Rotherham's BeanFest founder Simon Hartley visits Buckingham Palace

Rotherham's BeanFest founder Simon Hartley visits Buckingham Palace

By Admin | 31/05/2022

Rotherham's BeanFest founder Simon Hartley visits Buckingham Palace


IT may not have been the most rock ‘n’ roll occasion, but a visit to Buckingham Palace was a day out BeanFest founder Simon Hartley will never forget.

And with his nickname being “Soggy”, it was perhaps no surprise the palace garden party the music festival founder and his wife Bethan attended was something of a washout.

“Bethan enjoyed getting dressed up, but we spent all that time getting ready and then the rain came down straight away,” said Simon.

“The only time it stopped raining was when we were in King’s Cross station on the way back!”

The weather didn’t dampen the Rotherham couple’s spirits too much, though, especially as Simon admitted he had thought the day might never come.

“I was told about it back at the beginning of 2020 but Covid hit not long after so I didn’t really expect it was going to happen,” he said.

“But then a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, I got the invite and the date.”

Recalling the surreal but somehow familiar setting at the garden party, Simon added: “It was a bit like a kind of music festival.

“There were about four to five thousand people there and two big tents — one for the royals and one for us peasants!”

Simon even took a sneaky snap of Prince Charles as he was waiting for the heir to the throne to walk past.

He added: “Everybody got into a little corridor for the royals to come down — there was one for Charles and one for Camilla and Princess Anne.

“I took a picture when he was a short distance away and before I knew it, he was standing right in front of me.

“We also had a look round the grounds and had a peek into the Queen’s summer house — it was an interesting day out.”

Simon has staged BeanFest since 2010 in memory of his friend Rob ‘Bean’ Crook, raising £36,000 for good causes.

It has been based at Rawmarsh’s Roundwood Farm for most of that time but this year’s festival will be a smaller-scale event at the Cutlers’ Arms in Westgate on July 9.

Simon, who had previously said he was taking a break from staging the festival, said the new venue could accommodate 300 music lovers.

There will also be a Hallowbean Fest at Mexborough’s Imperial Brewery venue in the autumn

Proceeds from both events will go to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Hallam FM’s Cash for Kids charity.

The festival will run noon to 10pm on July 9, with tickets priced at £7 online or £10 on the door.

Simon said he was proud the event had raised such a tidy sum over the years and provided so much entertainment, adding: “It was all about putting on some good live music and doing something in Rob's memory.”