Live Music at the Nutter’s Ball

Made In Plymouth contributor Paul Gibbins writes about the special evening of live music held in aid of The Chestnut Appeal.

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In April, an amazing line up of musicians played in support of charity The Chestnut Appeal. The idea came from a prostate cancer sufferer, Simon Honywill, who wanted to give something back and say ‘thank you’ for the support he has received.

“I wanted to find a way to say thank you to the people who provide the care in Chestnut Unit and the LIND research unit at Derriford Hospital. The Consultants and research staff are incredible, if anybody ever has a gripe with the NHS, take a look at these people, I am blown away by what they do.”

For Simon, this live music event came out of reconciling a highly successful 35-year career as a sound engineer and the onset of prostate cancer. Stealing an obvious idea from a friend, he decided to put on a concert. But the location was important; Simon has lived in the South West for 40 years, so was keen to find somewhere not often used in Plymouth. He approached the Royal Marines Stonehouse Barracks and asked to use the Officers’ Mess, a venue not often open to the public.

“We wanted somewhere in Plymouth, to do it in a place where people would go wow, this is fantastic!”

Marc Woodward and Robin Brown of Kirkwood Brown Trio

Mark Lavender of Kirkwood Brown Trio

Dating back to 1779, the Barracks is the longest-serving military accommodation barracks in Europe. Of course there is a trade off for using an amazing location and playing amplified music, it’s simply not designed for live concerts! But the organisers had some serious tech to overcome this hurdle. Martin Audio kindly supported the event by providing an exceptional loudspeaker system able to programme the sound where you want sound to be and where you don’t…! The players didn’t use stage monitors, relying on ear monitors, which helped to keep sound noise down.

Overall in excess of 33 musicians played: Jim Cozens, Wildwood Kin, Dan Steer, John Matthias, Marc Woodward and Kirkwood Brown Trio and The Band of Stars made up of local Plymouth musicians. Various engineers and students helped to support them, one was using the event for his final project for his sound degree.

Pyramid AV was the major sponsor for this hugely successful event. Well over 100 tickets were sold, raising more than £3000 on the night thanks to the addition of a silent auction and bar sales. Many people helped to make this happen: Nick Black at Pyramid AV, Deep Blue Sound, RG Jones Sound Engineering, Gareth Tutt and Royal Marines Stonehouse amongst others.

Simon hopes to do a similar event in 2017, “It was incredible to have such amazing musicians in an iconic building, a great way of saying thanks to medics at the Chestnut Unit here in Plymouth.”