It is always risky to dedicate an outdoor event to the theme of Light and Solar Power – it is like a challenge to the weather to rain on your parade. But Darnhill Festival’s reputation as the Lucky Festival was upheld again in magnificent style and blazing sunshine.
The inspiration for this year’s procession was the UN International Year of Light and Solar Technology, and the work on show was truly dazzling. Children from Heap Bridge Primary School and Our Lady & St Paul’s RC Primary joined with service users from disability organisation Chrysalis in showing off the brilliant carnival costumes they had made.
Meanwhile Guides, Brownies and Rainbows from St Margarets and Woodland took inspiration from the day itself – US Independence Day with a fast moving display of American icons and popular culture. The procession was led by Handmade Samba but bringing up the rear were Kickarts Samba, made up of young people from the estate and formed in just four weeks. The two bands played together on arrival at the main stage in a joyful finale to the procession.
The Festival was declared open by Deputy Mayor Cllr Ray Dutton, who noted that he had been at the first festival and looked forward to returning next year as Mayor. The attractions on the main stage were programmed by Music Street, and included the Siddal Moor band R’ Kid, One Klick North, Lisa Jayne Dance and Fitness who drew a large crowd, the Bigsby Brothers and the Blah di Blahs.
Amongst the attractions this year were a series of activities provided by new partners Red Rose Forest (now City of Trees). The trees of Argyle Parade were soon covered in clay tree goblins made with Professor Jigget.
In front of the library was a photographer’s studio with a difference. Watch the Birdie took us back to the days of Victorian photography, with a large format camera and a dressing up box. The look on children’s faces as they received their photos was a picture in itself!
Elsewhere on the site Rochdale Youth Service ran a 5-a-side competition, Songsmith Solar showed off their music playing bike, Skylight Circus were keeping several balls in the air and the miniature railway maintained a steady timetable.
Once again a selection of pupils’ artwork and words, were published in a bright and snappy book designed by Cartwheel Arts and Bamford Print.