A NEW film examining the history of iconic music studio Rockfield will be launched at a major US festival this month.
Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm charts the story behind the legendary Monmouth venue, with the likes of Robert Plant, Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, Black Sabbath duo Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, and Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield all providing memories of recording there.
Osbourne recalls Sabbath’s first visit, saying: “Just to go from Birmingham to Monmouth was an adventure. You don’t understand, we’d never been in a studio, we’d never been on a farm!”
Liam adds: “You lived there and you didn’t leave the studio until you had your album finished. It’s like the Big Brother house, but with tunes.”
The farm, situated on the outskirts of the town in the Monnow Valley has become of the UK’s most famous recording studios since being launched by dairy farming brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward in the late 1960s.
Queen created Bohemian Rhapsody in the remote live-in location in 1975, while Oasis recorded their greatest album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? there and Coldplay crafted Yellow.
Sabbath, Rush, Judas Priest and Motorhead all made use of its facilities too, while the Stone Roses spent five years trying to follow up their debut album at Rockfield, while Robert Plant became part of the furniture there while living in nearby Penallt.
Coldplay, The Charlatans, Simple Minds, Motorhead and Hawkwind were other visitors in a who’s who of rock ’n’ roll greats.
Publicity for the film, directed by Hannah Berryman, reads: “This is the unlikely tale of how two Welsh farming brothers turned their dairy farm into one of the most successful recording studios of all time, producing four decades of legendary rock music.
“Fifty years ago, deep in the Welsh countryside, brothers Kingsley and Charles Ward were starting out in the family dairy farming business.
“But they yearned to do something different – they wanted to make music. So they built a studio in the attic of their farmhouse and started recording with their friends.
“Kingsley’s new wife, Ann, left her job in the local bank to do the books, and they continued farming all the while.
“Animals were kicked out of barns and musicians were moved into Nan’s spare bedroom. Inad- vertently, they had launched the world’s first independent residential recording studio: Rockfield.
“Rockfield’s reputation spread like wildfire, quickly garnering international acclaim as the place that bands wanted to record.
“From Black Sabbath, Hawkwind and Queen, to Simple Minds, Iggy Pop and Robert Plant, and later Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, Manic Street Preachers and Coldplay – an unbelievable roll call of artists have recorded there over the decades.
“‘Rockfield’ is an extraordinary story of rock and roll dreams intertwined with a family business’s struggle for survival in the face of an ever-changing music landscape.
“Amazingly Kingsley and his wife Ann, now in their 80s, are still at the helm today with daughter Lisa ‘front of house’.
The film will be premiered on March 16 at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.
See a trailer at rockfieldfilm.com