Five rock ’n’ roll facts about Monmouthshire

News last week that Caldicot band Rusty Shackle have been storming the iTunes chart with their latest single got me thinking: Monmouthshire is pretty rock & roll y’know.

We think it’s good to show pride in our county so here are five reasons Monmouthshire is not just about great food, scenery and quality of life – we are a county of musical brilliance too!

1. Rockfield studios

Possibly the best rock single ever, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded here in Monmouthshire. Rockfield studios , world famous recording studios in Monmouth, have been a temporary home to Oasis, Manic Street Preachers and Spiritualized.

And if that sounds pretty cool to you, wait until you see this video – an interview about the studios with Shakin’ Stevens!

2. Musical residents

Something about Monmouthshire attracts musical people to live here. The manager of Coldplay has settled here with her family, Sporty Spice lived in Catbrook and backed our recycling campaign,and  Robert Plant has been spotted out in the county and occasionally very lucky locals get to see him do a little gig.

3. Festivals. Lots of amazing festivals

We have amazing people in the community putting on world-class music events.

Croissant Neuf Summer Party mixes up folk, roots, ska, jazz and world music to its solar-powered stages. Over the years they’ve had artists such as Ed Sheeran, The Magic Numbers and Seth Lakeman take to the stage.

Monmouth Festival is a nine-day free music event and one of the biggest and best in Europe – a celebration of the town and its community, and a chance to see the best of local and national musicians from rock, classical, pop, folk, jazz, ska, punk, world music and beyond.

Llantilio Crossenny Festival of music and dance – the event is now 50 years old and brings classical music to a beautiful, classical setting of St Teilo’s, the village church.

See also:

Raglan Festival, Devauden Music Festival, Black Mountain Jazz festival, Salmonsfest, Folk on the Lawn, Castell Roc, Shirefest, Two Rivers Folk Festival.

UPDATE: One of our lovely followers on Twitter has pointed out that there is some great jazz music to be caught at the world famous Abergavenny Food Festival. So you can get awesome food and a drink while you enjoy the music!

4. Marina and the Diamonds

A brilliant artist from Abergavenny – I first came across Marina when I heard ‘I Am Not a Robot’ which is a great pop tune. As someone who tweets for Monmouthshire council, I often see ‘i ♥ you!’ type tweets aimed at Marina from our followers.  She inspires a lot of love here in Monmouthshire and worldwide.

Marina and the Diamonds
Photo from Wikipedia

5. Local radio

Our local radio stations keep up our spirits as we go about our business in our cars and workplaces. Sunshine Radio has all the hits and a great news agenda and their mix of pop classics and rock brings sunshine into the day for many for us.

Chepstow Radio is a great community-run station, established in the spring of 2012, when locals Alison Beasley and Alex Stanley began to work together on the foundations of the radio station. Chepstow Radio started broadcasting later that year and is going from strength to strength with amazing shows often showcasing local bands.

What have I missed?  Do you know about more rock’n’roll talent or do you have a musical tale to share about Monmouthshire?  We’d love to hear from you.

Posted by Hel



  1. Suggestions for additional local rock’n’roll facts have come in on Twitter from Geoffrey Downes, @asiageoff, who is a local musical legend himself with an impressive history with Buggles, Asia and Yes!

    Here are his suggestions:

    “Caractacus and Boudicca Downes (no relation!), son & daughter of Sir Edward Downes conductor, live Monmouth!”

    “and of course Verden Allen (Mott The Hoople) Usk”

    “Not to mention the 3 Martinez Bros from Monmouth who were in Plant’s band & Showaddywaddy!”

    “Dave Edmunds, Hugh McDowell (ELO), Green (Scritti Politi), All Monmouthshire boys”

    Seems we breed loads of musical talent here in Monmouthshire – thanks for sharing Geoff – we’re delighted to be read by rock royalty! ^H

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