Celebration Supports Historic Church
The 13th century denizens of Water Newton would likely be stunned to hear the funky strains of LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” blasting through the village. Modern inhabitants, though, know that a little funk, rock, folk and jazz can go a long way toward saving an institution they love.
The Friends of St. Remigius held their Water Newton Music Fest on 1st September to help restore and maintain Water Newton Church, which dates back to the 13th century. Tony Capon, a member of the St. Remigius charity, says the event “exceeded our targets, and as a consequence, we will now hold events annually. We hope to make The Water Newton Music Fest an important event in the local music festival calendar, and attract ever growing crowds.”
Water Newton, set on the south bank of the River Nene, is the site of ancient Roman settlement Durobrivae. In 1975 a plough uncovered what is known as the Water Newton Treasure. The collection of artifacts contained 27 items of fourth century Roman silver and one gold plaque. Inscriptions on some items suggest use in a church, making them the oldest silver pieces of Christian ceremonial use currently found from the Roman Empire.
Their six hour festival featured performances from four local bands and a hog roast. Capon says that rock band Grounded was a definite highlight of the event. The group plays rock covers of some of the most popular songs from the late 1950s through today. Having been around for over a decade, Grounded has amassed a significant following. They closed the night by playing a bit past the scheduled stop time in order to reward the enthusiastic crowd with an encore.
Other acts were Identity Crisis, a four piece band known for their energetic covers of rock, pop, funk, soul and disco classics; Ain’t Misbehavin’, a husband and wife duo that performs their own songs as well as jazz standards and Pennyless, a folk music outfit that jams on fiddle, flute and guitar.
Capon says they received support from local press in promoting the event, and also used Facebook to get the word out. However, he found word of mouth to be the most helpful method of publicity, as individual targets were set to sell tickets. As for advice to other festival planners, Capon says preparation and tenacity are key.
“Prepare well. Book bands well ahead of the date and make full use of all the local support and generosity of local businesses that you can,” he points out. “Use task sheets to keep on top of everything and chase up all the time. Almost make a nuisance if yourselves. Be prepared to delegate to your team and do not lose control!”