Monmouth 2015 by Mutha Luvin Chimps (MLC)

Playing in an originals band trying to find an outlet and an audience for your finely honed set of self-written masterpieces, life ain’t all sunshine and lollipops!  There’s many a pub boasting that they ‘support live music’. This generally translates as ‘we support covers bands that play exactly the same songs as the covers band we had on last week’.

Ask the average pub landlord if they’ll consider putting on a band that plays (shock horror) their own songs and the reaction will be as if you’ve asked for something truly horrendous. That’s before you ask if there’s any chance of petrol money or a free drink after the event.

Then there is the support slot with bigger bands, the holy grail of ‘exposure’. Strangely, these support slots seem to depend less on musical ability or quality of your songs and more on how many mates you can march through the door at gunpoint, only stopping so they can pay for a ticket. And trendier promoters won’t even consider you unless everyone in the band has beards.

But…..(there is a but) sometimes you play an event that makes everything seem worthwhile and (yes, you’ve guessed it)…. Monmouth Music Festival is such an event. An amazing setting in the heart of South Wales with a fantastic stage, large screens (look mum, I’m on TV) and kicking out an awesome sound.

It’s a free festival which attracts a large audience who come to enjoy themselves and the music on offer. Most importantly, the organisers are incredibly welcoming, friendly and genuinely doing it to support live and grass roots music, picking bands to play on merit.  Nothing was too much trouble and …. they have a back stage area with its own free bar! (Don’t tell the drummer).

 Mutha Luvin Chimps played Main Stage, Friday 31st July and it was a true highlight of all the things we’ve done. The feedback from the crowd was brilliant, we flogged some CDs and there was a bouncy castle. What more could you want?

We’d play it again in a heartbeat and loved every single second of it.

Thanks guys.  We had a blast working with you too!
All Barred Up very generously donated the free bar.  Thanks Wayne.

The MonFest Street Food Experience. Is there a better way to start the weekend?

Don't miss the first ever Monmouth Festival Street Food Event on Friday, 20th November 2015, 5 to 10pm.  

We're mixing pitch perfect hot street food with locally sourced talented musicians, a recipe sure to delight and entertain.  We can't think why it's taken us so long to try it.

If you thought Fridays couldn't get any better then you're in for a pleasant surprise. Drop in on the way home or on the way out, you won't be able to miss us we'll be in front of The Shire Hall.

See you there.






Halloween Checklist

  1. Pumpkins bought                                                                                                                           
  2. Pumpkins carved                                                                                                                           
  3. Plenty of treats                                                                                                                               
  4. Costumes made and ready                                                                                                          
  5. Tickets for Fangtastic FESTIVAL Fundraising Halloween Party                      

Tickets available from The Riverside Hotel or Oliver Jeffries.  For more information head here:


A year in the life of the Festival. October 2015 - an ending and a beginning.

October is the month that we put one festival to bed and begin the process of staging a new one.

The AGM held at the beginning of October reports on the Festival’s activities and finances; acknowledges and thanks committee members, crew and volunteers; and brings the Festival year to its conclusion.

The AGM also launches the new Festival year – electing officers, enrolling committee members and embracing new volunteers.

October sees the allocation of jobs and responsibilities; the drawing up of a timeline and establishing a strategy. Artists start applying to play Monmouth Festival 2016.  (Only 16 days in and we've already received over 250 application!)

There may be 280 days before Monmouth Festival 2016's opening night but we're already counting down!l

AGM Update

At the AGM held on Thursday, 1st October, Mel Ralph and Ian Jones were re-elected as Co-Chairs;  Clare Webb as Treasurer and Cerys Watts as Secretary.  Ian Jones was also appointed as a Monmouth Music Festival Director.

We  would like to thank Maureen and Cliff Vandervelden for their time, support and contribution to the Festival over many years, and wish them all the best.

 AGM 2015 Chairman’s Report:

Well yet again Monmouth Festival 2015 was a success, the good news is that we are still solvent and the team spirit returned in force. We started with the usual Welsh welcome of a torrential downpour but weathered the storm and the crowds came out in their droves for the rest of the week.

The thirty-third year of the Monmouth festival seemed to encompass ever expanding parts of the community and the buzz throughout Monmouth was encouraging. This success was 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. Your Co-Chairs would like to thank you all and express our gratitude to all those present and unavailable this evening for your un-abating teamwork. It was nice to see our new Festival Family additions of Mike Saunders, Steve Stretfford Kamran Khanverdi slot into the team running, picking up their roles and delivering with true enthusiasm.

Feedback from the general public was outstanding and all comments were taken on board and addressed at our mop up meeting. Finances were tight this year, 2015 being one of the most expensive to put on. We are pleased to report that all inherited debts from previous years have now been settled and going forward we start with a clean slate. This will give us a more stable foundation and flexibility to build a bigger and better festival for years to come. Complete financial details will be in the Treasurer’s report.

The aim of Monmouth Festival is to provide a community event for the people of Monmouth and its surrounding areas to enjoy. This year with the help of Ollie Jeffries we managed to expand the fringe to also include The Savoy Theatre, The Riverside and The Old Nags Head.

2015 saw our website brought up-to-date in line with current trends and we would like to thank Tom Locke and Cerys Watts for all their hard work and dedication in providing such a user friendly resource. This will now be kept current to enable our supporters both near and far to keep abreast of developments for the following year

Our dates for Monmouth Festival 2016 have now been released and you can now spread the word that Monmouth is the place to be from Friday 22nd July – Saturday 30th July

Bring on 2016!

Mel Ralph and Ian Jones


 AGM 2015 Secretary's Report:           

 The purpose of the Secretary's report is to summarise the activities of the Festival since the previous AGM.  I will try and be as brief as possible and I apologise in advance if I have omitted anything.    

Monmouth Festival 2015 was a busy year and one that saw many changes, both in the way that the Festival was run and in the staging of the event.  One of the main aims of the Committee was to create a strong team ethos and engage more with local organisations and the local community.  To this end:    

  • Jobs and responsibilities were allocated to individuals and sub-committees, and a more formal structure for reporting to Committee meetings was put in place.  This worked very well.          

  • The Committee became more transparent and accountable and new procedures were implemented and documented.  The Committee will continue in its efforts to improve the structure and procedural aspect of the way that it works.  

  • Social Media was used throughout the year, not only as a means of continued engagement with the local community but to promote other local events and organisations.  More information was shared via the website and Monmouthshire Beacon. It is anticipated that this will continue.  

  • The Fringe became more inclusive and extended its reach. Going forward the aim is to create a more diverse Fringe and grow it even further.                                                                

One of the biggest changes this year was the introduction of a "glass free" festival.  Despite our misgiving it was, for the most part embraced by everyone who attended the Festival, and was a great success.  The brochure grew from A5 to A4 to universal approval and the new website is much lighter, brighter and user friendly.      

A team needs great leadership and Mel Ralph and Ian Jones certainly led by example; Clare Webb, a very reluctant treasurer was firm but fair and Mark Williamson's assurances enabled the Committee to book bands, suppliers, etc., much earlier than would otherwise have been possible.  But a team is nothing without its members  and it cannot be overstated how important everyone's contribution has been  - committee members, Festival crew, volunteers. The Festival just wouldn't happen without your enthusiasm, dedication and generosity, and it certainly wouldn't be as much fun.              

Cerys Watts

Halloween Fancy Dress Fundraising Event at The Riverside

Monmouth Festival 2016's first fundraising event is going to be a bloodcurlingly brilliant, frighteningly fabulous Halloween Happening!

Get in the ghoulish grove with the spine-chillingly soulful Might Pledge on October 31st from 7pm until late at The Riverside Hotel.

Tickets are ONLY £3 and available from The Riverside or contact OllieJeffries.

There's a free shot with each ticket and be sure to dress in costume as there's a £10 bar tab prize for the best dressed male and best dressed female.

All monies raise will go towards Monmouth Festival 2016 so make sure to join us for a spooktacularly good time. 


We would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support in making this year's event our biggest and most successful to date.  Despite everything that the weather threw at us we had consistently larger crowds at the Festival venues; Main Stage, the second stage at The Three Horseshoes and St Mary Church. Festival goers enjoyed a varied musical programme over the nine days and the response to the new Glass Free policy was outstanding.  The Fringe included more venues than ever before and there was a great turn out at The Savoy for the singalong.   It is only because of your continued generosity that we are able to keep the Festival free at source.                                                                                     

We’d like to thank the local businesses who supported us in so many ways – giving or discounting goods and service, advertising and sponsoring. Many local businesses recognise that the Festival is from the community, for the community and support it for that reason alone. Without your backing we could not deliver this event.   

We welcomed new and returning traders this year resulting in different offers and more choice.  Thank you for your support and we hope you will want to be a part of next year’s Festival.  St. John's presence always reassures and the support of the Rotary Club year in and year out is much appreciated.                        

Thanks must also be given to the local authorities, MCC, Monmouth Town Council and the local police for assisting us with our licences, planning applications, grant support and authorising the festival to proceed.                 

Finally we’d like to thank the volunteers, directors, committee members, site builders, stewards, bucketeers and everyone else who contributed to making this 33rd Monmouth Festival the success it was.

Our hard working core team of around 20, work tirelessly all year to put the festival together but we are always looking for fresh legs, eyes and ideas. If you would like to help in any way whatsoever, please come along to our AGM at The Gate House Thursday, October 1st at 8pm.  Find out how the Festival Committee works and see if you can get involved.

Melaine Ralph and Ian Jones (Co Chairs)

Monmouth Festival - St Mary's Church

The Classical Programme showcased a wealth of talent with some virtuoso performances.

The Monmouth Festival Ensemble transported the audience to the Paris Belle Epoque era while the Scott Quartet featured Dvorak's American Quartet.

There then followed some exceptional concerts.  Gwnellian Llyr shone on the harp and then Matthew Petrie and Eliza French , accompanied by Hilary Petrie, impressed with  a mixture of well known and less familiar pieces.

Back by popular demand the Pontypridd Male Voice Choir  and their guest Ben Smith, ensured the last night of the Classical Programme was one to remember.

Monmouth Festival - The Three Horseshoes

The Three Horseshoes line up had a real indie, folk, singer-songwriters feel to it.

Running from Day 3 (Monday) to Day 8 (Friday) there were some amazing performances in this intimate setting.

Joseph & Maia, all the way from New Zealand no less, kicked it all off and their set generated an amazing buzz.

Emma Stevens had to rush off straight after her set as she was playing on the Chris Evans breakfast show the following morning.

Rhiannon Mair wowed everyone with her song writing abilities.

Liquid Confidence were impressive especially as this was their first time playing as a band.

The Shoes last night saw some well known faces entertain us, starting with Steve Edmunds and finishing with Earl 'N' Pearl ((a collaboration of some of the areas' top singer-songwriters.

This line up at this venue just gets better every year

Monmouth Festival Day 9 - Last Night

The last night is always bitter sweet - everyone's had a fantastic time,  the crew are still standing (just) - but the music must come to an end.

Red Racer got the evening off to a rocking start with their honed classic sound.

Then we finished with the mellow sound of China Crisis who played 80s favourites and new melodies.

The final act was a fantastic firework display.

And so over for another year. 

we'll be announcing next year's festival dates shortly so keep an eye out!

Monmouth Festival Day 7 - Dance Night

For one night only Main Stage was dedicated to dance/house music and it was awesome. 

Teaming DJ experience with ghetto funk and electro-swing and still believing himself "not worthy"  Mr Biggz & Funkmaster Bates ' collaboration created the ultimate party experience.

Monmouth went wild for Filthy Gorgeous .  It was totally insane. Nuff said!



Monmouth Festival Day 6 - Soul

Turrentine Jones, a band that have gone from strength to strength since their festival debut at the BBC Introducing Stage Glastonbury 2013,  played a great set.  We couldn't believe there were only three of them, the sound was gigantic!

Then it was a festival favourite and a band that needs no introduction  - Big Mac's Wholly Soul Band. They certainly got the place amoving and agrooving.

Monmouth Festival Day 5 - Rocking All Over the Stage

Sky Valley Mistress , the best thing you've never heard,  travelled all the way from Blackburn and back again just to play the Festival.  We're glad they did - they were immense.

Unfortunately The Vitamins had to cancel due to injury but False Heads saved the day and stepped in at the last minute -our heroes!

Monmouth Festival Day 4 - Local, Up & Coming Talent

Fresh from a rowing regatta and first on stage Max Weeden, a worthy Monmouth's Got Talent Winner,  played his guitar to "screaming effect". We loved seeing such a talented guitarist on the Main Stage.

Two up and coming bands from Newport followed.  First was  Crisis Talks with no gimmicks, no slogans, just music.  Oh and some free CDs.  

Next up was The Lash  featuring the astonishing  velvety vocals of Erin McNamara. Remember people you saw them here first.