Monday after Al Festo is always a day for quiet. Partly because we’re all still in an exhausted daze and partly because its so good to hear people’s recollections of the festival. Having completed our fifth festival, and first proper two day version, this is a proper THANK YOU to those who make it happen.

This year we looked longer and further and increased our budget for the bands. Seven of the ten acts agreed to play with little idea of what Al Festo was in terms of size or reputation. From the west coast America came Massy Ferguson and The Crux. From Nashville Lilly Winwood. From Sheffield, Worcester and Manchester came Fargo Railroad Co, Stone Mountain Sinners and My Darling Clementine. From London blazed The Hallelujah Trails, Ady Johnson from Suffolk, Polly Haynes from Colchester. Brooke Telling already here. All journeys, all had faith in what was promised. Their superb performances and generous spirit will help Al Festo grow and attract more great musicians.

Their sound couldn’t have been heard without the expertise of Olly Bakeman of Synergy Audio. Not having the luxury of prolonged sound checks for each band, he balanced the different group sizes and instruments brilliantly. What’s more, hanging around till 8pm on Sunday while we could finish watching the cricket on the big screen be brought last minute.

Our loyal regulars James and Jim who are always ready to lend a hand. James introducing the bands and keeping order, Jim adding muscle to the numerous jobs the festival entails. Albert for getting the grounds ready and helping with Graham of Markham Marquees to put the tents up, bigger and better each time. To Matt from Hall Farm for the bales of straw; Emma at Dedham Cater Hire for the outside kitchen; Hannah at Fuff for creating such great artwork (some seriously last minute) for all our publicity; Polly at Polly Robinson Communications for getting word out into press and media; hire companies Mobile Thrones, 3 Dimond Fridge Hire and Pete Thompson  for his horsebox, all fitting into tight timings and car park; Brewers Adnams and Crouch Vale for the free use of the beer equipment; all the brewers whose beer flowed and was finished in full!

To our neighbours and rest of the village who support, provide parking and put up with the noise and extra footfall. Thank you.

To all of you who came, MASSIVE thank you. Without the sale of tickets, we’ve no idea how many may come. So it really means a lot that so many of you do. And now to hear Al Festo gets put in diaries a year ahead, WOW. It’s great to hear which bands you’ve enjoyed, beers you’ve tried, food you’ve devoured. We’re humbled by your generosity and love the vibe you create.

And it is so great you recognise the effort and skills put in by our team. We couldn’t do what we do without their willingness to work such long hard hours to make the festival fit without disrupting day to day pub life. Jack, Emma and Alice with their planning – so many details, so many constant tweaks and improvements made, so many adjustments to radom ideas! They all keep pushing, keep smiling, working together and making my life so much easier. They make it happen.

With all that goes into Al Festo, it would be crazy not to do it all again. See you in 2020!