Rest in Peace Matthew Mansfield

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Rest in Peace Matthew Mansfield

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I am completely shocked by the news of the death of Matthew Mansfield (aka Matt Hernandez). My thoughts go out to his family: I cannot begin to imagine how devastated they are.

To put into some context for "Hot Music Live": while always moved by music, writing about it was never something I conceived of doing: for example, the Leamington music scene at the time before I started was both too stagnant & cliquey for this to work.

If I had to nominate a catalyst for all I now do, it would be Matt's championing of new (often very young) original talents: ones who would never have been given a chance in the venues of the day. Matt put on nights of original music at places like the Grand Union in Leamington, Cox's Yard in Stratford & the Wild Boar and Great Western in Warwick, which provided early live opportunities for more musicians whom we've featured than I can list: for example I saw the very first Folly Brothers gig (when they were a duo) at one of his shows. I also remember sharing a table with an unknown woman to hear an unknown 15 year old singer/guitarist: I turned to her to ask if she was enjoying it as much as I was: she was: it was her son Jakes Melles (now Jake Rizzo professionally) and again that was one of the very first of his live outings. Bit by bit, I grew as enthusiastic at what was emerging as Matt already was. His zest was infectious.

I could go on: but the main thing is that Matt picked up on artists before anyone else, gave them opportunities and provided caring & supportive environments when no-one else would. I don't think "Hot Music Live Presents" could ever have happened without him.

Starting a family changed things for him & the time to do all the above needed to be spent more at home, so his ventures came to an end. However I get frustrated still about the lack of live chances for original music & so back in February 2020, Matt & I were planning new HMLP/Night of the Musicians events at the Wild Boar when COVID19 struck. (He was wanting to get back into promotion but not to bear the burden alone).

I was planning to see him at the Warwick Beer & Music Festival next week (he organised the music for that) to see about picking that one up. Now it will never be.

Matt was such a key person in getting talent started but most people will probably remember him for the flamenco sets he modestly performed with great virtuosity: they should not be forgotten nor should the other thing that only a few moments in his company evidenced: what a thoroughly decent & lovely chap he was.

Rest in Peace.

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