We’re off the see the wonderful Wizard of Oz...

editorial image

But Heptonstall Festival, which begins with the parade from Heptonstall School to the old church ruins at 11am on Saturday, September 20, is not just an afternoon of bands, magic and dancing.

It is a true community event for all ages. In the days before the festival, there will be work with children and families in both Heptonstall and Colden Schools around the theme of the Wizard of Oz.

Actresses Ursula Holden Gill and Sonya Moorhead will be delivering the story to children, teaching them parade moves and sound effects, walking the route and rallying enthusiasm for fancy dress competition and cake making. Jess Crook will be leading artwork with children and their families. This will include two pairs of ruby slippers: a huge pair to parade with and a pair to fit Jess’s feet when she appears as Dorothy in the ruins on Festival day.

On the day, children, families and the community will meet at 9.45am at Heptonstall School playground, met by the Mayor of Munchkin City (Sydney Roper). The children (and some adults) will be dressed as a favourite Wizard of Oz character: the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion, Dorothy, or a Munchkin

At 10.15, the parade begins, led by Ursula (Glinda) and Sonya and the Emerald City Band (Red Rose Brass Band) and ends in Emerald City (the old church ruins) met by magic from the Wizard (Alexander Wells). The parade was a tremendous spectacle last year and we hope that it will be this year too.

Everyone is very welcome to join in.


While the bands are playing on the two stages, this year there will be an afternoon of family activities at Heptonstall Sports and Bowling Club.

The centrepiece will be a Scrufts Fun Dog Show, with £1 registration at the Club starting at 1pm, open to all dogs (pedigrees and cross-breeds) in fifteen categories, including “toffs and mutts”, “prettiest bitch” and “waggiest tail”.

There will also be a photo exhibition, a bouncy castle and family-friendly refreshments.



In the evening, everything will come together for an evening light-classical concert in the ruins, which is programmed to run from 8pm till 9.10 pm.

The Three Valleys Gospel Choir will sing from 8 till 8.30 and Due Voci from 8.40 till 9.10.

There will improved disabled access and better exit lighting this year, adding to the enjoyment of everyone.


The Festival is most grateful for the support of Calderdale and Heptonstall Councils, Heptonstall and Colden Schools, the two village pubs and the village bowling club.