 Aug) by Toadstool, from Mon nights line-up **

A FOCUS ON: Monmouth’s new orchestra – and a new venue! Sat 18th August 7pm
A very special concert, this is a double-first for the Festival: the first ever performance of the new Monmouth Festival Orchestra (MFO), and the first time we’ve presented a concert at the world-class Wyastone Concert Hall, located just outside Monmouth. The programme will include the much-loved Brahms Symphony No. 3 and the tuneful Slavonic Dances by Dvořák. There will also be a premiere of a composition written by our own Monmouth-bred composer and conductor Chris Petrie, who will also conduct the concert. Chris Petrie studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and has worked with some of Europe’s leading ensembles including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Tonkuenstler Orchetsra (Vienna), London Sinfonietta and Chroma. Yet another example of Monmouth’s amazing musical talent.

A FOCUS ON: Carnival day, this Sunday!
The Carnival procession – including LeMans style racing cars, Severnside Silver Dragons Marching Band, Forest of Dean Morris Dancers and local people/organisations – will start at 2pm at the top of Priory Street and wend its way to the Festival stage at Blestium Street car park. There will be stalls, entertainers and workshops in Monnow Street from 10-6pm, a funfair from 1-5pm, and zorbs, archery and clay pigeon shooting on Chippenham Fields. A special Sunday Worship on the main stage at 11am will be led by Nia Price, Monmouth Band will be playing from 1pm in Agincourt Square, and there will be music from 3pm at the Robin Hood (Carnival Chillout with Angharad and Lounging About) and on the main stage in Blestium Street (local bands showcase).

On Sunday evening, rising star Harry Jones is at the Green Dragon, and the Jiveoholics and The Secret Police will be on the main stage.If you haven’t already checked out the line-up then you can do so here, and if you haven’t picked up your brochure, keep an eye out, they’re going fast.

In the meantime, checkout our Facebook and Twitter pages which are the best place to follow all the action.

Please remember …

… it really is important that you dig deep this year when approached by a friendly person holding a donations bucket.

Please think about the value for money you’re getting and donate as much as you feel you can.

We understand times are hard, so we appreciate anything you can give to make sure the Festival survives and be even bigger and better next year.

ALL donations go directly to the costs of the Festival – there are no staff, no offices, no costly admin re-charges, as everything is done by volunteers – so you can be assured that your money is being used to bring YOU a great Festival.
THANK YOU for your generosity past, present, and future!
Thanks also to our fantastic business supporters.

If you’re feeling generous as you read this, you can even donate via PayPal button top right or by clicking here.

So close you can almost taste it …


Four days to go – after all these months and weeks of preparations we’ll be ready to quite literally, rock and roll. As the anticipation builds, so will the main/outdoor stage – you’ll see it rising from the car park on Blestium Street from Wednesday.

If you haven’t already checked out the line-up then you can do so here, and if you haven’t picked up your brochure, keep an eye out, they’re going fast.

In the meantime, checkout our previous blog about the 80s or our Facebook and Twitter pages which are the best place to follow all the action.

Please remember …

… it really is important that you dig deep this year when approached by a friendly person holding a donations bucket.

Please think about the value for money you’re getting and donate as much as you feel you can.

We understand times are hard, so we appreciate anything you can give to make sure the Festival survives and be even bigger and better next year.

ALL donations go directly to the costs of the Festival – there are no staff, no offices, no costly admin re-charges, as everything is done by volunteers – so you can be assured that your money is being used to bring YOU a great Festival.THANK YOU for your generosity past, present, and future! Thanks also to our fantastic business supporters.

If you’re feeling generous as you read this, you can even donate via PayPal button top right or by clicking here.

What were you doing in 1983?

I love the 80sYou could have been … playing Pacman or Rubik’s cube, watching Dallas or the Young Ones, painting a white stripe across your nose Adam Ant-style, listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Combat Rock by the Clash, crying at ET, wearing big t-shirts with big slogans across them, ra-ra skirts and legwarmers …

If you weren’t even a twinkle in your parents eyes, then ask them about the tracks at the bottom of this post (they’ll either go all misty-eyed or roll their eyes in disgust). If you were around, enjoy the memories!

But while the rest of Monmouth was listening to all that wonderful music, a group of music fans in Monmouth were busy hatching plans to put on a FREE music festival in Monmouth ….  Read David’s story to find out about the start of the Festival. And come along to celebrate our thirtieth year – check out the line-up and make sure you’re there!

It’s incredible that Monmouth Festival has been running, continuously, for thirty years, and even more so that it’s continued as a free, independent festival, organised totally by volunteers. Please help us to keep it this way, and enable next year’s Festival to be even better by remembering to dig deep when you’re approached by a smiling person with a bucket. Thank you!

1983 number ones
The Flying Pickets – Only You
Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
UB40 – Red Red Wine
KC and The Sunshine Band – Give It Up
Paul Young – Wherever I Lay My Hat
Rod Stewart – Baby Jane
The Police – Every Breath You Take
New Edition – Candy Girl
Spandau Ballet – TRUE
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Kajagoogoo – Too Shy
Men At Work – Down Under
Phil Collins – You Cant Hurry Love

Yes, time does really prove that the most popular music is generally the most embarrassing in retrospect. If you want to be reminded of some of the best albums and singles as far as NME are concerned, check out rocklistmusic for 1983:

1983 Top 20 NME albums
1. Punch The Clock – Elvis Costello
2. Swordfishtrombones – Tom Waits
3. Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy – Billy Bragg
4. The Art Of Falling Apart – Soft Cell
5. Thriller – Michael Jackson
6. You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess – Yellow
7. Colour By Numbers – Culture Club
8. Think Of One – Wynton Marsalis
9. Duck Rock – Malcolm Mclaren
10. Synchro System – King Sunny Ade
11. The Crackdown – Cabaret Voltaire
12. High Land Hard Rain – Aztec Camera
13. Let’s Dance – David Bowie
14. One From The Heart – Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle
15. Cold-Blooded – Rick James
16. Power Corruption & Lies – New Order
17. Subterranean Jungle – The Remones
18. Trouble In Paradise – Randy Newman
19. Classified – James Booker
20. Alive She Cried – The Doors

Final acts and full line-up announced!

The RonaldosAnd we’re off! We can now announce the acts performing on the main stages (open air stage and St Mary’s Church) for the final weekend of Monmouth Festival – we’ll be announcing the fringe festival shortly.

They include local favourites (The Ronaldos, headed by Ronnie Rogers of T’Pau fame; 9-piece latin band Poco Latino and Monmouth-based opera singer William Mackie), and Pontynewydd Male Voice Choir, alongside one of the greats of British rock, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, and ‘60s revivalists New Amen Corner. The bands/musicians are as follows:

Friday    24/08/2012:
Blestium Steet Stage – Ronaldos, & Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash
St Mary’s Church – William Mackie (classical/opera singer)

Saturday 25/08/2012:
Blestium Street Stage – Poco Latino, & New Amen Corner
St Mary’s Church – Pontnewydd Male Voice Choir

See the Monmouth Festival schedule page for details of all acts on these stages for all nine days. We’ll update this with fringe festival acts shortly.

This year – our 30th – we’re making sure that home-grown (Monmouth) talent gets seen on the main stages. Just over one third of the 24 acts performing on the Blestium Street stage or at St Mary’s Church or Wyastone Leys Concert Hall, are from Monmouth.

Our brochure is in production and will be available to download in early July – the printed version a couple of weeks’ later, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Monmouth – 21st century Wikipedia town


Monmouth has been featured in news coverage all over the world, as the first town to have its own Wikipedia project – documenting the life and history of our town through QR codes emblazoned across the town – and Monmouth Festival has it’s own QR code plaque (soon to be installed!) and a page on ‘Monmouthpedia’, at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monmouth_Festival

You can get involved and add your own information about the Festival too – see more information below the video.

The page is only a starting point: if you have something to add – information, a photo, or a link to other information about the festival that you’ve seen online – then you can add it yourself.

To find out more, read the online guides, go to one of the ‘How to edit Wikipedia’ sessions running in Monmouth (see local press for details) or contact project organiser John Cummings at john.cummings@monmouthpedia.org.

First acts announced!

Hells Bells

Hells Bells

Friday 17th August
Main/Blestium Street Stage: The Good Times (pop/rock party band) and Neck (London Irish Psycho Ceilidh Rockers).
St Mary’s Church: Sarah-Ann Cromwell (classical/light music singer).

Saturday 18th August
Main/Blestium Street Stage: Yes Sir Boss (stomping, skanking, genre-defying soul/world/jazz) and Hells Bells (ACDC tribute band).
Wyastone Leys Concert Hall: Monmouth Festival Orchestra (a first performance for the Festival at this prestigious concert hall. Top players with Monmouth connections perform Dvořák and Brahms, and a new work by Chris Petrie).

Sunday 19th August
Main/Blestium Street Stage: Local rock/pop bands (afternoon); Jiveoholics (the hottest jump jive and party band in South Wales) and The Secret Police – Police tribute band (evening).

The Festival takes place this year from Friday 17th to Saturday 25th August. The bands/musicians performing during the rest of the week and final weekend, will be announced over the coming weeks.

For more news as it breaks see: www.monmouthfestival.co.uk www.facebook.com/monmouthfestival, or Twitter (@monfestiv)

The best bands in Monmouth … for your wrists. Buy one and support the festival

Monmouth Festival WristbandsThey look good, they’re for a good cause, and they could help you win a visit behind the scenes at Monmouth Festival. Monmouth Festival/Gŵyl Trefynwy 2012 ‘glow in the dark’ wristbands are now available at shops and businesses across Monmouth for just £1.00 each.

The wristbands will help raise valuable funds for the Festival. And you could win a visit behind the scenes at the Festival – meeting a band of your choice – by entering our ‘Snap Your Wristband’ Photo Competition.

All you need to do is to buy a wristband, and then take a photo of yourself wearing it, and send it to: festivalmonmouth@gmail.com by Monday 30th July. We’ll post the photos on this blog – and the photo of the wristband in the most unusual location (as judged by our expert panel of errr … experts) will win.

You can grab yourself a wristband – or more than one – from the following places in Monmouth (but keep a look out as more shops will be stocking them soon):
DS Music
Car Care
Drybridge Garage
Three Horseshoes
Hair + Beauty
Eat Your Crusts
Wigmores
Henrys
Envee/Number 94
Granny Browns
Seven Seas Fish & Chip Shop
Robin Hood
Handyman House.

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