Heptonstall Festival on Saturday turned out to be a runaway success, attracting several thousand people from 10.30 in the morning till gone 9pm in the evening.
Steve Grimley, organiser of festival fell races, said: “I’ve lost count of how many positive and supportive comments I have heard about the amazing festival organisers and the army of neighbours and friends that once again demonstrated that Heptonstall is such a strong and vibrant community full of creativity, energy, talent, enthusiasm, warmth, and generosity.”
Other comments the festival organisers have received include the following: Richard Purvis said “It was awesome!”; Sarah Manfedi said “brilliant day”; Kate Mulvaney added “it was brilliant”; Gail Mitchell said “Love you, Heptonstall - had a fab day”; and Lucy Hobbs commented on Facebook “my kids loved it - had great time - good to see the space been used in such a creative inclusive way.”
Festival chair, Sydney Roper, said: “The 2012 Festival was considered by many to be the best until then.
“But for me it lacked much community involvement and it seemed so important to closely involve the schools and their families and also older people who liked more sedate music.
“Also, while Weavers Square was a good venue, how much better it would be to utilise the church ruins and their grounds, which had not been used for community or cultural purposes since we put on an Handel opera in 1998.
“So the dream was two stages, making full use of the ruins and the square, building a staircase between them, two bars, many food, vintage and craft stalls and a wide range of top class entertainment in the morning, afternoon and evening.”
And it all worked so well - in spades. Steve Grimley commented: “I think they managed to create a totally inspirational day for the village - the team took some big risks and leaps of faith - and a massive investment of brain power, stress, responsibility, work, time and fund raising, over six months, on top of busy careers and family lives.”
Sydney says the whole committee was magnificent, including uber-efficient and tireless secretary and fundraiser, Judi Grimley and Jan Lymer, highly skilled and creative artistic/technical directors of the whole afternoon, Matt Gallop and Katie Chatburn, and inventive and resourceful organiser of the schools and community programme (which ran for two weeks before the festival and on the day itself), Mimi Faulks. Guy Lymer was a solid treasurer, Jo and Neal Wells, excellent organising stalls and MC, Jo Harris, costumes and bunting, and Sue Stirling, in charge of the “Green Room”.
The highspots of the morning and lunch programme were Ursula Holden Gill as the Red Queen and CBeebies’ Mr Bloom.
In the afternoon, there were rave comments about Nizlopi and the James Christie Band, Taylor Jackson and Red Hippo and local acts including Penny Stansfield and the Hill Millies.
The evening concert turned out to be a magical triumph, including local celebrities David Owen Lewis and Margaret Bruce, and the day ended with Opera North star Victoria Sharp and young piano virtuoso Iyad Sughayer.
One of the great successes of 2013 was the involvement of the village primary school and its community.
Headteacher David Perrin said: “What a wonderful climax to a brilliant week in school Saturday morning was. The whole week in school was really enjoyed by children and staff alike and the culmination of all the efforts was a joy to see.
“In my 27 years of teaching I have been involved in many school-community events but this was by far the best I have ever experienced.
“If it is able to take place at the same time again next year then please count us in!”