With more than 160 acts, at 36 venues all around Hertford Town, playing an astounding 250 performances all in one day from lunchtime to bedtime and all for free, the twelfth Musical Mystery Tour last Sunday the 27th August was acclaimed by all as the best yet.
Commenting on this year's hugely successful festival, Co-Chairman Kev Saunders commented: "I was worried that last year's event would be hard to beat, especially since we had the one and only Glen Matlock, former Sex Pistols bassist and songwriter, as our headline act. But if anything the crowds were even bigger and even happier and the whole town was filled with the carnival vibe: you might call it the 'Not in Notting Hill Carnival'! And this year’s headliners at the White Hart, which is geographically and figuratively the heart of the town, where the irrepressible BIG 10’s ebullient, skanking versions of the songs of the likes of Madness and The Specials had everyone on their feet.’
The Musical Mystery Tour started out as a single stage event back created by Kev Saunders in 2006 . Since then, and with Co-Chairman Rob Guinn joining the team in 2012, the pair more than doubled the size and scope of the event. Last year, crowd numbers were estimated at well over 20,000 and there’s no question this year was equally busy if not more so!
"It’s become a vast undertaking - we simply couldn't do it without the support of all our helpers too numerous to list, the hundreds of musicians and DJs who play unpaid, the tireless technicians," adds Co-Chairman Rob Guinn.
"We're also very grateful to all our sponsors: Steve Beeston Photography, Brass Tacks Web Design, Waterpoint, Couvre Feu, Hertford Town Council, East Herts Council, Media Alive for programme artwork and - headline sponsor for the second year running - Hertford Planning Service," Kev Saunder adds, "as well as the East Herts Council street cleaning team, who had the whole town spick and span before most of us were up and about on Monday!"
More photos of the 2017 Musical Mystery Tour, along with previous years, can be found in the Photos section of this website.
The lineups for the Musical Mystery Tour are all sorted and our programme for 2017 has gone off to the printers.
If you can't wait to see our guide for 2017, then you can download it right here.
The programme includes a welcome from The Team, a big thank you to our sponsors and and advice on being cool, considerate and kind!
Plus, of course, details on all the acts and venues taking part in this year's Musical Mystery Tour.
Whilst the lineups were correct at the time of going to press, with so many artists taking part there will inevitably be last minute changes. So if there's an act you particularly wanting to see, check this website for up-to-date information.
Many thanks to Media Alive for putting together this year's guide.
Just click on the programme cover to download the guide.
The huge task of scheduling what amounted last year to more than 240 individual performances by over 600 individual artists is well under way and we will soon be ready to publish the first few venues' line-ups.
'As always, the stage in the back courtyard of the White Hart is geographically and metaphorically the centre of things,' says Kev Saunders. 'We wondered at first how we could top last year's headliner, former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, but I'm certain we've got a band more than worthy of the job. We're making the White Hart our carnival stage - a sort of Not-in-Notting-Hill-Carnival! So it's bands with loads of brass, bass and party grooves, including Lip Service Brass Band, Trailer Trash Orchestra, The Trash (Clash tribute), The Bleeding Hearts Rhythm and Blues Fan Club, The Trojan Horses, The SGs and to close the show the mighty BIG 10 – the magnificent Two Tone/Ska tribute band who rocked last year's Rock at the Castle! During the live part of the show reggae sound system Stone Lion Hi Fi will be spinning roots, dub, ska and lover's rock and from 8.30 the Friday Fox DJs take over, spinning feelgood dance music, made for those who refuse to be pigeonholed, defined or restricted by genre.'
Renowned for a huge Ska sound, entertaining stage antics and a loyal following, Big 10 are one of the most popular ska/2 tone acts in the South East. With 8-10 musicians on stage at gigs ( a 2-3 brass section and 2-3 singers) including Jase Tourette, Splendid Brown, Spazz, Buster Bricklayer, Saxy Liz and more, a Big 10 performance is a real treat for the senses!
The relatively new landlord at the White Hart has been part of the Musical Mystery Tour a few times in his former job at The Stonehouse – but now he’s right at the heart of the action.
'It's great being back in Hertford at the new, much-improved White Hart and all of us in the team are excited about hosting the Musical Mystery Tour’s flagship show!' says Manager Steve Walsh
Our annual festival would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.
This year's headline sponsor is Hertford Planning Service, based in Castle Street. Established in Hertford in 1981, Hertford Planning Service is an Architectural/Planning Consultancy Practice that’s been involved in a variety of projects ranging from small domestic extensions to a feasibility study for a whole new village in Warwickshire. Other prestigious projects have included the design/build of several golf clubs, involving both the courses and associated buildings. HPS provide guidance on all aspects of design, from obtaining planning, listed building and building control approvals, seeking competitive tenders and supervise and administrate projects until completion. They have a dedicated team responsible for the preparation & submission of planning appeals to include written representations, local hearings and public enquiries. Over the years they have won 5 Civic Awards, the most recent in 2007 for major conversion projects, and secured a position in the Ideal Homes Exhibition’s house design ‘Top Ten’.
Other sponsors so far:
"It's also important to point out," Kev adds, "that some of the sponsors are also active members of the team - particularly Steve Beeston who, as Brass Tack Web Design, works all year round to keep the website up to date and in his Steve Beeston Photography guise provides all our venue, artist and event photos (as well as doing the same for almost every event for miles!), Jo Asker who handles our social media, John Brown of Couvre Feu and not least co-Chairman Rob Guinn, who’s also a partner in HPS."
The 2017 Musical Mystery Tour takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday 27th August 2017 – when literally hundreds of artists from near and far (OK mostly near), nearly famous and vaguely infamous, will be playing at around 40 venues all round Hertford town from lunchtime to bedtime and all for free!
Rob Guinn, Kev Saunders, Steve Beeston and the rest of the Hertford Music Festival team, including some new recruits, have been working on this year’s Musical Mystery Tour almost from the moment the last one was over. And with almost all the same venues once more on board along with a couple of new ones, they’re looking forward to an event just as exciting and all-embracing as ever – if not more so!
As regulars will know, the Musical Mystery Tour is now thoroughly established as the biggest musical event in Hertford’s calendar – a frenzy of live music of every kind from classical and jazz to rock, reggae, folk, indie and punk from lunchtime till bedtime and all free of charge. And without the generous support of its sponsors and the co-operation and endorsement of the police and local councils, it really couldn’t continue at this scale, having grown organically – and on a shoestring budget – from a single stage to more than forty over its eleven-year history with an audience from far and wide estimated at more than 20,000.
"I'm very pleased to announce that for the second year running Hertford Planning Service is our headline sponsor," says joint festival Chairman Kev Saunders. "The event has evolved to become a huge undertaking that’s only possible with their support and that of our other sponsors, as well as that of Hertford's incredible and evidently inexhaustible pool of musical talent and of course the people of the town. That said, there are still sponsorship opportunities available, so please get in touch if you're interested in a great way to literally put your business on Hertford's map."