Matlock Bath Music Festival: Bigger, better and more inclusive than ever

The Fishpond in Matlock Bath will be at the centre of the music festival with bands performing from noon until late on July 8.
The Fishpond in Matlock Bath will be at the centre of the music festival with bands performing from noon until late on July 8.
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The Matlock Bath Music Festival returns on Saturday, July 8, promising more than 85 acts in ten venues within a half-mile stretch of road.

It is the seventh time the village has hosted the free event, which is organised by brothers Mike and Andy Richardson and their friend Martin Bennett.

From left, Mike Richardson, Martin Bennett and Andy Richardson.

From left, Mike Richardson, Martin Bennett and Andy Richardson.

Mike, 36, said: “We’re really lucky that there is a very good base for it here. There are lots of musicians in and around Matlock Bath, and lots of people willing to listen.

“Derbyshire audiences are really friendly, and it makes for a good atmosphere when everyone’s on the same page.”

The festival brings together the best of the region’s gigging circuit, with some young upstarts and a few faces from further afield.

Mike said: “People get in touch with us now because they want to play. This year we’ve got a jazz choir coming up from Surrey, and comedy glam rock band Pocketful O’Nowt coming over from Barnsley.

“I like to get new, young bands on too though. We’ve always done stuff with 12 to 14-year-olds and this year we’ve got a natural music-making workshop for ages up to 11 from 11am to 3pm.”

Mike, who plays in his own band 3 Second Fuse, added: “I know how hard it can be to get in front of an audience who will listen in the early days.”

Other highlights include Liquid Brass, Kissing Kippers Fishin Club, and folk duo Wobble and Wheeze who are fresh from playing Glastonbury.

The festival was born out of a Halloween event organised by 3 Second Fuse, when they invited bands to play with them - and things have only grown more eclectic since.

Mike said: “We want a mixture more than anything else. We played in a rock band, and most people we play with and meet tend to be in rock bands - but that’s not going to work in every place, all day.

“Some venues lend towards more acoustic stuff. We try and put together the line-up to suit the audience and atmosphere at each place - but by 10pm everyone wants to dance to classic covers.”

The fun kicks off with a pre-show party at the Midland on Friday night. For full festival details, see www.fb.me/MatlockBathMusicFestival.
Festival draws on many talents

Returning festival venues for 2017 are Rose Cottage, the Fishpond, the Restoration Café, The Temple, Bank Note, Whistlestop Café and The Midland. They will be joined for the first time by the recently opened S’Coffee and the historic Grand Pavilion. The festival is also supported by Belper youth charity Fleet Arts.

Keeping the show on the road will be sound engineers Ted Edwards and Bob Newbold and an army of volunteers.

Mike said: “The logistics are the biggest challenge - what needs to be where and when.

“We’re always on the lookout for people who can help out on the day, even if it’s just carrying bits of cable to a venue when one of the musicians inevitably forgets theirs. We make sure all the volunteers get a t-shirt, and they’re fed and watered all day thanks to the generosity of Val and Barry Tucker, of Tucker’s Fish Shop.”

Anyone interested in helping out can contact the festival team via Facebook or send an email to MBMF@live.co.uk.