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Middlewich 2011

Related threads:
Middlewich FAB Fest 15-17 June - tickets on sale. (7)
Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival (2011) (72)
MFAB 2010 [Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival] (37)
Middlewich 2009 (37)


Dave Roberts 25 May 11 - 06:34 AM
Mr Happy 10 Jun 11 - 11:57 AM
Dave Roberts 10 Jun 11 - 04:19 PM
Mr Happy 16 Jun 11 - 11:06 AM
davyr 17 Jun 11 - 09:49 AM
Dave Roberts 17 Jun 11 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Roger 19 Jun 11 - 02:53 PM
Bernard 19 Jun 11 - 05:19 PM
davyr 20 Jun 11 - 09:24 AM
Dave Roberts 20 Jun 11 - 02:37 PM
greg stephens 21 Jun 11 - 05:51 AM
Dave Roberts 21 Jun 11 - 09:29 AM
greg stephens 21 Jun 11 - 02:39 PM
Dave Roberts 21 Jun 11 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Ruston 22 Jun 11 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Chris 22 Jun 11 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,folkie friend 22 Jun 11 - 03:53 PM
Dave Roberts 22 Jun 11 - 05:25 PM
Dave Roberts 22 Jun 11 - 06:34 PM
Ian Hendrie 23 Jun 11 - 04:53 AM
SteveMansfield 23 Jun 11 - 05:23 AM
Dave Roberts 23 Jun 11 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Folkie Friend 23 Jun 11 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Baz Parkes 23 Jun 11 - 08:12 AM
Dave Roberts 23 Jun 11 - 02:14 PM
Ian Hendrie 23 Jun 11 - 07:00 PM
Bernard 23 Jun 11 - 07:55 PM
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Subject: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 25 May 11 - 06:34 AM

Major draw for the Middlewich Festival this year is Paul Young.
website


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Jun 11 - 11:57 AM

It's next weakend, Dave, you & I'll be there, anyone else?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 10 Jun 11 - 04:19 PM

I'll be there taking all in at various times, Mr H, but not in any official or performing capacity. My colleagues are otherwise engaged on the Saturday and we're all at the Hazel Pear in Acton Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
It's all being run by the Town Council now and most events are free. The festival fringe is, for the first time, a real fringe with entertainment being organised by the venues themselves.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Mr Happy
Date: 16 Jun 11 - 11:06 AM

We'll be setting up our tents around 4pmish on Friday, then straight into town for seshes galore - yeehah!!


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: davyr
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 09:49 AM

I see there's a Morris instructional session at 10:00 on the Sunday in the Civic Centre - any idea if it's free or if there's a charge?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 17 Jun 11 - 03:27 PM

It will be free. Everything's free except Paul Young and, I think, the Ceilidh.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,Roger
Date: 19 Jun 11 - 02:53 PM

I've just been for the first time and will make a few comments. I'd be interested in hearing what others, more knowledgeable than myself, made of it in comparison to previous years.

First of all my comments don't apply to sessions in any of the pubs as I didn't visit them. I imagine the musicians present (and there were plenty about) probably enjoyed them but I suspect they weren't too accessible to the general public. In one case it seemed impossible to actually get into the pub! I was rather disappointed in the number of boats and in the amount of folk entertainment 'on view' to the general public. The amount of blues music being performed seemed to overwhelm the folk. Nothing wrong with blues music but the Trade Descriptions Act comes to mind? Are we to see a re-naming of the Middlewich FOLK and BOAT Festival next year?

I saw Pilgrims' Way perform two excellent outdoor sets, though the first suffered from lack of amplification, which was necessary for the vocals. I also saw The Boat Band provide some excellent entertainment in the back garden of The Cheshire Cheese. These aside (and the sessions and the morris dance displays) it certainly seemed to have become much more of a local community festival (again, nothing wrong with that).

I know the Council took this over late in the day (too late to change the name) and seem to have made a good job of organising it and that it has funding for a couple of more years. But, if the folk part has diminished from what happened previously (which I suspect but don't know), should it be re-branded?

I did enjoy the experience but was a little disappointed. Was I expecting too much? Had it changed from previous years?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Jun 11 - 05:19 PM

Well, there were plenty of opportunities to see Morris around the town... something happening in the Bullring pretty much all day Saturday and all afternoon on Sunday, plus dancing at the Boar's Head, the Wharf and on the festival arena at various times.

All this was provided by the generosity of the dancers and musicians - we don't receive any remuneration, nor do we take any collections.

This year's Morris was organised by John and Chris Dover of the Earl of Stamford Morris, and the sound system on the Bullring was provided (again, free of charge) by me - Earls' Chief Musician.

I do take the point about blues, etc., but that has always been a feature of the festival - demon harmnica player Craig Moores is guaranteed to be seen around the place most of the time.

I suppose it all comes down to the old chestnut 'what is folk?'!!

The main difference compared with previous years, I think, is the removal of the marquee and with it the folk concerts... the outside stage seemed a rather odd way of doing things to me - not really conducive to listening to a folk concert - especially if it's tipping down with rain!

Still we should be thankful the festival is still around in some form or other... what's in a name?!


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: davyr
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 09:24 AM

Had a great afternoon watching the dancing in the Bullring on Sunday - and the rain held off!

Hugely disappointed, however, to find that all the real ale had been sold on Saturday and only lager, keg bitter and fizzy cider was available in the beer tent...


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 02:37 PM

I didn't manage to make it to the festival, except for a fleeting visit on Sunday afternoon. There were so many people around that we couldn't find anywhere to park so had to come away as we were due elsewhere.
I have, though, had a lot of feedback from people who did attend (I was once on the organising committee of the original festival, and old habits die hard with people).The general consensus seems to be that the weekend was, in effect, a festival fringe without a festival. One performer complained that she thought she had been booked for a folk festival 'not a local carnival' and wouldn't be doing it again. Some of the stallholders, too, complained that they had been mislead into thinking there would be a lot of 'folkies' around for them to sell to, and that the (mainly local) general public weren't interested.
So, yes, I'd say the main priority for the future is to change the name to more accurately reflect the new nature of the festival. It would be unfortunate indeed if folk music fans who visited the old Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival in its heyday were to return and find it transmogrified into a community festival catering mostly to the local population and featuring music designed to appeal to that same broader audience.
'Middlewich Community Festival' would be an ideal name.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 05:51 AM

Total mix of Middlewichians, boaties and folkies at the Cheshire Cheese Boat Band gig on Sunday afternoon.Landlord well happy with the crowd. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, but I didn't have time to wander around and see what was going on elsewhere.
Last minute organisers did pretty well conjuring a festival out of no money, I thought. Rather reminiscent of 2001, when the festival was cancelled but it happened spontaneously anyway.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 09:29 AM

Yes, as I said, the festival fringe was buzzing and we couldn't get near on Sunday afternoon. I always said that the Middlewich fringe should be run as a 'proper' fringe - i.e. run by the pubs and clubs themselves rather than the festival and they rose to the occasion magnificently by all accounts.
But I don't think the festival was run 'out of no money'. The new banners with the Town Council's logo on must have cost about three times more than the Town Council's grant to the old festival.
I think there was money to spend and the council elected to spend most of it on the 'community based' side of the festival - understandable and right and proper. He who pays the piper calls the tune, after all. But if the festival wants to cater for the type of folkies who use to come here - those who do 'the summer festival circuit' and like to attend concerts - then, obviously, more money needs to be spent on that side of things. Perhaps more sponsorship deals are the answer?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 02:39 PM

Well I am very grateful to the pubs. They put the bands on and made it happen, presumably with a fair biot of chivvying from Dave Thompson etc.
Here is a bit of the music at the Cheshire Cheese


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 05:35 PM

Great stuff, Greg. I always think that the set up at the Cheshire Cheese is particularly suited for folk music. They've basically turned what was a redundant car park (which nobody used) into a superb all-weather performance area. The atmosphere there is always wonderful. It's a far cry from the Cheshire Cheese of the early years of the festival which memorably declared itself a 'festival free zone'- a nonsense very soon brought to nothing when a gang of folkies, complete with a very jovial but determined morris dancing side, descended on the place and forced a very rapid 'change of policy'. The place has never looked back. If I'd had a little more time on Sunday, that's where I would have headed for.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,Ruston
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 02:46 PM

Was there on Saturday unaware of the huge changes that had taken place behind the scenes. The arena that has replaced the marquee was hosting Rose Queens and a childrens disco dance event and in all fairness it felt like a Town Gala. The morris seemed low profile - nobody was MC'ing at the Bull Ring when we watched, the teams were going on unannounced, nobody in them rose to the occasion. A shame, as the audience generally hadn't a clue who or what they were watching. The pub over the road's amplified singer once again intruded on the proceedings. I was very disappointed at the time, but now know that a lot had been done in a short time to allow it to go ahead at all. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2012 in light of lessons learned and better preparation times etc. I wish it well as I have always enjoyed it as an event.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 03:34 PM

My forth visit to the festival but this year was more centered round the pubs. The showground was always the centre of attention in previous years and the show site buzzing with people but not this year. The festival seemed fragmented. I was looking forward to attending this year but was disappointed, mainly by the lack of atmosphere I'd witnessed in the previous years and less folk music. It will be interesting to see what happens next year when the local authority has reviewed this years festival and had longer to prepare.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,folkie friend
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 03:53 PM

A few corrections - the festival had many thousands of pounds of sponsorship this year from large local businesses. Open your eyes and see what it was spent on. Far more than the previous festival ever had.

Pubs who booked their own bands rather than have a few local bands offered by the festival were well subscribed and very busy over the weekend.

There were a handful of boats compared to hundreds in previous years.

The camp site had maybe a dozen tents... maybe a few campers on the school field.

Stallholders didn't get the footfall they'd been promised.

The festival name seems misleading now.

It had a fine carnival atmosphere nothing wrong with that.

Why don't they split that and have the new town council run Summer festival and have a 'Folk Festival' run as a 'Folk Festival' by whoever can do that. It would bring plenty of visitors back to the town.

Needs some thought - seemed disjointed. Wonder what will be next year?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 05:25 PM

'Folkie Friend's' suggestion is a good one.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 22 Jun 11 - 06:34 PM

Incidentally,the announcement that the Town Council had 'saved' the festival was made in February.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 04:53 AM

This might be an opportune moment to plug a nearby alternative folk/boat event in 2012.

The 1st High Lane Gathering at High Lane (where else) near Stockport (on the Macclesfield Canal) is in the planning stages.

Keep up-to-date with progress on http://www.highlanegathering.co.uk/.

The web-site will be updated as soon as details are firmed up.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 05:23 AM

The 1st High Lane Gathering at High Lane (where else) near Stockport (on the Macclesfield Canal) is in the planning stages.

Keep up-to-date with progress on
http://www.highlanegathering.co.uk/

Cheers Ian, I'll certainly be keeping an interested eye on that one :)


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 06:29 AM

So will I. Coincidentally LOST IN THE MIST will be playing at Stockport Farmer's Market soon.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,Folkie Friend
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 07:13 AM

That's correct Dave - the Festival needed to be rescued never mind saving! But the council needs to recognise how it should move on - or let it go in name at least.....the main thing really is that there are two sides to organising a major festival in a town whether it be folk based or otherwise, you do it to raise an income for the town and be a major tourist attraction for the town (which in previous years the MFAB did achieve and won awards for) and secondly to 'entertain' and enhance the pleasure derived from living in a small market and canal town and the experience of living in a local community like this one and there is absolutely no reason why a management team can't do both. If they don't have the capacity within their own resources - then outsource it!

For some reason - the festival has never been allowed to be treated as a business or be recognised as the valuable asset to this town that it could be and should be and without a doubt has been and anyone seen to be attempting to raise the financial profile of the festival albeit to the benefit of the town and it's businesses will be challenged. Rightly so! However these challenges have overruled common business sense...The Council needs to see sense and ignore those who block it - that is detrimental to it's success and a serious oversight and must be worrying to local businesses in what has to be an opportunity to achieve their best business weekend of the year!

I doubt if this year was a success for all financially, what a waste!


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: GUEST,Baz Parkes
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 08:12 AM

I don't know which Bull ring spot guest Ruston was at, but I spent 4 hours there on both Saturday and Sunday announcing the Morris teams. Having been involved with morris for some 30 years, I made a point of introducing each team, saying where they came from and a little about the tradition they dance....didn't see the rock and rollers this year tho...


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 02:14 PM

The Middlewich Rock & Roll Dancers are wonderful. They're all even older than I am, but dance brilliantly and look fabulous.


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 07:00 PM

Did I not see the Rock & Roll Dancers in the British Legion car park?


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Subject: RE: Middlewich 2011
From: Bernard
Date: 23 Jun 11 - 07:55 PM

Probably the tail end of Saturday, Baz - Mind the Step were still dancing when we returned to pack the PA and gazebo away...

The on-going problem with noise from the Vaults is easily surmountable... next year I'll bring some 42" horns with 30w pressure drivers, and point them straight at the pub!! Hee hee!

(The very same ones that used to line the main runway at Woodford Air Show)


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