Last week an old mate of mine described Watford as, and I quote, a bit of a cultural black hole.”

This, as I explained to him in the strongest possible terms, really couldn’t be further from the truth.

To prove my point, step forward impresario, musician, and thoroughly nice bloke Martin (Marv) Renshaw with an absolutely cracking idea: The Watford Live festival.

With some forty live music acts joining a plethora of comics, poets, actors, artists, DJs, film makers and dancers, said event – to be held between June 6 and 20 – could prove the most welcome addition to the town’s cultural identity for quite some time.

Organisers, Marv and the recently formed Watford Community Arts Network, say the event will a) showcase local talent to a far wider audience than ever before and b) provide acts with a wider and more diverse audience than they can currently dream of.

Notable venues already on board include the Colosseum, the Flag, the Horns, the Amber Rooms, the Pump House and Palace Theatre, with other acts drawn from as far away as Bolivia, South America.

Performances will also be held outside in St Mary’s Square, the High Street and even the dear old bandstand – presumably after a jolly good clean.

“It’s going to be a smaller version of the Edinburgh Festival,” explains Marv – the voice behind a band (Dizzie Cheroot, check out their Myspace immediately) I once describes as ‘pant wettingly good.’

“It’s going to be challenging in the first event but we want to create something which comes back year after year and really establishes itself in the town.”

Edinburgh? Year after year? Surely not? Such inevitable doubts I put to a man, who, quite understandably, looks a little stressed out.

“Why not?” he replies. “We’ve got the talent and the will in this town to make this work. We’ve got some amazing acts confirmed who all have something different to offer.

“We’ve got the backing of the council to have live music stages in the High Street and at the band stand; we’re going to workshops, spoken word performances and art galleries – everything, really.

“What we hope is that this will give a positive boost to the whole town. You only have to look around to see the boarded up shops and the sense of gloom that seems to be around at the moment.

“If we make a success of this it won’t just be good for us but good the town; it’ll bring in fresh visitors and boost the revenue for all the venues involved.

“Most importantly everything will be completely free. There’s a lot of goodwill toward this project so everyone is giving their time for nothing “We’ve had a lot of support from Watford Borough Council but the costs so far have been surprisingly low. Do date we’ve only spent around £7,000.”

So then, we’re all on notice not to go on holiday in mid June.

Further details and a full programme of events will, of course, be published in full in the WO in the run up to the festival.