After a seven-year break, Malvern’s three-day contemporary music festival is to be held over the weekend of 28 – 30 July 2023. Expect a diverse and eclectic line up of musical styles and performers with everything from punk to funk, folk to country, acoustic to jazz and all in between.
The first Malvern Rocks was held in 2012 when around ninety performances were hosted in sixteen venues around the town. The venues included pubs, clubs, cafes and hotels as well as several ‘pop-up’ venues on street corners, in parks and outside spaces. In four highly successful years, the festival grew to cater for 120 bands and performers in twenty venues. The acts ranged from solo acoustic musicians to seven-piece funk bands and included Tom Hingley from Inspiral Carpets, Dodgy’s Nigel Clark, Loyd Grosman’s The New Forbidden and countless bands and performers from both the local scene and from further afield. Between 2012 and 2015 there were more than 400 Malvern Rocks gigs. From Malvern Link to Upper Colwall and Guarlford to Stifford’s Bridge. With town centre venues full to capacity some ran out of beer and said that they had never been busier!
In 2016, the festival organisers decided to take a break that unexpectedly stretched through the Brexit wranglings and then the Covid pandemic and lockdown. It was not until late last year that the decision was made to hold a festival in 2023. Now the organisers have opened the application process for bands and performers who would like to play at the festival. And this year, they are trying something different. In previous years, musicians were asked to play for free, with money raised during the weekend going to charity. This year, the organisers want to pay the performers with money raised from virtual admission fees, donations, sponsorship, merchandise sales and patronage.
Festival Director, Ralph Tittley said ‘It’s a bit of a departure for us, attempting to run the festival on a commercial basis. And for that we are going to need the support of every one of our audience members. We don’t charge entry to Malvern Rocks gigs so, instead, we are looking at ways for people to support the festival through virtual admission fees on their smartphones. We are also talking to local businesses about sponsorship deals’.
The organisers have ambitious plans for the festival: ‘Our aim has always been to promote live music, to nurture new talent and to capitalise on our vibrant music scene.’ said Mr Tittley, ‘We want to make Malvern a destination for music in the way that Hay – on – Wye is for literature, Wenlock is for poetry or Upton is for blues.’
Performers wanting to play at this year’s festival can apply on the website:
Image: Vault of Eagles at Malvern Rocks.