Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 6

Tonight was über chilled and an absolutely perfect summer festival scene.

The Antidote got the night rolling with some great rock/blues tunes, the vocals were spot on and the instrumental got the crowd going which is a mean feat midweek. The MonFest team were out front giving it the beans to get the crowd going and I think we managed to thaw out a few closet dancers before the set was done.
 “The Antidote were way better than we expected, they have been the best starting band yet, great vocals”
The night’s headliner Leddra Chapman was an absolute superstar, her flawless vocals and confident stage presence got the crowd in the right mood and set up day 6 for total success.  Monmouth’s MNB social forum is still raving about Leddra’s set even now, as I write this post at midnight with Monnow Street still alive and singing. Leddra also showed herself to be a true humble star with a great birthday dedication and a well-deserved and much needed encore.
“I only found Leddra’s music a few years back and I am SO glad she played Monmouth, I love her stuff and she is definitely going to be a megastar ”

Dance night kicks off tomorrow with 90’s legends SL2 and Monmouth’s Headfunkt DJ’s who are playing to raise money not just for Monmouth Festival but for other charities as well.  Tomorrow will be a first, and I’m all up for progression so roll on Thursday night.

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Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 5

Tonight was absolutely on fire!!

The main stage kicked off at 8:00pm with Tarantino tribute ‘A Band Apart’, the music was smooth and the execution, slick. Awesome Tarantino tunes got the crowd in the mood for a great night of music, taking off tunes from Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction and Django. The crowd amassed to maximum capacity by the time their set was finished and were treated to a sexy encore to close off the first half
 “A Band Apart were really cool, their outfits were awesome and my mates and even my mum liked the music”
Second up were Festival favourites, the incredible! The unstoppable! The biblical institution that is ‘The Mighty Pledge’. They were the crowd’s absolute favourite, pulling in numbers close to that of the headliner and proving that 24 years of festival playing has by no means slowed them down. TMP have instead matured like some groovy stilton showing off their wicked skills to the crowd and playing tunes that everyone knows and everyone is ready to dance to.
“THE MIGHTY PLEDGE! Enough said, that IS Monmouth Festival right there, they are what we are here to see, and they are why we come back”

‘Antidote’ and ‘Leddra Chapman’ play tomorrow, Leddra has been tweeting @MonFestiv about the Festival all week so we know she is excited to play it, and we are stoked to see her as well! Roll on
Day 6.

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Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 4

Monmouth Festival 2014 Day 4 was SWEET! These guys absolutely cranked the volume up tonight. Tonight kicked off with the awesome Crochez Moi, winners of ‘Monmouth’s Got Talent’ and containing one half of the busking festival band Tom & Joe. Crochez Moi rocked the crowd with some diverse covers and built up some momentum ready for Bloodflower.
“Crochez Moi were a great band to start the night, it wasn’t too heavy and set
up the rest of the bands really well”
The incredible Bloodflower covered some epic tunes combining heavy beats with cool 80’s electro pop. The crowd went crazy for the Bronski Beat cover, from backstage you can really feel the energy building when the crowd knows the tune and knows it well.
“Bloodflower were freakin’ insane, Bronski Beat was an awesome cover, I’m totally coming back if the Festival keeps this stuff up”
To close off the night musical genius Ted Zed set the fans on fire with his cool electro rock beats, the energy was off the scale by 10:30 and the fans were screaming for a second encore, and they genuinely wanted it. It’s the first night that the crowd didn’t just let it go, when there was no second encore they were genuinely (and vocally) disappointed, and that is awesome for Ted Zed and sets the bar for dance night this Thursday, which, off the back of this, should be EPIC!
“I didn’t get what Ted Zed was from the brochure, I thought it was a Tribute, but when they came out with those tunes it was electric”

I am stoked for The Mighty Pledge tomorrow, they are as much of an establishment as the festival itself and you know they’ll draw in massive numbers. Roll on tomorrow night!!


Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 3

Monmouth Festival 2014 Day 3, the festival is just getting better and better. Today kicked off with part two of the busking festival, the top six performers from yesterday’s free-mike performed live for the carnival audience. They did not disappoint, Silurian got the crowds going with springsteen-esque tunes before moving into the soulful and sensational 14 year Ellen Coombe. Tom & Joe and Owen Hughes drew an amazing crowd and featured heavily on the social media feeds whilst Bexley and The Gunpowder Plot blew the crowds away with their unbelievable talent, confidence and professionalism. As the sun slowly began to set the busking came to a close and were left with a milling and chilled out crowd, the smell of burgers and ice-cream.

The main stage was set alight at 8:00pm by an old Monmouth favourite ‘Bitchpups’ who got the crowd frenzied with their heavy indie beats and awesome stage presence.
“I am so chuffed Bitchpups are back, it’s so true, they are the voice of a local generation”
The wildcard, ‘Toxic Twins’ took the stage next, an Aerosmith tribute band who, within a few minutes, had the entire crowd on their side, they could have sung literally anything in the world and the crowd would still have been mesmerised. The crowd spoke for themselves and I’m certain the festival would be packed every-night if bands with the charisma and repertoire of ‘Toxic Twins’ played each night. Their presence was huge, amazing costume and strobes setting off an already wild crowd with classic tunes which get everyone up and dancing.

“This is what the people want, good tunes that we all know, a beer and good friends, classic Monmouth Festival”

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Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 2

Monmouth Festival 2014 Day 2, it all started with busking. The very first Monmouth busking festival kicked off a whole day of amazing music from incredible artists. 6 top buskers were picked to perform onstage tomorrow, I was blown away by the level of talent, I was expecting mediocre from a first attempt at a new theme but the artists were so skilled and so talented, the variety was immense with everything from guitar covers and originals to a zodiac themed hang drum artist and super talented kids with ukuleles. EPIC!

Hattie Briggs was an awesome first artist, her laid-back folk tunes set the scene for a beautiful night of chilled summer music, Fields of Gold put everyone on sway setting, #armsintheair
“Hattie’s music is so beautiful, she and people like her ares the reason why this festival is so popular”
The epic Folklaw took stage with passionate and political folk music of protest in a symphonic fight back against the establishment. The crowd were absolutely loving their sounds and as the beats got faster dance breakouts started in pools amongst the masses. Folklaw’s pseudo political theme got the audience fired up ready for the next artist.

“Folklaw were great, even my mum was going for it and she’s just turned 84!”

BUT, The headliner Seth Lakeman took the night, his vibrancy and amazing talent were infectious and even after a full set the audience were screaming for more and more and more. Lakeman’s uber talented band set the crowd on fire with incredible beats whilst Seth’s skill on string took everyone’s breath away, an audience completely immersed in performance and were awestruck to boot.

“I am in love with Seth Lakeman, he is so talented, I am buying his album right this second on my phone”

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Monmouth Festival 2014: Day 1

The 32nd Monmouth Festival, day one, an epic first night pretty much sums it up!

The crowd were amazing right from the outset, and I can still hear them outside my bedroom window

Trinity Avenue were an awesome first act, they got the crowd jumping and set the bar for the night. Once the crowd were hyped up they got hungry for more and Trinity Avenue delivered with some great covers of Lady Gaga and Daft Punk. As the light faded out around 10:00pm the glowsticks came out, the crowd was pumped and you could really feel the atmosphere get thicker as the crowd got bigger and louder.

“Trinity Avenue were SO good, they got everyone dancing, they are totally what this festival should be all about”

Then Serpentyne were let loose on the masses. Their pseudo mediaeval, indie sounds were magnified by their heavy presence onstage, steampunk faery costumes and some great digital vocal effects to set them apart.

“They looked like they were rising up from the fog of a mediaeval marsh”

The crowd loved their wild fusion of world music and their unique image really highlighted the diversity of Monmouth Festival and set the bar high for the rest of the week.

See you all tomorrow night, where we have Hattie Briggs, Folklaw and Seth Lakeman to kick off folk night.

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an hour later singing and dancing up Monnow Street.

Your Festival Needs You! (What is a Bucket Babe?)

What are you doing over the course of the Monmouth Festival? Do you want to help keep this historical free festival running? Have you got a spare evening or two?

One of the most important volunteer roles during the Festival is “Bucket Babe.” This non-gender, non-age specific (Non pc!) title has historically been applied to all members of our volunteer team who ask (Beg, plead with) our wonderful festival goers to throw money in the buckets to support the Festival. Our Babes on some evenings have spanned three generations!

If you have an outgoing personality, are over 16 and feel you can assist, we would like to have you on board. Engaging with every crowd member, applying that night’s colour coded sticker, getting them to part with some cash is not only rewarding but also provides around 25% of the income needed to keep us going.
Your chance to sport this year’s award winning t-shirt design is also a good reason to put your name in the frame.

Every year we are well supported by the Rotary Club. Other groups, organisations, workplace teams would also be more than welcome to join in.

The rota is in the process of being drawn up and we would like to see some more names on the list.
If you can spare an evening or two, three, nine please contact, in the first instance, Mark Williamson or Maria Monaghan by e-mail: or  Mark can also be contacted via mobile on 07899661536. 

If you can’t work as a “Babe” please remember how important the buckets are for our continuity and be as generous as you can, whenever you attend an event, to support our Monmouth Festival

Monmouth Busking Festival - a first!

New for 2014, Monmouth is to have its own Busking Festival. Inspired by Nick Penny who has organised The Coleford Busking Festival for the last three years we are turning Monmouth into a town of live music throughout the day on July 26th.

The zones – the idea is to have busking zones throughout town hopefully including White Swan Court, Beaufort Arms Square, Church Street, outside the Shire/PunchHouse, The Oldway Centre, Monnow Bridge. We are deliberately avoiding having zones where the pavements are narrow.

The open mic stage will be at the Robin Hood with performance slots throughout the day. The festival committee will choose five acts to go on to play the Main Stage in Blestium Street on Sunday 27th,  Carnival Sunday, after the carnival prizes have been presented.

Buskers- turn up on Saturday 26th July at The Robin Hood to book your slot on the stage.  Busk in any of the zones around town.

Buskers, street performers, retailers - contact for more info

Join the Carnival on Sunday 27th July

The hotels and campsites are already fully booked by people expecting another brilliant show within the nine day Monmouth Festival of free music. We believe it is this unique partnership of two groups of passionate volunteers that keeps the Carnival show on the road when so many other towns have given up. We calculate that Monmouth’s carnival will be 39 years old this year and that’s the revived version! 

Don’t leave it too late to plan your costume for the grand cavalcade down Monnow Street. Or will you be concentrating on preparing your prized vehicle to drive down?

The five categories you can choose from are:

Large Float                        the best one wins a prize of £100 and the silver Perpetual Cup
Best Vintage Vehicle                                                         The John Blake Shield 
Best Other vehicle                                                                   £75
Best Walking Group                                                                £50
Best Individual                                                                         £25

By writing a sentence explaining why you would like to represent ‘The Spirit of Monmouth’, you can enter the competition to ride down in a classic open topped car. Entries close on 12th July.   

Monmouth has an enviable record of stunning, noisy parades to live up to. Who could forget the Scouts’ Rolls Royce or Wyesham’s enchanting swarm of Busy Bees ,the dancers from the Attik or Rockfield’s 101Dalmations?We anticipate the historic friendly rivalry between the fantastic float-builders. Who remembers the Fire Service’s Shrek? Who knows what Wyesham Social Club or Savoy Youth Theatre will overwhelm us with this time? Millbrook Garden Centre sets its own  standard of creativity higher every year. So far the biggest vehicle to register is a London bus and the smallest a miniature steam roller, but you could beat that by entering your bicycle or mobility scooter or even skate board.

We set off from Priory Street at 2pm and finish for presentation of prizes on the Festival site
cattle market carpark. After the presentations, there will be live music on the stage throughout the afternoon.

Entry to the carnival is free but advance registration is compulsory. Pick up a form from CarCare in Monnow Street, The Shirehall ,phone 07762468903 or contact             

Bitchpups are back!

Tom Locke catches up with demon drummer Gaz Modget

Bitchpups began life in 2003 and re-formed in 2005 with original vocalist, Matt Modget, joined by sister Hannah on bass, and brother, Gaz on drums. They were loved not just by Monmouth but across the UK. Critics described the music as ‘full of exploding guitar riffs that erupt like The Ramones wrestling the Pixies’,  ‘a band that you know is ‘kick ass’ live.’

When did you last play together?

As Bitchpups, almost 7 years ago but summer 2010 was the last time we all performed together, under the name ‘Thyrd Eye’

Looking forward to the Monmouth Festival?

Yeah, it’ll be brilliant to be back as the Bitchpups in Monmouth, it’s where it all began, and the festival is a big part of the community and means a huge amount to us. We played a lot of gigs in Monmouth, especially The Queens Head and have played the Festival a couple of times which is always amazing. We know lots of people in the local community, so it’ll be really good to get back to our roots and play for that awesome festival crowd again.

 So what have you all been up to since you last played?

My sister and I played at Monmouth Festival in 2011 as Screaming Tiger with Ollie Montez (from Hereford) and John Marshall. Other than that, much as we love the music, we have all had work commitments. It is a little bit more difficult now as my brother lives in York, I help run this business (Car Care) and my sister is running her own Pilates business.  We do all still practice when my brother is down and we’re really looking forward to performing at the Monmouth Festival.

Bitchpups are: Hannah (bass), Gareth (drums) and Matt (guitar/vocals) Modget

Catch them on Sunday 27th July on the main stage.

Big thanks To Head Funkt

The first DJ night at the Riverside under the Head Funkt label saw a great crowd come and raise nearly £300 to go towards the festival. Huge thanks to Mike Appleton for creating the tour and all his hard work. Watch the space for the date of the next Head Funkt night to be announced soon, guaranteed to get you in the mood for the new Dance Night at Monmouth Festival 2014.

Crochez Moi to play Monmouth Festival

Monmouth's Got Talent winners Crochez Moi rocked the stage at The Blake Theatre as they played their way to the top prize; playing the main stage on new bands night. The band, all of whom are pupils at Monmouth Boy's School are; Jamie Barker, drums, Archie Waller, guitar and bass, Sam Norris, guitar, bass and Joe Norris, vocals. We are really looking forward to hearing them in July. In the meantime catch a song here.

Monmouth Festival Gets State of the Art Stage

Monmouth Festival now in its 32nd year is this year getting a stage and sound system to rival Glastonbury. Festival 2014 dates are July 25th to August 2nd with Carnival Sunday on July 27th.

Les Modget chair of the festival committee says “ Working with locally based Network Productions, means we are able to have a stage the likes of which Monmouth Festival  has never seen before. The Government Health and Safety executive, (HSE) has now placed festival sites under the Construction Design and Management (CDM) code applied to building sites, using Network productions means we know we are fully compliant. We are very excited that this year we will have a superb main stage, sound and lighting to show off not only Monmouthshire and Wales’ talent but some of the best in the UK over 9 nights of amazing music.

Nick Halliday of Network Productions says “We’re delighted to have won the contract to provide stage, sound, lighting and video for the Monmouth Festival 2014. Our production work takes us around the world during the course of the year, so it will be especially rewarding to support the festival in our home town of Monmouth”

DJs raise funds for Monmouth Festival

Look out for the Head Funkt DJ tour which kicks off on March 8th at the Riverside Hotel Monmouth. Local Djs are putting on a series of dance nights to raise money for the festival. They are looking for venues across Monmouthshire to hold a night with bar profits to the venue and ticket sales to the festival. If you can help please contact Mike at and put March 8th in your diary at The Riverside! And don’t forget July 31st is Dance night at the Festival.