I have heard the word Stanfest mentioned a number of times this year and I just thought I would take this opportunity to set the record straight from my perspective. As always, I welcome any comments.
Stanfest was originally an event which I planned with our old friend William ‘Stan’ Simpson in his final days in May, 2009. It was a very emotional day as we had planned this to be his last day out with his mates watching the bands he loved. It was held at The Mannville Arms, which although a place Stan did not frequent a huge number of times in his latter years (mainly due to ill health), was a piece of Bradford alternative history and had seen generations of his friends through its doors over the years. Sadly, Stan passed away on the very day of the event, which is what made it all the more poignant. The bands which played were chosen by him and some of them had actually reformed after years of not being together. The day was epic and we managed to raise a good amount of money for Manorlands, a hospice which Stan spent some time in in his final days and a place which was close to my heart because my grandfather passed away there in recent times. In short, this was not just another all-dayer.
Some months after the event, many people started talking about Stanfest II to take place one year on. I was, at first reluctant to put another one on as I did not want it to detract from the original day. I thought long and hard about it and eventually managed to come up with a second bill which I considered appropriate. Again bands who were friends of Stan and ones which he enjoyed watching. After some to-ing and fro-ing, this ended up taking place at The Mannville Arms again. It was a great day again, it still felt right albeit slightly diluted from the first one and I knew after that one that it would be almost impossible to repeat it again in the manner which was fitting.
Whilst it is important for us not to forget Stan – he was a very dear friend to me and a lot of people, I would not want to somehow cheapen his memory. I am not adverse to organising another Manorlands fundraising event, I think this is very important and I will be doing that at some point. It simply just doesn’t feel right to me. The Mannville is long gone too and for me that was also a big part of it. Stanfest I & II were both very personal journeys for me and ones which I will always hold dear to my heart.
I realise that everybody has a different viewpoint and whilst it does not feel right to me to do a Stanfest III, if anyone feels differently and wishes to host one themselves, then it would be unfair of me to be territorial about the memory of a man who was a much loved part of our community. All I will say is please do not use it as a vehicle for creating business. It was never about that.
William Stan Simpson 1935-2009
Rest in peace old friend.