MUSICIANS and performers from West Somerset and North Devon will have the chance to showcase their talent in Minehead later this year.

Richard Neal, who runs Minehead Music, has been busy organising the First Minehead Musicians’ Festival.

Richard’s involvement with music began after his son formed a duo and toured the country.

He said: “I became a roadie and many of his gigs were here in Somerset. I developed a taste for organising when my local folk club was looking for a new venue and I got involved.

“I later started putting on shows in the Seven Stars in Foots Cray, showcasing local artists.

“While there, I put on a festival including a four-day one and a few garden festivals, too.”

Richard moved to Minehead at the beginning of June last year and already offers local musicians the change to showcase their talent regularly.

He added: “It was obvious there was a lot of music in the area but open opportunities for local musicians to play were limited.

“I spoke to some of my music friends back in Kent and arranged for four of them to come and stay.

“Rachel Stevens, who used to run the Quay Inn, in Minehead, was most supportive and allowed me to run an open session there using my friends as the backbone while inviting local musicians to come along and play as well. Minehead Music grew from there.”

As well as running his own sessions, Richard tries to get to as many music sessions in West Somerset and North Devon as he can.

This is what influenced him to set up the Musicians’ Festival.

He said: “From visiting these clubs, I’ve made lots of friends and heard lots of good music. “I knew I could repeat what I had done in Kent and give these people a chance to get together and showcase their music.

“Feedback has been tremendous so far and it’s very encouraging. I feared it could turn out to be me and two others and now it looks like a proper job.” 

They aren’t just looking for musicians, either – choirs, dancing troupes, street performers and novelty acts are wanted, too.

The festival is being held at the Beach Hotel so apprentices can get valuable experience at the event.

Dave Jackson, manager of the Beach Hotel said: "We are really excited to be hosting this event, showcasing both the talent the area has to offer musically and also such an iconic building in the town.

"This will be the start of great things to come."

Already, there has been lots of interest with acts including the West Somerset Morris Men having signed up to take part. 

The festival will be taking place on Saturday, September 20.

  • For more details or if you are interested in taking part, email