They Also Serve: Huw Lloyd-Jones, Summer’s End Festival
The Summer’s End Festival began in 2005, and owes much to the failure of another festival, as co-organiser and Also Eden vocalist Huw Lloyd-Jones explains. “When Also Eden first formed, we
went down to an event called Progfest in Chippenham. We left our demo with the promoter, who booked us six months later for the next Progfest – only for it to be cancelled.”
Undeterred, Lloyd-Jones felt that there was room for such an event in the South West of England, so decided to put one together himself.
“The first Summer’s End Festival happened at the Guild Hall in Gloucester. The line-up featured Also Eden, Galahad, Trinity, Pineapple Thief, with Magenta headlining. We only got 150 people in, and lost money on the event.”
However, Lloyd-Jones believed that the potential for something even bigger was definitely there.
“The next year the Guild Hall rejected the idea of holding the event again. And, as we were determined to expand this to a two-day event, it made it harder still to get a suitable venue – until the Robin 2 in Bilston came to our rescue. So we held Summer’s End there for two years, before moving it to its current home of Lydney Hall in Gloucestershire.”
The festival is now run by Lloyd-Jones with prog fan Stephen Lambe.
“Stephen is a book publisher by trade. He got involved after the first year, when BBC Bristol wanted someone to write about prog rock and I was away on holiday. They contacted him and he subsequently wrote a big article for them. He then got in touch with me, we became firm friends, and he’s very active in the event.”
Slowly things are starting to build for Summer’s End, with a break-even scenario last year, and a major coup for 2009.
“Last year, we got around 250 people along, which was a big improvement. We don‘t see this as a profit-making festival, but it is nice not to lose money. This year, we’re holding it over three days, October 9-11. Our great scoop is getting Steve Hackett to headline on the first night. We’re lucky that he’s a huge lover of music, and the prospect of playing in front of genuine fans appealed to him. But that’s attracted a lot of interest, as you can imagine. We’ve a capacity of 350 for that night, with a limit of 300 for the other two nights, headlined by Pallas and Pendragon, respectively.”
Lloyd-Jones has no plans to expand Summer’s End into a huge event; he’s happy with things as they are.
“What the festival does is celebrate the diversity of progressive music in a friendly atmosphere. We want everyone to leave having had a great time. That’s our priority.”
For further information, go to www.summersend.co.uk