Concerts at Wilbarston Hall started when Mick MacLeod and Jed Stone and
their band Raw Deal played at Bill Tweedie’s wedding on 10th June 1989.
It was such a success that soon after on 2nd December 1989 the first
‘self-promoted’ gig took place when Mick and Jed booked a band and Loud
Promotions was born. The name “Loud” was invented as a broken old rubber
stamp was used to stamp the hand of ticket holders at the door. The name
Loud being what was left of the MacLeod stamp! We still use the Loud
stamp to this day.
Mick and Jed were helped by unpaid volunteers, who like them, loved
Blues-Rock music and wanted to bring it to our region. One such volunteer was
local villager, young James (Jim) Smith, who enthusiastically helped Mick run
the shows and gradually took over responsibility for running Loud Promotions
when Mick decided to stop due to family commitments. The shows are still run by
volunteers and are run for the music’s sake, and not to make any money.
Jim had some grand and adventurous ideas and decided to go for bigger named
bands. His first really big name was Jools Holland who played at Wilbarston.
Imagine Jools’ shock of playing in such a small hall, with his eleven-piece orchestra
on stage, and Jools banging his elbow on the audience while he play the piano. As
soon as he came off stage, he asked if he could come back as he had had
such a great time - and he did. More and more famous names began to appear with bands
and audiences coming from all over the world to the now famous Wilbarston
Hall concerts promoted by Loud Promotions.
On 10th May 1997, a Saturday afternoon before a concert, Jim tragically died
in a car accident. The show went on that night but under a terrible atmosphere.
The volunteers who help run the gigs organised a tribute show for Jim on later
that year and the famous Bernie Marsden (the original Whitesnake member) put
together an all-star band for the occasion. Such was the reputation and respect
for Jim Smith and Loud Promotions.
The end of Loud Promotions was imminent, but for Jim’s sister, Alison, who
decided to take over from her late brother and continue Loud Promotions, which
is where we are today. The shows are still run by volunteers, and you still get the
famous “Loud” stamp on the back of your hand when you present your ticket
at the door.
The unique friendliness and atmosphere of Wilbarston hall is the big attraction
for both bands and audiences. The intimate nature of the small venue gives the
audience the chance to see and hear their favourite Blues-Rock bands close at hand,
and often meet them face to face after the concert for a chat and to sign autographs.
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