A revival of a music festival in Stocksbridge and district was such a success on Saturday March 24th that organisers are already planning for next year’s event.
Photograph: Tom Harrison
Four hundred local musicians took part in the all-day Valley Festival co-presented by Inyerface Arts and Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir. Support for the event exceeded all expectations with more than 600 people attending.
There were free performances throughout the day at the Venue and the Fox Valley bandstand and an evening concert at the Venue, hosted by the BBC’s Trisha Cooper, was packed.
The 200 Saturday Night Live performers received a five-minute ovation after the massed choirs ended the biggest musical event in the district for 80 years with the Rita MacNeil classic Working Man.
Festival director Hilary Osborn said: “The Festival has been a fantastic project to work on and support from local people of all ages has been overwhelming. Our youngest performers were just three years old and the oldest in their 90s. Each performance from local schools, individuals and community groups especially the choirs was so different but polished and professional and really showed the talent that there is in the community.
“It would be hard to pick any group out in particular as we all will have our own favourites. I personally loved the playground songs from Royd Nursery Infant School and the memories that they stirred up and a gentleman said to me that he found the performance of the youth group No Identity ‘haunting and uplifting.’ This has been such a worthwhile project. I can’t wait to get started on planning next year’s event.”
Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir secretary Rob Firth said: “It was wonderful to have so many young people and older people performing together and appreciating music of all kinds.”
A music festival was started in the district in 1907 by local GP Dr Walter Midgeley Robertshaw and ran for more than 30 years. It is hoped that the festival will become an annual event for years to come, raising money for a fund to help young local musicians develop their talent.