It won’t be long until Hereford city centre will be buzzing with local musical talent for a 9 day celebration set across several establishments. Over the course of nearly 2 weeks, from 25th July until 2nd August, the first ever ‘Sounds Of The Shire‘ is set to take place, complimenting the prestigious Three Choirs Festival, celebrating its own 300th anniversary this year.
By now we hope you are all familiar with the fantastic work of Herefordshire community group Hereford Live. A group of dedicated people joining forces and determined to put Hereford on the live music map. This local community group have been working incredibly hard to launch this new music festival on our doorstep, booking a series of 9 events to take place across a variety of venues with one aim- to showcase the best Herefordshire talent has to offer.
Hereford Live have been continuously going above and beyond for nearly 2 years, hosting several successful events since their launch night back in September 2013. Hereford Live are continuing to grow, as is their support. This time they’ve curated something very special and extremely valuable to the live scene.
Before the fun kicks off, we spent some time with Rich Lovell, chair of Hereford Live, to find out more about what the group have planned for the forthcoming 9 days, what each show will consist of and the hard work gone into planning such a momentous occasion for the city to enjoy. Friends, we urge you to save the dates for these forthcoming shows.
- Firstly thank you for spending time with Circuit Sweet. We are just weeks away from the first exciting Sounds of the shire festival in Hereford. It’s a new and very refreshing 9 day event for the city but first introduce yourself and your involvement within the Sounds of The Shire collective.
I am Rich Lovell, Chair of Hereford Live, the voluntary organisation our aim is to get live music back in Herefordshire
- Where did the idea for this festival come from and why was it important to run alongside the Three Choirs Festival
We were aware that the Three Choirs festival is celebrating 300 years and it is happening in Hereford, so we thought it would be great that as many people as possible could be involved in the celebration of music, not just those that are attracted by the Three Choirs. So we set about thinking how best to achieve this and the idea of a festival that includes all sorts of genre of music came about, involving a range of venues around the city so that. Whatever your taste in music, you have an opportunity to be a part of something special.
- Tell us a little more about what we can expect throughout the 9 day festival.
It all starts on Saturday 25th July at The Venue with one of our showcase events, which is a line-up of local acts that we think have a great deal to offer, including Linerunner, Bren Haze and Fault Line. Sunday evening brings us an acoustic session at the Shack Revolution with Natalie Holman and Claire Perkins amongst others . Monday night is Blues night at the Lichfield with the super talented Puma Creek. Tuesday is at the Beer In Hand for a folk filled evening, a perfect match for that venue. Wednesday is all about Metal and Punk, some fine bands bringing a heavier edge to it all including SkinHorse, Terminal Rage and Hindbrain. Friday night has a great line up at the Victory of younger bands, a bit of blues rock from Raptor, a bit of reggae from Nova, plus Niente, great college bands. We then have a big night at the Courtyard Theatre with HeyMoonShaker, well worth getting your ticket in advance for, and finally…..(draws breath)…a day of Skater Punk music at the Hereford Skate Park with the Delinquents, Gluefoot, Another Band and more!
- There’s an array of great local venues involved, some new venues, some much cherished to Hereford- what’s the reaction been by these places to host live nights under the festivals name?
Very enthusiastic. They have all immediately seen what we are trying to do and have bought in to it. It amazes me the enthusiasm and trust in Hereford Live they have shown, it really is great to see that they have the same sprt of desire as we have to get the whole city buzzing with music.
- Tell us a little more about the acts playing?
Where to start? We have the Linerunners, who (I think) are a bit Echo & the Bunnymen, a bit Joy Division, with a very charismatic lead singer. Raptor who released their debut EP earlier this year play a great brand of blues rock, very Led Zep in places. Puma Creek have been making a real name for themselves – hideously talented musicians that well deserve their reputation for playing stylish Blues. Skinhorse and Hindbrain play there own unique brands of metal, very heavy, but great grooves to their sound. For the traditional Punk Rock lovers there’s Terminal Rage (I admit I play in that band). Natalie Holman has a great voice and a cool guitar sound, and Claire Perkins is just brilliant – her very own tunes that you won’t forget. Headlining at the Courtyard are massive act HeyMoonShaker, a great duo playing Beatbox Blues, they are touring all over Europe, having returned from the States where I hear they went down a storm, no mean feat. We are lucky to have them and they will really add something special to the festival. I could go on….because each act is there on merit
- Is there a performance you are desperate to catch?
Well besides HeyMoonShaker, I am looking forward to seeing Nova at the Victory and the Hereford Noise night on Wednesday at The Venue – it’s my sort of music.
- Over the course of the 9 days you’re really offering such a variety of local talent to play and offering various genres of music for attendees to enjoy- why is this important.
Three Hundred years of the Three Choirs and it’s happening in our city, so why not show what music means to the city in as broad and inclusive a way as possible that way we all get a chance to celebrate.
- The festival has only recently been announced to run and the support you’ve received so far is incredible, how long was this in the making behind the scenes, prior to the announcement, and is there anything you’d like to say about the praise so far?
We have been working on this for the last 7 months or so. I have to praise all my colleagues in Hereford Live, we are giving our time for free, squeezing it in around our work, family and other responsibilities -late nights in abundance. It really has been some commitment, we all have different skills and experience to bring and we have to be brave, as not everything we do will work, music or at least bringing in audiences is risky and we feel that pressure. Hereford City Council have also been very helpful, assisting us to fund the marketing support, we are very grateful for that. The reaction surprised us, I have to say, but I hope it continues and the festival really adds to the Three Choirs celebrations.
- This is such a fantastic event on or doorstep that emphasizes all things local and gives local acts the chance to play in a space they may not have had the chance to previous, is this an important factor when booking the acts?
Yes it is. Herefordshire has produced some great artists over the years and when you see some of the acts playing now, they should be given the chance to shine. They just need an avenue to do that, so this along with events like Beer on the Wye, Down on the Farm fest and of course Nozstock allow them to grow. It is one of the primary aims of Hereford Live
- Where can we find more information about each event running?
- Do any of the events clash or are they all an event per day?
We are running one event per day so that they don’t clash with each other. We have a brochure which will be available around the town which shows each event and the acts that are playing, but all that info and more is available on the website & Facebook pages
- Do you need any volunteers or any more help over the course of the 9 days?
We just want people to support as many events as they can, and spread the word. Let’s show the world that Hereford rocks, haha!! The sort of help Circuit Sweet is giving us is just what we need, helping us spread the word……
- Are there plans in place for this momentous event to run again next year?
I think so, if we make it through this one I think we are all foolish enough to do it again
- Tell us what Sounds of The Shire Festival means to you
It is such a beast of an event to organise it will be one of the best things I have been involved in, it also frightens me a little bit!
- And Finally any last words?
A massive thanks to everyone involved: the venues, the acts, Element Audio for volunteering to help with the sound engineering, Hereford City Council and the near exhausted members of Hereford Live for their dedication to the cause.
Rich, a pleasure as usual. We wish all the team at HL the best success in this new and promising venture, no doubt each night will be incredible and the festival will return again next year. We also wish the best to the plethora of acts taking part in this event.
For full details of each event, visit soundsoftheshire.com. You can also follow the Festival on Facebook (facebook.com/soundsoftheshire) and on Twitter; search for the #SOTSHereford hashtag or follow @HerefordLive.
All Events can be found on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/soundsoftheshire/events
Make sure you tweet us your experience and pictures @circuitsweet at each event and we will share!