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).
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
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.