Forum founder faces the music as he’s honoured for services to town
6th March 2019
THE man who turned a public convenience on Tunbridge Wells Common into the internationally recognised music venue the Forum has received one of the town’s highest awards for services to the community.
Jason Dormon, who was accompanied by his wife Isobel and their children, was visibly moved when he became the 34th recipient of the Civic Medallion awarded by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. The scheme started in 1981.
As he was handed the award Mr Dormon admitted: “I do feel more comfortable singing on stage to be honest.
“But I want to thank you on behalf of all the brave and beautiful people at the Forum over the years.
“The young people coming through think I’m nuts and bonkers and you have probably just legitimised that, but I’m overwhelmed. Thank you.”
The 47-year-old was nominated for the Civic Medallion, which is normally only given out once a year to a person who has made an outstanding contribution and have been highly active in community life, by cabinet member responsible for tourism and leisure, Councillor Jane March.
She said: “I nominated Jason Dormon for the Tunbridge Wells Civic Medallion because he has worked tirelessly behind the scenes now for over 25 years at the Forum.
“He had a dream and brought it into fruition and I believe this is a truly well-deserved award.
“He has brought international music artists to Tunbridge Wells including Oasis, Adele and Ellie Goulding—all at the beginning of their careers.
“He has put Tunbridge Wells on the map.”
She added that Mr Dormon, who is also a trustee of Music Venue Trust, charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues—does a lot of charity work.
The award was welcomed by all members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on all sides of the chamber.
Labour’s council member for Southborough and High Brooms, Dianne Hill said: “I have known Jason for many years—he is a real inspiration to the young people of our town and we are very lucky to have Jason in our town.”
Friend to the stars…
Jason Dormon, the former schoolboy from Tunbridge Wells Boys' Grammar, helped establish the Forum in 1993 when he was in his early 20s.
From an unused public convenience on a grassy knoll on the edge of Tunbridge Wells Common, the 250-capacity venue has since become one of the UK’s best known independent live music venues—even named Britain's Best Small Music Venue by NME in 2012.
Over 26 years, more than 35,000 acts are estimated to have performed on the stage, which has also become a home for art, comedy and theatre.
Artists that have played at the Forum include Adele, Oasis, Muse, Coldplay, Biffy Clyro, Keane, Joeyfat, Slaves, Ellie Goulding, and the Vaccines, and the venue continues to promote and support both local artists and musicians from all over the world.