Mervyn Conn

I have the utmost of respect for promoter Mervyn Conn – an entrepreneur who capitalised on a gap in the market. With an ever-growing British country music fan base, Mr Conn was responsible for staging the first professional country music package show in 1968, when he was instrumental in bringing the legendary Johnny Cash to these shores for a string of dates at major venues. Accompanied by his wife June Carter, The Tennessee Three and The Statler Brothers – the tour proved to be a massive success and, just the start of things to come. The following year, Mervyn Conn defied all his critics by staging the greatest event Britain had ever seen in the realms of country music – the ‘International Festival of Country Music’ otherwise known affectionately as the ‘Wembley Festival’. This was the first country music event of any great magnitude to be held in Britain. Mr Conn brought a plethora of overseas stars to these shores, but he also encouraged home-grown talent too, and a select few even got the chance to grace the same stage as the American stars. The 'Wembley Country Music Festival' was, for many years, the one event in the country music diary that everybody looked forward to. Sadly, in 1991, they came to an end after 23 consecutive years (1969-1991) - however, in 2012 Mervyn Conn staged a similar, scaled down, one-off event, as a grand finale. 


Mark Derek


Jon Derek would often compere the British Country Music Talent Competition

JON DEREK was one of the most featured British artists at Mervyn Conn's renowned 'International Festivals of Country Music' staged annually at Wembley Arena. Jon was billed to appear on the main stage seven times either in his own right or together with his band COUNTRY FEVER.


1970 - Country Fever

1972 - Country Fever

1973 - Country Fever

1975 - Jon Derek & Country Fever

1976 - Jon Derek

1977 - Jon Derek

1991 - Jon Derek & Country Fever


Jon Derek was also present at the majority of the festivals throughout the 1970's and early 1980's either, working with other artists or, compering the 'British Country Music Talent Competition' which took place next door at the 'Wembley Conference Centre'.


Marvin Rainwater - International Festival of Country Music 1981
Jon Derek and Marvin Rainwater - Wembley 1981

Jon Derek and band backed Marvin Rainwater at the 1975 and 1981 International Festivals of Country Music. Other known artists Jon backed on the main stage at the Wembley Country Music Festivals included; Don Gibson, Charlie Walker, Del Reeves, George Hamilton IV, Skeeter Davis, Wanda Jackson, Vernon Oxford and Jeanne Pruett.