Secret VIP gig crowns Monteys’ birthday

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ONE of Harrogate’s longest-running music venues is marking its 15th birthday with a secret big name act at a VIP show this Sunday.

Owner Jason Smith is keeping tightlipped about who the mystery name are for the invitation-only event at the climax of a weekend of celebrations for Monteys Rock Cafe.

Since Smith opened Monteys in 1996, it has built a strong reputation for supporting music through its bar policy and choice of live acts.

The bar on The Ginnel off Parliament Street has given a platform for some of the area’s best rock bands.

The late Knievel led by vocalist Lee Webber for several years, as were Kasiuss, the young band who came close to making it big in recent years.

Monteys has hosted regular Sunday night series, from jam nights with Ade Payne and Nige Harrison to the metal night Redeemer.

Smith, who became a TV celebrity a few years back when he starred in the reality show Save Our Boozer with Alex Zane, has also taken a risk on more leftfield ‘indie’ bands over the years, including names written up in the national indie press such as The Grammatics, Napleon IIIrd and Tubelord.

As well as its music policy, its expertise in cocktails and the popularity of its bar staff has seen it won a slew of awards both locally and nationally.

In 2007 it was a winner in lads mag Loaded’s pub and bar awards while it has also triumphed in Plush magazine’s annual competiton.

Most recently, one of the longest-serving members of its team, Craig Drummond, won the Bar Person of the Year title in Harrogate’s annual Tourism and Hospitality Awards in the Royal Hall.

Looking ahead beyond the weekend’s events, Book of Job, the Harrogate teenage metal band who have just been signed to an Italian record label, will play their first live gig in Harrogate after a gap of five months with a show at Monteys on December 11.