SMS was sad to hear the news that our dear friend Keith Dudley, guitarist and one of the founder directors of Blackstar amps passed away this week, after a long battle with illness. Keith was a trustee of the National Rock and Pop Festival, and a lifelong friend and supporter of all our Rock and Pop events. Keith became involved with SMS and the Rock and Pop festival in the early 2000’s, whilst working for Marshall amps. He understood what we were trying to do by encouraging young musical talent to take up an instrument and to inspire them with their music making by giving them lifelong experiences performing.
He became a sponsor of the event, by providing amps and artists to perform at the workshops. Even when he left Marshall and became a founder director of Blackstar amps, and the festival moved from the NEC, to the NIA, Birmingham Town Hall and then the 02 Academy Keith was always there, even through his ongoing illness, to support and help…..and get the round in!
His passion for music and everything we did at SMS, became more than the Festival. He started to come and support us at the Saturday Music Centre (SMC), providing amps, encouraging pupils who had just started on their musical journey. SMC would not be as a successful as it is today if it was not for Keith’s involvement. He came and supported numerous rock and pop nights both at the Solihull Arts Complex and Solihull Moors FC, he was as proud as we were when pupils of all ages and ability got up to perform and he was always on hand to offer advice about the industry or mention which famous artist he had been with the night before and how he was going to get them involved in the festival!
His contribution and support was far more than these few words….he did so much more.
Then one of my proudest moments…… May 5th 2013….. SMS performed at….Wembley stadium…..he was part of the crew, and as I found out later it was one of his dreams to walk out on to the Wembley pitch. I am so glad we made it happen.
Keith….thank you for everything you have done for the pupils of Solihull and for making the National Rock and Pop Festival and Saturday Music Centre into something special. We will miss you, but we will never forget. You have been part of creating a legacy of which you should be proud. Rest in peace.