What a way to kick off the festival – Paul’s view from back stage

Friday 17th August

What a way to kick off the festival, especially after such an epic Olympics. Two great bands on the main stage made my night and set Blestium Street alive with dancing and frolics of all kinds.

Normally the initial evening of Monmouth Festival is a quick learning curve as the experience never fails to bring its own lessons to the team responsible for the nights smooth flow. This year there was the extra pressure of the festival anniversary. For 30 years now we have had the great pleasure of this free event in our gorgeous town, something we should all be proud off.

First up, The Good Times, with their energy packed renditions of classic hits from the last four decades. What a show, and it’s always a good thing if you can sing along to 99% of the tunes which is exactly what I did from 8pm – 9pm.

After this initial intake of well polished covers, the crowd and I were suitably warmed up and ready to see what Neck had in store for us. From the stage I could feel a slight air of uncertainty. For those who hadn’t heard the band before, me included, we wondered what to expect from the Celtic punk rock band. Suffice to say, they rocked.

As I walked on stage to thank our excited crowd and remind everyone that it’s them who make the festival happen with their kind donations, I was confronted with a single chant. More, more, more!!!!! There was no way we could let the band escape from our grasp, we wanted more and that’s what we screamed for. After a bit of encouragement from a steadily louder audience, Neck returned to the stage and we rocked another 15 minutes of Celtic punk on Red Bull!

I personally was knackered, after going to bed at 4:30 am the previous night I knew I couldn’t make it to any of our fine drinking houses for a nightcap. Even though the Nag’s Head was hosting a great gig from my friend Tom Collins; I decided that bed was my best option. As I walked slowly through town I was approached by a number of keen participants who all had two things to say. What a great night! And whats on tomorrow? It’s such a good feeling to know people enjoyed the first night and an encouraging start to what should turn out to be a great festival.



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