Melissa Cooke talks with Jeremy Bournon, Musician & Artist, former Head of Art at Repton School

Updated: May 28


Jeremy is the bass guitar player in Boss & Co, who played in 400 Hall foyer at last year's Festival


M: How was your experience of Repton Literary Festival?

J: Overall extremely positive it has demonstrated the huge potential of this event. The location centred this year on the 400 Hall was ideal, with fringe events in the foyer (the perfect performance space).


M: Why did you get involved?

J: Having attended the first RLF, I decided it was no good sitting on the sidelines, so I got thoroughly involved on the art and musical side, doing what I could to present some exciting events for the weekend.

This showed me the potential of this event for our local community and a wider audience. Obviously, to some extent, I was viewing RLF from the inside but I got a feeling as the weekend progressed, for all the weather and start-up shortcomings this really is a viable event of stature for the Midlands.

M: What do you like about reading/books/art/dialogue?

J: As a life long art educator, I am really excited by any opportunity to promote art dialogue. Curating two exhibitions in New Court Gallery, I was aware that given the excellent space and two really good shows, people do attend and enjoy talking and discussing art.

The school is full of exciting spaces and historic and architectural appeal. It is the perfect inspirational setting for such an event. The foyer performance area is an ideal place for dialogue on books and writing – for example, book clubs could meet around tables or authors could have informal surgeries here.

M: Who have been the greatest influencers on your literary/artistic taste?

J: The gallery of my imagination grows exponentially every time I open a book or visit a gallery, however, historically Robert Hughes, who wrote The Shock of the New in 1980 presenting a radical and modernist view of art of the 19th&20th century, revolutionized my thinking and my teaching. He was the single most influential writer on my artistic taste and thinking.


M: What would you like for this festival?

J: In future, I would like to see new writing and music pioneered. Derbyshire has one of the richest traditions of folk music and poetry with more musicians and writers per square mile than any other country. RLF could be a platform for new work, certainly on the fringe, if not in the main body of the festival.

Younger established musicians will need as many opportunities as possible to launch and invigorate their careers. The festival model is perfect for this.

M: What are your lasting impressions of RLF?

J: Our village future, given the changes we will face in our new world, is ripe for a cultural event of this nature. It could, with vision and ambition, put Repton on the national cultural map. Is this important? Not for its own sake but certainly to continue to improve the cultural health and well-being of the Midlands.

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