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.
Once again, Hertford Music Festival welcomes Hertford Planning Service as this year’s headline sponsor of the Musical Mystery Tour 2019.
As Hertford Music Festival itself celebrates it's 25th anniversary, Hertford’s most popular (and populous) musical event is now in its 14th year, having grown from just a couple of stages back in 2006 to 30 or at times even 40 venues these days - from pubs (including the new Crafty Duck), clubs and hotels to the museum, McMullens' yard and the new Brothership art gallery.
"It's called the Musical Mystery Tour because from day one, we've based everything on the map of Hertford - making great music happen and putting it on the map so everyone can "rock 'n' stroll" round town visiting venues they might not know and enjoying all kinds of live music from lunchtime to bedtime and all for free!" explains Hertford Music Festival Co-Chairman and MMT instigator Kev Saunders.
With around 30 venues on board so far and more in the pipeline, the line-ups are all but finalised.
L-R at back: Martin Lumsden of North Herts FM and Cream Studios, Quivering Lip's Rob and Sammi, festival chairman Rob Guinn, risk assessor & project coordinator John Brown; social media & advertising co-ordinator Jo Asker. Front L-R: co-chair Kev Saunders, Passifs' Brad Palmer and George Clark
"Last year was to have been the first time McMullens took part by opening their yard as a major venue - but we had to cancel because of torrential rain. This year it's back with almost the same line-up as planned last year. The vibe is laid-back and family friendly with the likes of The Tom Braggins Trio and the 80-strong Somewhere 2 Sing choir."
The White Hart is always at the literal and figurative heart of things and among other acts already confirmed for the stage in the yard are The Real McKoys, Radio Video, 8-piece reggae band The SGs and Kev's Clash tribute band The Trash - while Martin Lumsden of The Cream Room studios will be setting up the North Herts FM Outside Broadcast Unit with a stage of its own in Market Place by the Shire Hall to broadcast live performances and interview for his 'BIG Sound Machine' local music show.
Hertford hero Baron Goodlove (without the Dreadful Noise) plays solo at the Millstream and the Black Horse, while Maxx Palmer headlines Hertford House Basement. At the new Brothership Gallery artist Pure Evil will be 'live finishing' his work accompanied by Junior Boys Own DJ legend Terry Farley on the decks. Meanwhile, up at the Greyhound in Bengeo, superstar DJ Brandon Block drops an exclusive early afternoon set!
"Of course we couldn't keep making this happen without the co-operation of all the venues, the artists, our team of committed volunteers and of course the authorities - including Hertford Town Council who back us every year with a grant," adds Co-Chairman Rob Guinn.
"Not forgetting our sponsors," continues Kev. "First and foremost of whom this year is Hertford Planning Service, who have once again stepped in as main sponsor - alongside Rivertown Brewery, Couvre Feu, Waterpoint, Steve Beeston Photography, and Brass Tacks Web Design."
"Hertford Planning Service have sponsored for four out of the last five years and without its support the Musical Mystery Tour simply wouldn't have been able to become what it is today," Kev explains. "And it's been a very symbiotic relationship in which both parties do their bit, albeit in very different ways, to make Hertford a more pleasant place to live in! We’re hugely grateful to the partners and the team for their continuing support."
About Hertford Planning Service
Hertford Planning Service is a multi-discipline practice providing specialist architectural/planning services throughout the construction industry, dealing with residential, commercial, industrial and leisure related projects. They provide guidance on all aspects of design, from obtaining planning, listed building and building control approvals to seeking competitive tenders and administrating the entire project life cycle from conception to completion.
This year’s main 'Support Sponsor' is the food delivery APP with a local focus, Go Getters.
About Go Getters
"Our mission is to deliver good food to your door, at the touch of a button, within the hour. We partner with the very best local restaurants and national chains, who have all achieved at least a 3* hygiene rating. Our drivers are all local, well trained and polite. We are a local service working with local food businesses offering our customers the best food, products and great service for you."
Download their App today and try it for yourself!
Last but by no means least of the new sponsors this year are Ware's HD Print (Hertfordshire Display Company), who are generously providing all the MMT's flyers and venue posters!
Find out more about HD Print at www.hdprint.co.uk
The Musical Mystery Tour and Mudlarks raised £1100 at our 2018 event.
"Shortly before last year’s Musical Mystery Tour, we announced that we'd chosen our mates Mudlarks as our charity partner," says Hertford Music Festival Co-Chairman Kev Saunders, "and now all the 'dust has settled' on the last Mystery Tour and we're well under way with preparations for 2019's event, we're all very pleased to be able to donate our modest surplus of £350 to the charity!"
Hertford Music Festival Co-Chairman Kev Saunders presents Mudlarks Founder and Managing Director with the cheque.
Hertford Music Festival is a not-for-profit limited company – so all the funds raised through sponsorship and council support are spent on the year-round work organising and promoting the event on behalf of all the venues and artists. Its role is as a facilitator – and in the same way HMF tries to facilitate the good works of other organisation in the process.
"Mudlarks is a case in point - and not just because they’re our friends," Kev explains. "There’s a natural symbiosis there because we need people to hand out programmes and act as 'wayfinders’'on Musical Mystery Tour day - and by providing the volunteers for those roles Mudlarks is able to collect money from the thousands who flock to the town for the event."
"We are so proud to be supported by the Hertford Musical Mystery Tour," says Mudlarks' Founder and Managing Director Vic Hobson. "The music festival is a highlight of the year for Hertford, with almost every building in the town hosting an array of talented musicians, and people coming from far and wide to enjoy the entertainment.
"We raised £750 in our buckets, so with your £350 have raised an amazing £1,100. Thank you!
"All of our funds support the work we do for people with learning disabilities in our community, at our allotments or in the cafe. Over 100 people with learning disabilities attend our projects every week, and your support changes people's lives."
The public face of Hertford Music Festival, Kev Saunders, yesterday gave a short talk to Hertford Civic Society about the development of the event and its role in the town.
Kev was one of four speakers looking back on how the town has evolved over the last fifty years, following the foundation of the Civic Society in 1969.
Kev touched on some of the challenges faced in mounting the festival and what inspired him to get involved.
"I wanted to put on something that brings people together and makes them happier", he told the audience.
Other speakers included local architect David Kirby, digital consultant Anna Schlenker and transport expert Reg Harman.