Pontin's Barton Ball, Torquay, British Keyboard Festivals started in 1980
British Home Electronic Organ Festivals, later to be known as Keyboard Music Festivals, started with a capacity crowd of 500 enthusiats at Pontin's Barton Hall, Torquay, in 1980. It was produced by Cled Griffin, a freelance radio producer for ILR.
This website looks back in time and how the events developed to cater for up to 2,000 keyboard music enthusiasts during the period when electronic organs were one of the most popular forms of home entertainment.
Other Pontin's Special Events (not included on this website) included: Old Tyme & Sequence Dancing, Brass Bands, Country & Western, Model Maker Showcases and Jazz Music Festivals. Most took place in non-seasonal periods when Pontin's had 26 holiday sites - to-day, in 2016, they have only 6 centres - all owned by the Britannia Holiday Group.
And a word from the Producer.........
I would like to thank all the players and all those behind the scenes who have helped to make Keyboard Music Festivals an enjoyable success.
it has been a team effort, which has allowed me to remain in the background as team captain. For me it has been a pleasure to create joy for others in a not for money making venture where I just covered by expenses - giving full benefit to the players, those up front.
I have to say that I was inspired by my son, Ian, and must thank him and my wife Sylvia for their support.
For me there has been some memorable and touching moments like the time when I introduced Peter Bartle, the biind organist from Cornwall, to Brian Sharp at one of the early events. They had both heard each other play on the BBC The Organist Entertains but they had never met in person. The Festivals provided the means for players to meet each other as well as the enthusiasts they had entertained on radio and at organ societies.
A special word of thanks goes to Alan Ashton who has produced the videos, under his Penalador banner, in the menu and for being anchor man at many events, the most memorable for me was the Prestatyn and the Spring in Spain Festivals.
I have also had pleasure in introducing many new faces to the organ and keyboard world - some have since produced their own festivals.
Finally a word of thanks to Andy Oakley who brought laughter to many enthusiasts and for working with me on the Keyboard Comedy weekends (not covered on this website) where he booked the comedy acts and I booked the keyboard players. These events proved that laughter is a tonic that makes all the difference.
.......... Cled Griffin
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Format and design are copyright and all rights are reserved - January 2016.