Hertford Music Festival's annual MUSICAL MYSTERY TOUR is set to be the biggest and best ever - with 33 venues already on board and more to come.
Last year more than 400 musicians and DJs playing every musical style from rock to reggae, folk and funk to punk, classical and jazz took part in the town's hugely popular music frenzy, with some 30 venues simultaneously taking part in the one-day Musical Mystery Tour. This year Festival Director Kev Saunders is hoping to showcase even more local talent this year with the help of the festival's sponsors, old and new.
'The atmosphere last year was incredible!' says Kev. 'And every single venue was packed to the rafters - this is clearly no longer just a local phenomenon. Thousands of people poured into Hertford for the day and stayed to the end, rocking and strolling round town guided by their Musical Mystery Tour maps of Hertford.'
Sloppy's Join Sponsors
'We're very chuffed to announce that this year's headline sponsor is Sloppy's American Sports Bar & Grill,' Kev adds, 'especially because the place is such a Hertford institution. I was a regular back in the day of the bar's original incarnation as Sloppy Joe's 30 years ago back in 1985 - and now that it's back in its rightful place on the Hertford nightlife horizon we've already got an amazing line-up of artists waiting in the wings, with a load more to be announced.
Already booked for the 30th August at Sloppy's are superb jazz/blues torch singer Francesca Fonzarelli, sixties covers duo Maiden Jeans, terrific acoustic rock and pop covers duo HEX, singer songwriter James Nighthawk (fresh from his appearance at Rock at the Castle) and singer/guitarist Becky Phillips, whom readers might know from her Rock and Country music show on Stevenage radio station SG1 and her popular covers band Dakota Smile (who will also be playing the Musical Mystery Tour - at the Jungle Bar).
An early highlight in the Sloppy's line-up is Bethia Beadman, an artist described by John Kennedy in Dazed and Confused as 'One of the best unsung artists around' and by Chris Roberts in The Quietus as 'the real thing... a rarity, an original ... a cross between Ziggy Stardust and Maria Callas ...'
A child ballerina, ever in search of the ecstatic and transformative, Bethia read Theology and Sanskrit at Cambridge. She has sung in a choir at the Vatican, supported Pete Doherty, played Glastonbury numerous times, the Isle of Wight and the Festival of the Dark Mountain, toured to Albania and lived in Hollywood with Courtney Love while playing piano in Hole. She also went on a waterfall tour of Cornwall in folk-rock band Circulus. This is going to be a real treat for all Hertford's music lovers!
'We all enjoyed last year's event so much - Kev and his team provided amazingly talented and enjoyable musicians from noon till midnight...' says Sloppy's' Stephanie Sarno. 'We've been determined to get more involved in this inspiring annual event and help promote the town's talent as well as our venue, which is why we're excited to be this year's headline sponsor.'
More new sponsors to be announced very soon!
'Steve Beeston is, as always, supporting us in the guise of Steve Beeston Photography by providing all our event and promotional photography - as well as tirelessly building and updating the festival website.
Once again The Guitar Studio (Railway Place) and River City Studios (Mimram Road), both brainchilds of Neil Drummond from local band, The Huxleys are sponsoring the Musical Mystery Tour with backline (Amplifiers and Drum Kit), as well as Rock at the Castle with backline for the main stage and the artists' 'Green Room' hospitality tent!
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone at Hertford Town Council and the mayor Linda Radford for their continued support and co-operation.'
Hertford Music Festival Invites New Sponsors to Get on Board for the Musical Mystery Tour 2015
Now in its 10th year the annual Musical Mystery Tour has become firmly established as an eagerly anticipated event in the County town's cultural calendar - and particularly over the last three years it has grown into a major money-spinner for Hertford's pubs, clubs and entertainment venues.
"Many venues have reported a dramatic uplift in footfall and turnover on the day of up to 600% compared to a normal Sunday - and for some venues it even beats Christmas!" says Music Director Kev Saunders, who came up with the idea when he first joined the festival committee back in 2005 when he was running the former Hertford Marquee music venue.
The event's success does, however, present some new challenges for the festival's management committee, not least of which is the management and safety of the thousands of revellers the event now attracts - not to mention the cost.
"After discussions with the Police and Pearl Devonshire the Licensing and ASB officer, we decided to recruit a public safety expert to our committee," adds Festival Chairman Rob Guinn. "And we didn"t have to look very far to find our long-standing friend John Brown, who sponsored the Musical Mystery Tour last year in his capacity as Managing Director of Couvre-Feu Fire Consulting. John brings with him an incredibly valuable body of experience - as a (now retired) senior fire officer in the London Fire Brigade he has taken operational command of a range of incidents as well as acting as event safety officer at Party in the Park, Wembley and Twickenham!"
New Sponsors Needed
With some 30 venues, over 400 musicians, 25 or more sound engineers and technical assistants and 20+ festival helpers the Musical Mystery Tour is a huge scheduling and logistical challenge. When you add the additional expenses involved in crowd marshalling and other safety precautions the costs start adding up to considerably more than current funding and sponsorship can meet - so the organisers are keen to talk to local companies interested in becoming one of the event's sponsors.
"Whether as headline sponsor or as one of a select few second-tier sponsors, it's great opportunity for a brand to get its name on the lips of almost everyone in Hertford and the surrounding areas," says Kev Saunders. "And we"re developing a range of negotiable sponsorship packages ranging from just �100".
Over 10,000 people of all ages visited the 10th Rock at the Castle on Sunday 3rd August in the castle grounds.
A total of £4174 was raised for this year"s charity Mudlarks Community Garden.
As well as 17 live music acts there was a range of activities for all ages ranging from massages to sand art, not forgetting three drum music workshops provided by Jesus Hooligan.
Chairman of the Town Council"s Development and Leisure Committee, Cllr Miss Isabel Sigmac, said: "This was by far our busiest year at Rock at the Castle. I would like to thank visitors for their kind donations. The day was a huge success; we had more stalls, activities, and food vendors not forgetting our sponsors McMullen"s who provided the bar. Thanks to everyone who helped make Rock at the Castle such an unforgettable event"
To see a gallery of images from the event just click the link below.
Organised by Festival Director Kev Saunders and his dedicated crew, the annual Musical Mystery Tour is a frenzy of live music that comprises some 400 musicians and DJs playing every musical style from rock to reggae, folk and funk to punk, classical and jazz at more than 30 pubs, clubs, music venues, restaurants and street corners (as well as Hertford Museum and Hertford Library) on Bank Holiday Sunday 24th August from lunchtime to bedtime. In this, the event"s ninth year, Kev Saunders is showcasing even more local talent at more venues than ever before with the help of the festival"s sponsors, old and new.
Kev says: "I"m delighted to announce that Craig Ravenscroft of Castle House, Hertford (who"ll be taking part in the festival in a big way) is this year"s headline sponsor for the Musical Mystery Tour. I"m already working with Craig on a terrific line-up for the Castle House stage, which will be outside in the venue"s courtyard and it"s going to be the perfect way to launch the newly refurbished building, which is already operating as a guest house, as a superb weddings and celebrations venue, bar and eatery .
Already booked for Castle House, Hertford are Radio Video, The Rivals, Grae J. Wall & Los Chicos Muertos, Los Ladrones, Wasted Rhymes, Dr Joe, Schrodinger"s Strings, Suburban Dirts, Rob Clydesdale and 2 Bad Mice DJ Paul Rhodes. At the White Hart we have Radio Video, Broken Chords, Red Town, Graham Moss, Papa Shango, Chilled Out, Palm Tree Club, Jesus Hooligan and The Braves. A Fistful of Covers and The Ghost of Samantha are rocking the Stonehouse while Bad Harry, The Err Yeahs and Bombshell are among a 10-strong line-up at the Six Templars.
Hertford Music Festival are pleased to announce that pretty much all last year"s venues will be taking part in this year"s Musical Mystery Tour. We are also pleased to welcome some new ones. The latest is Hertford Library, which, helped by the sponsorship Parkhurst Music Studio will be presenting a truly innovative and exciting line-up, headed by acoustic duo Oka Vanga.
Oka Vanga are an instrumental guitar duo that combine complex finger picking and rich melodic writing to create new and exciting guitar music. Based at their purpose built Parkhurst Music teaching studio in Hertford, Angie and Will are keen to share their love of guitar through workshops and tuition. Recently described by Folkwords in a rave review as "...wholly engrossing - spellbinding technique, delightful expression, scintillating synergy and a world-spanning, hypnotic folk and roots vibe". Oka Vanga"s new album "PILGRIM" is being warmly received by critics and is available through iTunes and Amazon.
"Hertford Library are delighted to be involved in this important community event, and look forward to welcoming people to our new, purpose built library in Dolphin Yard, just off Maidenhead Street," enthuses Library Supervisor, Imelda Stewart, "Events such as this help to highlight Hertford Library"s place as a community hub for local events and information. As well as listening to the music of Oka Vanga, we hope people will take the opportunity to discover how much the library can offer them, both in the library and online."
Joining this years sponsors, including Castle House, Hertford - the umbrella sponsor of the Musical Mystery Tour - Call Print, Steve Beeston Photography, The Guitar Studio, River City Studios, Ortons Audio Visual (with Yahama) and Couvre Feu Fire Consulting, Parkhurst Studio are sponsoring the event at the library specifically.
Parkhurst Studio is a contemporary music studio in Hertford providing the highest standard of Guitar, Drums, Keyboard, Bass and Ukulele tuition from beginner to advanced level. With an excellent track record in progressing students through all the major exam boards including Trinity, RGT and Rockschool, they offer students a range of opportunities to participate in workshops and music events as well as a free trial lesson!