The Festival was named after the originator, Gerard Hoffnung, whose humorous cartoons of musicians in the act are somewhat better known in Britain than they are in the U.S. The Festival, which was an annual affair, assembled top-flight UK musicians and singers to perform specially prepared spoofs of the classical repertoire. These occurred in the 1950s. If you've never heard French horn virtuouso Dennis Brain play the garden hose, or a suite for tuned vaccum cleaners, not to mention the Horror-torio based on the doings in Dracula's castle, then you should seek out these recordings. Needless to say, Hoffnung Festivals inspired the creation of PDQ Bach.
From: "Lloyd Peterson" <Lloyd_Peterson@ccgate.sysdev.telerate.com>
I also noticed on your Web page a question mark after your mention of Hoffnung and thought you might want some information. Gerald Hoffnung (I think there are dots over the 'u' or something, but that's a fairly close spelling) was an artist in London who was particularly noted for his humorous cartoon drawings of musicians. Towards the end of his life, the late 1950's I think, he presented some concerts of classical music parodies commissioned from important British musicians of the day. Recently a reviewer in the American Record Guide said that the recordings of the Hoffnung Festival Concerts are better than the latest P.D.Q. Bach recording, but it was clear that a lot of the P.D.Q. Bach just went over his head.
From: Poul-Henning Kamp <email@example.com>
The definitive, at least so far, source on Gerald Hoffnung is the biography written by his wife Annetta Hoffnung (ISBN 0-86092-110-7). If you have never heard a recording of a Hoffnung festival, read the book to figure out what you have missed.
I know of at least two recordings, because I have them. There are rumours about at least one more ("the blue record") but I have never seen nor heard it.Annetta Hoffnung tours the world with a few equally guilty friends and stages Hoffnung concerts with various orchestras.