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Astonbury is a village open-air music festival for the whole family. All of the performers and background team are from Aston Abbotts, or associated with either Aston Abbotts or the local area in some way It all started in 1999 as fulfilling a dream to do an open air concert. Initially we had some 110 people turn up on a damp wet night but since then the weather has been great with numbers now up to just under 500. Astonbury 2011 took place on July 16th 2011 on the recreation ground in Aston Abbotts, Bucks. Donations from the proceeds were made to charity, with the remainder being retained for village projects. Needless to say the event takes a great deal of organisation and time and we are grateful to the Astonbury team for all their hard work. Preparation starts around Christmas-time, as Neil Chesher the Creative Director starts planning the show. Weekly rehearsals start early in the spring, as Neil and some of his artists start trying out various songs and bits of music. Astonbury chairman Phil “The Scrounger” Corrigan is kept busy trying to fulfil the often bizarre requests from the team, whilst Financial Controller and Impresario John Whyte is hard pressed trying to stop the team spending money faster than he can sell the tickets. The stage is built mid-week before the big day. Dave Lewis takes up residence and starts installing bits of cabling which will be used later, assisted by Neil and one or two others who are able to take the time off work. None of this would be possible without the wonderful support of our sponsors: Martin Audio Ltd who have for the last five years supplied an incredible PA system, Shillingford Scaffolding who build us a huge stage, and in 2011 a team from Evolution who supplied and ran the lighting. However, all good things must come to an end. The incumbent team have organised ten Astonburys, which have grown in size, sophistication and complexity. Now they feel that it is time to step aside and let new - dare I say ‘younger’ - blood take up the baton. They have quite a bit to live up to, but they are promising bigger stage, bigger sound, bigger hair! Some videos of Astonbury 2011 can be found on our Video Gallery page.
Community - Astonbury
The Chunkees - chunkee by name, chunkee by nature - were originally known as Gerry and The ‘Atricks until one of their number retired to Portugal.
Astonbury logo
Astonbury, along with the village fete and summer ball, was for eleven years one of the premier social events in the Aston Abbotts calendar. Whole families would attend, along with their children. At its height over 500 people would come to the recreation ground, erect picnic tables and gazebos, and party away to a 3-hour musical show from local talent. One of the prime objectives set by musical director Neil Chesher was to provide an opportunity for anybody from the village, especially children, to perform on stage with lights and a PA system. Money raised from ticket sales was put towards village causes, including The Chronicle. After ten increasingly large and ambitious shows the original team decided they could take the event no further. A new much younger team staged a very professional eleventh event which was a big success, but its ambition outstripped ticket sales. They did not attempt another show. Since then nobody has taken up the baton, to the disappointment of the original team. Fancy getting involved? Get in contact via this website and we will put you in touch with people who can give you all the advice you will need.
The article below, written in early 2012 before the eleventh and final Astonbury, gives a historical perspective on how it all happened.