We're still keeping everything crossed in the hope that this year's Musical Mystery Tour can go ahead on Bank Holiday Sunday 29th August but it’s still impossible to make a decision until we know for certain that no social distancing or masks will be needed.
If they are, we can't go ahead - it wouldn’t be safe and it would be illegal. If, on the other hand, things go to plan and all such measures are dropped on 21st June it'll be all systems go!
In the meantime, we plan to begin discussions with venues to gauge interest but please don’t contact us asking to play until we announce that we’re opening applications!
Well who would have thought that 10 months down the line we'd still be in lockdown, eh?
We were hugely disappointed to have to cancel The Musical Mystery Tour last year and were hopeful that we could bring back the magic in 2021.
And we still are.
With the vaccination programme well under way and the prospect of lockdown measures easing over the spring and early summer, we're crossing our fingers that we'll be able to stage an event at the end of August.
However, the viability of The Musical Mystery Tour is very much dependent on the relaxation of social distancing measures.
The safety of everyone involved in the festival is our utmost concern and therefore we are unable to make a decision about 2021 until we can be sure that we'll be able to provide a safe environment for everyone taking part.
The provisional date for 2021 is Sunday 29th August and a decision on whether or not we'll go ahead will be made later in the year.
Stay safe and fingers crossed!
Well it was pretty inevitable wasn't it! We've hung on as long as we possibly could before finally being forced to accept that there's no way the Musical Mystery Tour can happen this year. Although there's a chance the pubs, clubs and hotels could be open to some extent by the end of August it looks certain that social distancing will still be necessary. That's incredibly difficult inside a pub at the best of times: but by inviting literally thousands of people into town all at once we'd be making it impossible.
Since we've all been cooped up so long – and all the other major events for August Bank Holiday have already been cancelled (Reading Festival and Notting Hill Carnival to name but two), we'd risk the town and its resources being overrun and putting everyone – artists, engineers, venue staff and of course the public – at an unacceptable risk of Covid-19 infection.
Stay safe and fingers crossed for 2021!
As many of you will already be aware by now, our dear friend, colleague and stalwart supporter Steve Hunt died during the evening on Friday 24th January - just hours before what would have been his 61st birthday and about a year since that dreadful diagnosis and concomitant prognosis.
As we prepared, with Steve's help, for last year's Musical Mystery Tour, the "elephant in the room" was the knowledge that this would be Steve's last, which is why we decided to acknowledge that sad fact in the programme while Steve was around to read it:
"We dreaded Steve not being here (not just because we've come to rely on his unflustered engineering expertise). I (Kev) fretted about how to put into words what I feel, all the HMF crew feel and all Hertford"s musical community feel (and thanks in no small part to Steve it is a community). So it's brilliant news for us that against all predictions, Steve's still with us.
Better still, despite having an inarguable excuse for just chilling out and enjoying the day, he's not only running two sound systems, albeit from a comfy chair (at Hertford House) - he"s also been hard at work with us on the preparations. So it's a good job I didn't write anything about a bloke who quietly does stuff with unflappable expertise and ingenuity. Good job I didn't bother waxing lyrical about the innumerable times Steve said "yes" before asking just how much work was involved. I might have wittered on about his unstinting kindness and generosity of spirit… and those inspiringly passionate and immensely authoritative online posts…
If I had he might have joined the likes of Mark Twain, Marcus Garvey, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Nobel and Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the select club of people who got to read their own obituary. At least in Steve"s case it would have made pleasant reading.
Keep on keeping on!"
And "Keep on Keeping On" he did. In the smoking area in the Isabel Hospice garden the day before he died, Steve was giving Kev detailed instructions on getting the optimum snare drum sound and the best vocal monitor mix from the larger of his two sound systems. To the end, he was fretting about how Hertford's bands were going to sound in his absence.
We know because he's told us on many occasions, that Steve was very proud of the Hertford music community - and of his part in nurturing it, as a sound engineer, as a DJ, as a vocalist and as a friend to so many of us. And one cheering thing about this past year since, with characteristically stoical understatement and without bitterness he delivered that bad news to us all on Facebook, is that that music community's been busy nurturing Steve back at every opportunity! At the belated 60th birthday party last march, at the Macmillan Cancer Support benefit gig held in Steve's name and at the fund-raising gig to buy Steve's sound systems for Hertford, friends, music fans and bands alike came together to express through music what they felt and perhaps didn't feel able to put into words.
The Steve Hunt Sound System
That last gig mentioned above was important to us and to Steve. For months he'd been fretting about the fate of the two great big old school sound systems and lighting rigs he'd assembled over the years. For our part, it was bad enough losing Steve - we also faced losing that big fat sound with which Steve has been giving our best local acts the awesome sound they deserve. Selling this kind of kit off piecemeal, Steve realised, is a job for experts; it would also take ages and he didn't want his wife Julie lumbered with it.
That's why Hertford Music Festival decided to buy the whole lot as a fitting memorial to a much-missed compadre, thereby ensuring Steve will be remembered every time we wheel out THE STEVE HUNT SOUND SYSTEM to pump out the sound of Hertford's most exciting bands.
The Memorial Service and Wake for Steve will be at The Hertford Club, Lombard House, Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT 1.45pm for 2pm on Tuesday 25th February. Everyone who knew and loved Steve is welcome.
If you can't wait to see our guide for 2019, 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.