Jenny’s story

I remember the first Monmouth Festival very well! John and I were members of Centre Players at that time. We had parts in the first play staged at the festival -”Bad day at Blzckfrog Creek.” I was Old Ma Treacle but can’t remember which part John had. I had to say the first line – “there ain’t no more black-eyed peas”- now one of my favourite groups!!!! We were also in The Pied Piper but I’m not sure if that was the same year. I do know that I was a rat!

The first festival was very much a local affair. On the Saturday afternoon, or Sunday, I took children from Overmonnow Primary School to perform 4 country dances .. they were fab!

In 1986 John and I were married. On the Wednesday before John played with the Clivedon Set, their first appearance at the festival. On the Saturday, the day we got married, it was the turn of The Moss Empire music hall. After our reception at The Kings Head, then owned by Keith Gough, lots of our guests had to leave promptly because they were on stage. It was a lovely sunny evening, so most of our guests just stayed in the square for the entertainment. I remember quite a few tipsy friends weaving their way down Monnow Street, still with top hats on!

I have very fond memories of those early Festival days and I’m looking forward to Monmouth Festival 2012.

Jenny Abbott-Smith

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