Seeing Jenny’s post brought back a load of great memories. As one of the founding committee members I was at John and Jenny’s reception (hi guys, hope you’re well!) and remember the day vividly- it was as much fun as she says!
I recall those early committee meetings being fairly earnest affairs- members, as I recollect, included the indomitable John Hamilton in the Chair, the late Bob Linwood, Paul Meredith, Bleddyn Richards (ever the stalwart to this day I gather), myself and one or two others whose names escape me. I’m not too sure what the ‘vision’ was in those days, just to celebrate Monmouth and its rich artistic heritage. Oh, and to make sure everyone had fun, whatever their demographic!
The spin off from the festival, of course, was the (semi)legendary Rockfair on the banks of the Wye by the Rowing Club. We had some fabulous bands (playing to audiences of up to 2,000- some of whom even paid!) on a rickety scaffold stage-including the like of The Mannish Boys, Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack and even a guest appearance from none other than Robert Plant.
We survived on the goodwill of the locals, the occasional regional arts council grant and a lot of Punch House / Vine Tree/ Nags Head (et al) beer and peanuts! I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to know that the festival is still going strong after 30-odd years and that it’s now in such safe hands. Keep it going, folks, and I really must try and pop down and take some of it in soon……..good luck for 2012 and beyond!