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Vernfest is still going strong in Bishop's Stortford with something for everyone’s ears




Eighteen bands and artists will entertain at the Rose and Crown this bank holiday weekend as the ever-popular Vernfest returns.

The Muffin Heads on the Vernfest stage last year. Picture by Vikki Lince.
The Muffin Heads on the Vernfest stage last year. Picture by Vikki Lince.

The music festival, which the Station Road pub has hosted each year since 2011, was established in memory of Gary Wyatt – known to friends as Vern – who worked at the Rose and Crown for 20 years.

After he died at the age of 38, his good friends Darren Bardoe and Julian Morphew, landlord at the Rose and Crown, decided it would be a fitting tribute to stage a festival in his honour, so Vernfest was born.

Julian said: “Everyone knew him and he loved his music, so we’ve been running this tribute event for eight years now.”

Five years ago, the Vernfest team decided to move the indoor event outside to the pub car park. “It turned out to be a very wet day, but that didn’t put people off coming along and enjoying the day,” said Julian.

“Three years ago we extended the festival to two days, with so many saying they wanted it again this year, so we're giving the locals of Stortford what they've asked for.”

Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877568)
Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877568)

On Saturday and Sunday (May 25 and 26), the music will begin at 1pm both days.

Local female-fronted classic rock covers band Bombshell will be closing Vernfest on Saturday night while soul and ska troupe The MBs will headline on Sunday.

These headliners complete an eclectic line-up of originals groups, covers bands and acoustic acts.

Bishop’s Stortford indie bands Gold Tooth Reptiles and Transparent Human Creatures will take to the stage, along with Tom Dulieu and The Revenant, Among The Citizens, A Murder of Crows, Fallen From, The Luminectric, Sorry Not Sorry, Howlin Mojo Bones, Rob Aitken and Kris Ambrose, to name but a few.

Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877559)
Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877559)

From acoustic acts to heavy metal covers, catchy pop tunes to soulful blues ballads, there will be something to suit everyone’s music tastes.

Collection buckets will be dotted around the venue. All donations will be given to Saffron Walden-based The Laughter Specialists, a group of entertainers who visit sick and vulnerable children in hospitals, hospices, care homes and special needs centres across East Anglia. They fill the children’s days with fun, laughter and song.

Over the years, Vernfest has raised more than £7,500 for various causes such as Grove Cottage and St Elizabeth’s Centre.

James Felton, from The Luminectric, said: “We want to raise as much money as we can. It’s worth making the trip to Bishop’s Stortford. Bring the family or get the babysitter in so you don’t miss it. You’ll be singing along with songs you didn’t realise you knew.”

Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877537)
Rose and Crown, Bishops Stortford. Vernfest 2018. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (10877537)

As well as the music, festivalgoers can treat themselves to sustenance from a barbecue and there will be plenty of real ales and ciders to sample.

Tickets are on sale now. Entry is £10 for a weekend ticket, £7 for a day ticket and children under 14 get in free.

Volunteers and helpers are always needed, so anyone who spares an hour of their time will be given a free weekend pass, along with a pint of cider.

To book tickets or to volunteer, call 01279 652515, email theroseandcrown@ymail.com or visit the Facebook page.



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