town, represented by the Newent Orchestra, one of the longest
continuously-operating local orchestras, founded in 1940,
is planning a major celebration of their lives in May. There
are plans to play music by Rutland Boughton and a new animated
film of extracts from "The Immortal Hour", shown for the
first time at last year's Glastonbury Festival.
new piece written by the orchestra's leader, Bill Anderton,
in homage to Joe Meek will be premiered, with members of
the families of both musicians in attendance. Exhibitions
will be mounted in the local library and Newent's medieval
village hall with floral displays in the town.
Boughton founded a colony of artists and the first Glastonbury
Festival, an English "Bayreuth", just prior to the First
World War, supported by Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Granville
Bantock. Boughton, in his time, was as popular as his contemporary
Vaughan Williams, and holds the record for the longest continuously
running West End opera, "The Immortal Hour", an Arthurian
saga. However, his allegiance with the communist party,
which extended to him welcoming Paul Robeson to Newent,
a love-hate relationship with music critic, George Bernard
Shaw, and his reputedly wild lifestyle and abrasive manner
contributed to a complete fall from grace.
Meek, recent subject of a major biopic with Kevin Spacey,
Con O'Neill and Ralph Little, was a pioneer of modern pop
music and his protégés ranged from Chas of "Chas and Dave",
to Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Welsh
superstar, Tom Jones, to jazz innovator, Humphrey Littleton.
His Telstar-type production techniques were hugely innovative
but he descended into a morass of drug-fuelled madness and
ended up blasting his landlady with a shotgun then shooting
himself, not living to reap the benefits of his pioneering