The Dart Music Festival Committee is delighted to report that the Gala Fundraising Evening at Little Dartmouth was an outstanding success. Our sincere thanks to Festival sponsors Sally and Edward Benthall who very kindly let us take over their wonderful barn last Saturday (April 6th) to host this fabulous event – so generous and very much appreciated.

Michael Bryan-Harris. Photo: Joe Murtagh

The evening kicked off with talented young musician Michael Bryan-Harris (DMF Foundation recipient) who played in the foyer to welcome our guests and get things off to a great musical start. Michael declared the setting ‘Brilliant!’ – and he didn’t lie!

The guests really entered into the spirit of the evening and arrived looking stunning in all their finery – they were greeted by Chairman Pam Braakenburg with a menu of the delights to come, a free raffle ticket,  and a delicious glass of chilled Kir Royale.

Pam says: “It was a wonderful event in a perfect setting. Everyone worked extremely hard but it is all made worthwhile by the fact that it helps to make all performances at the Dart Music Festival ‘Free to all’…”

The DMF catering corps, who are very grateful to local chef Serin Aubrey for his help and guidance, really pulled out all the stops and created an incredible – not to mention extremely edible – array of top quality hot and cold canapes, with a hot meat or vegetable tagine with flatbreads served later in the evening.

Guests enjoying the band. Photo: Joe Murtagh

We received many heart-warming comments throughout the evening – which reassured us that all the months of planning, organisation and hard work had indeed been worthwhile. They include:

“I loved everything about it… Wonderful setting; wonderful music; wonderful food; wonderful wine; wonderful atmosphere – just wonderful!”
“Great event and great venue with really friendly hosts – thank you!”
“What a fabulous evening! We brought four friends with us who were absolutely blown away by the event. They wanted to congratulate you all on staging such an exciting and polished event and made special mention of the food and of course the wonderful entertainment. They were particularly impressed with the surroundings – what a glorious venue. Everything was so perfect – couldn’t think of a thing you could have changed. Well done all!!”
“I’ve never seen such glamorous waitresses…”
“What a great evening!  It was a fabulous classy evening for everyone, one of the best fundraisers yet – both in entertainment and hopefully in money raised.”

Nuala Honan   Photo: Joe Murtagh
The entertainment was deemed second to none. As well as Michael’s welcome, we were also treated to songs from tuneful Nuala Honan (Medicine Creek), followed by our headline act – the exciting Electric Swing Circus – who got everyone either foot-tapping at their tables or up and dancing. If you saw them at last year’s Festival you’ll agree that it’s hard to keep still when this lively and popular band are playing, and I think it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all.

Electric Swing Circus Photo: Joe Murtagh

The superb selection of wines available from the bar was kindly donated by wine merchants Concha Y Toro, and the guests also enjoyed the prestigious DMF Auction with a quartet of very special lots. These were generously donated by Michael and Jane Madigan, Ray Barton, The Dart Marina Hotel, and Captain Jerry Kyd from the Britannia Royal Naval College, and local fish merchant Mark Lobb also kindly donated a side of smoked salmon for the free raffle.

The brilliant DMF Auction with Jake Moores.. Photo: Joe Murtagh

The DMF Team would like to thank all the people who were kind enough to make donations to this event, and also Chris and Andy on sound, official DMF photographer Joe Murtagh for his superb photographs, Jake Moores for his auctioneering skills, Janet Hall for being such a glamorous ‘hat-check girl’, Serin Aubrey for his foodie expertise and Phil Braakenburg for his magnificent kitchen skills, Sally and Edward’s family for helping us run up and downstairs with the coats – and in fact anyone who helped to make the evening such an amazing success, including of course all our wonderfully supportive guests. 

Thank you so much to all our supporters – we couldn’t have done it without you!
Dart Music Festival 10th, 11th & 12th May 2013
‘Free Music For All…’  

STOP PRESS: There will be more photos from this event in due course – watch this space…