winners of the T-shirt and Poster Design Competition 2018

Following on from the success of previous T-shirt and poster competitions Monmouth Music Festival asked all the senior schools to participate in the competition to design a new logo for the 2018 Festival T-shirt and poster

As always there were some fantastic entries but after much debate Max’s bold design was chosen for this year’s T-shirt.

William’s colourful design was chosen for the poster

The boys, currently year 9 pupils at Monmouth School, assisted Jolly Clothing with the printing of the T-shirts and were each presented with a T-shirt, hot off the press!

Printing the T-shirts.jpg

T-shirts will be on sale during the Festival. We’re really looking forward to seeing the T-shirt being worn around the town this summer.

The posters have been distributed to businesses that have sponsored the Festival, advertised in the brochure/ will advertise on screen or have provided financial support to the Festival.  We look forward to seeing them displayed in many of the shop windows.

Family Fun Day Sponsorship Announcement

Monmouth Festival is pleased to announce that Monmouthshire Building Society will be sponsoring this year’s Family Fun Day. 

“We are delighted that Monmouthshire Building Society has chosen to partner with the Festival this year” says Monmouth Festival Chair, Mel Ralph. “Their sponsorship will help us to continue to provide a high quality family fun day experience”

Monmouthshire Building Society has been providing mortgage and saving products to the people of Monmouthshire for over 149 year, and will celebrate its 150th birthday in 2019. The Society is currently undergoing a rebranding process, and will be rolling out new consumer and intermediary websites in the summer. Founded as a mutual building society, the Society is proud to support Monmouth Festival.

Monmouth Festival 2018 will run from 27th July to 4th August with the Family Fun Day taking place on Sunday, 29th July from 12 pm to 6pm.

Taiko Mynydd Ddu, the first community Takio drumming group established in Wales, will get the event off to a pulsating start. The Savoy Youth Theatre Academy, followed by Monmouth Band will continue the entertainment and from 3pm onwards Monmouth Festival Unplugged Wildcard winners will take to the stage.

There will be plenty to do:  Dash Panache will be back to help you brush up on your circus skills or experience new ones.  You’ll be able to try your hand at wicker work at Hatton Wicker’s workshop or have a go on a Segway courtesy of  Go Ape! Forest of Dean.  The ever popular bouncy castle, inflatable and fair rides will be supplied by Megabounce.

There will be plenty to see: Monmouth Fire Brigade’s demonstrations proved so popular last year that we’re thrilled to have them back.  There will be a variety of stalls including the Festival food and drink traders.

We would also like to thanks Nick Penny Event Services for his continued support and sponsorship of Monmouth Festival Unplugged (previously the Busking Festival) and Monmouth Town Council for awarding us funds from the MTC Larger Grant Scheme.

THe 2018 festival t-shirt & poster

We asked all the local senior schools  to submit designs for the Festival T-shirt and poster again this year. As always the standard was impressive and we loved the different perspectives of the Festival. 

Here are all the designs. Let us know which ones you would have chosen.

MONMOUTH FESTIVAL 2018 is a little bit country!

Sunday Night, 29th July Main Stage

We’re really excited to announce that Sunday Night at the Festival is country night! We know how much you love the Festival’s Country Night and how much you’ve missed it. We’d like to thank Norman Crockett for his help, advice and shared knowledge.

The Memphis Belle Country Duo

will get the evening off to a great jumping jack start.      Nominated as ‘Duo of the Year’ in the UK Country Radio Music Awards 2017 they will be playing a wide range of songs from traditional old country to the more modern style

The Henry Smith Band

Voted BCMA Band & Entertainer of the year in 2010, Entertainer of the year from 2011 to 2013 and winner of the People’s Choice Award in 2014 Henry is one of the most influential country singers in the UK and Europe. Described as one of “the liveliest artist in the UK” he’s sure to have everyone dancing

Country Music has a song for everything – heartbreak, when you’re lonesome, reminiscing with friends or you want to party. This year’s Country Night promises to be a great dance night so buckle up, brush off your Stetson, pull on your cowboy boots and start practising your dance moves. We’re in for a night of heel splits, shimmies, shuffles and so much more.


 Saturday, 28th July, Agincourt Square

3. Unplugged.jpg

We know that there are 100s of musicians who miss out on playing the Festival so we've given the Busking Festival a make-over and it has become MONMOUTH FESTIVAL UNPLUGGED.

Monmouth Festival Unplugged will give performers the opportunity to win a wild card slot to play the main stage during the Family Fun Day on Sunday, 29th July.

It will run very much on the same lines as previous busking festivals:

  • Register between 9:30 and 10:30am on Saturday, 28th July in Agincourt Square for a 20 min 'unplugged' slot on the live stage. It doesn't matter whether  you're a solo act, duo or full band. Please arrive early as there will only be 17 performance slots up for grabs on the day.
  • Slots will run from 10:30am until 5:00pm.  
  • A panel of festival committee judges will review all performances and then select 5 or 6 acts to perform on the festival stage between 3pm and 6pm on Sunday 29th July. 
  • All stage performance will need to be unplugged - no guitar amps, no full drum kits. This is about the unplugged performance grabbing the judges’ attention.  If chosen, performers will be able to play their usual set on Main Stage the following day.  A full PA will be provided for vocals and direct input of instruments.

Busking around the town during the day is still both welcomed and encouraged but please adhere to the guidance contained in the Monmouthshire County Council Busking Code – available to view at

Monmouth Festival Unplugged is run in collaboration with Nick Penny Event Services . We are very grateful to Nick for not only running this event but sponsoring it too.  For more information please contact Nick Penny at or on 07801 650977.



So where will the second stage be this year?

We are very pleased to announce that this year the second stage will be held at The Riverside Hotel, Monmouth.

The Riverside Hotel has for a number of years staged Festival fund raising and Fringe events, including the after parties. 

We would like to thank Matt and everyone at the Riverside for their kind offer of hosting the second stage and look forward to developing an even closer working relationship with them.


Monmouth Festival's 2nd stage

There's been a great deal of speculation regarding Monmouth Festival's second stage so we thought we'd let you know what's happening.


The support and goodwill of the people of Monmouth is very important to the longevity of Monmouth Festival but possibly even more essential to the continued success of the Festival is the practical and financial support that the Festival receives from many Monmouth businesses. One such business is The Three Horseshoes, Monmouth.

Back in 2008 when the Festival was struggling to find a venue for its second stage Sam stepped in to the breach and offered the function room at the Three Horseshoes. This became, not only the permanent home of the second stage but, the meeting place for the Festival Committee.

During its ten years the Three Horseshoes stage has developed a well deserved reputation as a venue for up and coming talent with particular emphasis on singer-songwriters. The Shoes programme has always been highly anticipated as an exciting mix of new, existing, local and international talent. It is therefore with great sadness we announce that, due to the ongoing sale of The Three Horseshoes, our second stage will be moving.

We would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Sam and Bev. Their willingness to provide a venue for the second stage, their support, generosity and friendship has meant a great deal. We appreciate and value their cooperation and all that they have done for the Festival.

We wish Sam and Bev all the very best for the future and hope that we continue to see them at the Festival.

Audience in the Three Horseshoes 2015.jpg



Friday, 12th May at The Blake Theatre from 7pm

We are celebrating not only 35 glorious festival years but the volunteers who over the years have been so generous with their time and support. It is because of their dedication that the Festival has endured and grown into the event it is today.

Volunteers will be invited to attend the concert for free.

Tickets for the event are available from

Any funds raised will contribute to the ongoing success of Monmouth, your very own, Festival

Can you believe it?

Who'd have thought back in 1983, when Monmouth took part in the ‘Festival of Castles’, that the Festival would still be going strong in 2017.

With only 5 months to go until the 35th Monmouth Festival let the countdown begin!

From 28th July to 5th August there will be nine nights of music in the Main Stage Area (Blestium Street car park), 5 nights of music at the Three Horseshoes, a classical programme at St Mary's Church and Fringe events throughout the town.

The Busking Festival returns on Saturday, 29th July. Buskers will perform throughout the town with the open mic stage located in Agincourt Square.

Sunday, 30th July, is Funday with plenty of activities and entertainment for the whole family in the Main Stage Area.

We will be celebrating both the 35 years and the wonderful volunteers whose commitment over the years has seen the festival grow into the event it is today. Details will be posted over the coming days on Social Media, here on our website and in the press.

Monmouth Carnival will be held on Sunday, 2nd July 2017

Carnival ready to stand on its own again

Following a number of years of incorporation into the Monmouth Festival, Monmouth Carnival is set to operate on its own again this summer. 

The re-ignited carnival committee has grown in strength and stature and although it gelled well as part of the annual music festival it now seems like the right time for it to move on.

Such is the popularity of the carnival and its growth so big that there is now an expanded, lively and growing group who can move the carnival forward to a newer and bigger platform than could be achieved as a small group in a larger organisation.

The Carnival and Music Festival have agreed that it would be better to make the move sooner rather than later so that planning and production of this year’s events can get smoothly underway.

Mark Williamson, festival spokesperson said, “The Carnival now has the strength and depth of support to stand alone and we wish it every success in the future."

Chris Were, for the carnival stated “We are very grateful to the Festival for the support it gave us in recent times and for the offer of continued support for the future. I am sure that both events will continue to grow for the benefit of all in the town”

This year will see the carnival take place on 2nd July and a family fun day will be introduced during the first weekend of Monmouth Festival, bringing a new aspect to this much loved and well supported event.

If you would like to be involved with the Carnival or for more information please go Monmouth Carnival Facebook page or

Reasons to vote for Monmouth Festival's Aviva Community Fund bid: No 3

With three festival stages and a growing Fringe some nights it's almost impossible to choose where you want to be!

It will only take 2 minutes of your time but the effect that the £10,000 Aviva Community Fund would have on the Festival would be evident for a very long time!

Thank you

Reasons to VOTE for Monmouth Festival's Aviva Community Fund bid: No 2

We loved The Houndogs and it would seem the feeling was mutual:
" it's not just the crowd that was great, the crew were great. From start to finish it's been a pleasure to be here..... this is the nicest one (festival) we've done"

Please help us secure future festivals by voting. Thank you

AGM October 2016

At the AGM held on Thursday, 6th October 2016 Mel Ralph was re-elected as Chairs;  Nick Penny was elected as Treasurer and Cerys Watts as re-elected as Secretary.  

We would like to say a huge thank you to Clare Webb who stepped down from the Festival Committee and role of Treasurer.  Clare has been a great supporter of, and actively involved with the Festival since 1999 (apart from 1 or 2 minor breaks). 

Co-Chairs Report:

Monmouth Festival 2016 was another success story, we may have been low on buckets but we are still solvent and the Festival team spirit was still there throughout. We were extremely lucky with the weather, glorious sunshine graced us all week bringing out the crowds to support the performers.

This year the buzz throughout Monmouth was encouraging and was again due to the hard work of the festival team and volunteers who were unflagging in their commitment over the year running up to the festival, giving up a lot of their valuable time. We would once again like to thank you all and express our gratitude to all those present and unavailable this evening for your un-abating teamwork.

This year we had encouraging feedback from the general public with all comments again taken on board. Our mop up meeting produced an extensive list of both things that went well and things to improve on. These will be our starting points when going forward into next year’s planning. Even though the bucket donations were down, we do have a stable foundation on which to plan for 2017 continuing to expand an already successful event. The Treasurer’s report will provide more detailed information.

The community event we provide seemed to grow again this year. Ollie Jeffries continued with fringe gigs at The Savoy Theatre, The Riverside and The Old Nags Head. We tried different types of classical music at St Mary’s Church and with thanks to our resident Welsh speaker Cerys put on our first Gymanfa Ganu. This was a huge success with the church wanting to repeat again next year.

This year our on-line IT skills seemed to have gone into higher gear. With our up-to-date website, continuous information on Facebook and Twitter we definitely got our message out to the locals and beyond. In this area I would like to give a special thank you to Cerys Watts and Hannah Hill, both did a sterling job of keeping things current, exciting and interesting. The art of on-line communication seems to be the way to go

Our dates for Monmouth Festival 2017 have now been released and you can now spread the word that Monmouth is the place to be from Friday 28th July – Saturday 5th August

Bring on 2017

Mel Ralph and Ian Jones


Secretary’s Report:

 Monmouth Festival 2016, as always was a busy year.  The work of creating a more structured and professional organisation continued with additional new procedures put in place.  The idea of introducing “best practice” policies and procedures, as and when a need is identified is to ensure that should Monmouth Festival seek charity status in the future the systems in place are sufficiently robust.

There were many challenges again this year, not least the Traders Consent form introduced by Monmouthshire County Council half way through the Festival year.  I would like to thank Mike Saunders, Mark Williamson and Debbie McCarthy for their support and help in dealing with this issue.

We continued with the A4 brochure this year but it was very different in appearance and feel.  The Brochure felt more relevant, looked amazing and was extremely well received.

We were fortune this year to be awarded 3 grants – one from Monmouth Town Council contributing to infrastructure costs, one from New Grove Trust to fund the Classical programme and a Big Lottery Grant to diversify and extend the Fringe beyond the usual evening performances.  As a result there were daytime performances in Green and Jenks and workshops at the Shire Hall.   While some of these proved popular it is unlikely that they can be sustained without the financial support of a grant.

To celebrate the Monmouthshire Eisteddfod the Festival held a Welsh night at The Three Horseshoes and a Gymanfa Ganu at the Methodist Chapel.  Both events were very well received and many who attended would like to see the events repeated again in 2017. Indeed the 2016 Festival programme was felt by many to have been one of the best for a number of year, both in quality and diversity. It is a huge credit to the efforts of the Ents Sub-Committee that they were able to produce such a varied and consistent programme on the budget allocated.

Social Media is extremely important in publicising and marketing the Festival.  This year thanks to the efforts of Hannah and Charlie we were able to extend our use of Social Media by uploading interview, music clips, and backstage photos in real time. This generated a huge amount of interest and as a result both our Face book and Twitter reach exceeded 100,000 during Festival week.

As usual the success of the Festival is down to a huge team effort.  Without the commitment of the Chairs - Mel Ralph and Ian Jones, and the Committee members there would be no Festival, Without the Festival crew and volunteers we wouldn’t be able to stage it.  Without your enthusiasm, dedication and generosity it just wouldn’t happen.  I would particularly like to thank Clare Webb for reluctantly taking over the role of treasurer and doing such a sterling job. As she’s stepping down from the role and committee I would also like to remind her that she will always be a part of the Festival family.

Bucket donations in the main stage area were down on previous years despite being one of the best attended Festivals. Monmouth Festival is the largest and one of the most important community events in Monmouth Town’s Calendar.  It promotes and contributes to the sense of community pride; raises the profile of Monmouth nationally and internationally, and attracts a high number of visitors bringing additional revenue to the town. Because the Festival has been staged annually for the last 34 years it is taken for granted that it will continue to be staged.  There appears to be no realunderstanding that without additional volunteers and financial support from the community – the people, businesses and even the Town Council – an annual festival is not a given. One of the biggest challenges facing the Committee over the next Festival year is how to effectively communicate the real cost of staging the Festival and that the future of Monmouth Festival is the responsibility of everyone in Monmouth not just the Festival volunteers and committee members.

Cerys Watts