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The day that music died at The Druids

Pub given the elbow by festival boss

Druid’s Head landlady Karen Cox
Druid’s Head landlady Karen Cox

A landlady has been left furious after her pub was axed as a host venue for this year’s Herne Bay Rocks festival. Karen Cox said the Druid’s Head has supported the festival since it began in 2006, with budding bands playing at the High Street pub every summer in a bid to make the final of the competition. But she says she returned from her holiday this year to be told the Druid’s had not been included in publicity material, because of a “personal issue” with one of the organisers. She said:

“When I came back from holiday the banners and flyers had gone out. One of the organisers David Shepherd came to visit me and said there was a personal reason why we couldn’t host an event this year. I couldn’t believe it. It’s not acceptable that somebody has the authority to pull the plug on a pub in the Bay because of a personal issue in the past. I don’t get it. He could have come in and spoken to me, or called me, and we could have talked and sorted this out.”

Mr Shepherd, who is part of the organising group, says he has received threats and personal allegations against him since the decision was made. He said:

Organiser David Shepherd
Organiser David Shepherd

“It was a private issue but it has been made public. Karen was not aware of that issue but I have now spoken to her about it. My fiance is currently pregnant with complications, and this could have caused quite a bit of stress. I wanted to avoid any situations like that for me and my family. The pub has always been incredibly supportive, but the problem Is for the last few years they have stopped hosting live music events. When I first started the event, the idea was that some of these bands and groups could get future gigs at venues where they played their type of music. As a festival we want an ethos where venues book live acts week in week out. In the past other pubs have been dropped from the competition in favour of others.”

But Mrs Cox disputed Mr Shepherd’s belief. She said:

“We’ve had all sorts of bands on here in previous years. Solos and duets, and we’ve even had competition winners out of this pub. Some great talent comes out of it, which is why we back it.”

The festival runs from August 21 and for seven nights bands battle agint each other in heats at different venues to try to earn a place in the grand final at the Kings Hall on August 29.

• Visit www.hernebayfestival.co.uk or the Herne Bay Rocks Facebook page.

Herne Bay Gazette, July 3rd 2014

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