Irlam Live Music Festival


I’ll start with a question “Is Irlam Live the best local festival ever?” Obviously if you weren’t there that’s a question you can’t answer. But I was and I attend a lot of festivals and in my opinion it is the best festival ever. But why?

To answer that we need a little history to give context. It all started over a pint in a pub in Irlam where Darren Goulden, Phil Brookes and Sam Butterworth were discussing how Manchester and Salford were having a renaissance. But Irlam and Cadishead’s fortunes probably needed a boost.

As the beer flowed so did the ideas one was to run a music festival that would also support the local community, businesses and charities. This type of conversation is one many of use will have had with friends and with the dawn of a new day all those great ideas are forgotten. But not in this case.

They put a plan together of how the idea could be brought to fruition and then went to the council to discuss it with them. Princess Park in Irlam was the preferred venue, the council listened and were so impressed with the plan and how it might be a focus for the community they supported it whole heartedly. So it was that Irlam Live as an event got the green light and now the hard work began to get Irlam Live up and running in 2016 began.

The big breakthrough artist wise was achieved when Tony Hadley agreed to headline quickly followed by Billy ocean, T’Pau, Kenny Thomas, Aswad and a pleathora of others. Local charities and community organisations had stands at the festival and local businesses provided food, drink, loos, equipment and various others services.

Irlam Live 2016 was a huge success and Princes Park became the focus of many community events throughout the year. The local music festival seemed to have supported the local community to further support each other as does the Irlam & Cadishead Community Festival which also takes place in Prince’s Park.

The first time you do something mistakes are made and you see afterwards how you could do things better. Which is exactly what the team did for Irlam Live 2017. They listened to feedback from the public attending, Vendors, artists, the council and community. The first thing for 2017 was more loos to cater for 5000 daily attendees. Etickets and a bigger VIP area plus a wider range of food and drink. The addition of a marquee where artists, DJ sets and various activities which could take place in between acts on the main stage. All provided by locals.

The marquee hosted the silent disco, Twisted Soul and an amazing set by Timperley girl Amanda Jane Heywood. She is someone to watch out for as she has the voice and presence to be a future major artist. Oh and like most folk from this part of the world she’s really down to earth.

There was music for everyone over the weekend which kicked off on Friday evening with local girl Jess Kemp, Ben from Curiosity Killed the Cat and headlining the Wailers Ft Jnr Marvin. SoulFest Saturday saw K Klass, Odyssey, Imagination Ft Leee John, Dave Finnegans Commitments and headliner Alexander O’Neal Retro Sunday had Dr & The Medics, Owen Paul, Toyah, Dodgy and headliner Jason Donovan.

Grandma’s, Grandaughters and everyone else including the crew and security danced, sang, laughed and joined in an event that had an amazing vibrancy about it. Their was a true community spirit and a feeling that you belonged and were part of something bigger than yourself. The charities that attended such as St Ann’s Hospice, The Jamie Horrocks Trust and Animal Rescue raised much needed funds and raised awareness of important issues. After the event the organisers will work with the local council to not just restore but improve the park.

Many of the artists paid tribute to what had happened in Manchester last week and Dave Finnegan and Alexander O’neal’s were especially poignant Alex getting the crowd to take a few moments of silence in remembrance and the silence was eerie.  It seemed even more poignant when I arrived home later in the evening to discover the tragedies in London.

There’s now quite a few annual events taking place in Irlam to help a community that had maybe lost a little of it’s confidence. But Irlam Live showed a community that is strong, confident and ready to stake a place alongside it’s bigger and more well known neighbours. And it’s festivals to punch above their weight. Roll on Irlam Live 2018 and another year for a small community.

Pictures of Irlam Live from Salford City Radio courtesy of Dave G and Tom Hughes

Irlam Live website

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Can The Life Aid Project Help Beat World Cancer Together with Music?


Cancer is one of those things that that most of us in our lifetimes will have close contact with. Either contracting it ourselves or through supporting a relative our friend who has the big C.

Survival rates and treatments are better than they have ever been, but it is still a major killer. Research and treatments need to continue for some years before cancer is finally beaten.

My Good friend Peter Cook has given up a lot of his time to start the Life Aid – Let’s Beat World Cancer Together With Music Project The aim to launch a project for Cancer Prevention and Treatment through a series of “Live Aid” styled Music Concerts all over the world.

Many people who have suffered from cancer will tell you that living as normal a life as possible and not being treated like an invalid is key to either recovery or living as full a life as possible. A part of that is also doing normal things with family and friends.

Music helps in bringing back happy memories and joy to the spirit so what better way to support cancer research and treatment than being involved in a musical extravaganza in your community with family and friends. Just attending and watching such an event can be an extremely powerful antidote.

Maybe you have skills that could help set a Live Aid style concert up in your area? If so read the information on the Life Aid – Let’s Beat World Cancer Together With Music Project website and contact Peter if you feel you can help. He already has many Musicians, technicians and others on board but your help will make all the difference.

Smile, enjoy life and support your community

Here’s a couple of songs from Heather Small that raise the spirits. First Proud from the 2012 Olympic Games. Made you feel proud to be British. Then Search for the Hero, there’s one in us all.

 

Beat World Cancer Website

Black Friday – will you be counting the cost?

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Some of you will have got some great bargains but many of you will also be counting the cost of Black Friday. Yes there are bargains to be had but are there as many as in previous years or has Black Friday turned into a marketers dream?

The price of lots of items on super sale on Black Friday went down a while ago then they went up and now they have gone down and you are saving a pound on the previous price which had been inflated anyway. So you are actually paying more for it on Black Friday than if you had bought it in the summer.

Of course if you use the Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis’s maxim a bargain is only a bargain if it’s something you really needed and it’s gone down in price. Buying something you don’t need but want just because it’s cheaper on Black Friday is not a bargain unless you sell it for more than you bought it.

Remember that this Black Friday – Stay Calm and Stay in the Black.

UK Black Friday statistics 2014

Black Friday statistics per hour 2014 from the Daily Mirror.

 

Politics is fun


Oh come on it is, don’t take it so seriously it can be a great spectator sport. Especially if you suspend all reason, expectation and take everything that is said with a rather large pinch of salt.

Their now you don’t feel as stressed do you over call me Dave’s misrepresentations or Corbyn’s non button pressing stance. Remember they are players and all the world is their stage or so they wished. Most Americans think Tony Blair is still the PM and when shown pictures of Cameron they think he’s a door to door salesman. The Russians just laugh.

The Americans think Corbyn is a lecturer and the Russians just laugh. Everyone thinks George Osborne is a glove puppet and no one apart from the Germans know who Nigel Farage is. No one at all knows who Nick Clegg is but seem to recall the name. The Russians are still laughing.

The silly season is over, sorry that’s the Conference season is over and of course Boris came up with the best one liner’s since those of Freddie Kruger in “ A Nightmare on Elm Street”

The night’s are drawing in here in good old blighty so we’ll all forget the political debate for now. Apart from Manchester Metropolitan University who in a master stroke are holding a conference on the plight of the homeless and how to help them. Whilst simultaneously evicting the homeless camp on their doorstep, and thier is no conflict as far as they are concerned. Maybe the silly season is extending into the autumn who knows?

However contrast that with footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs who have told a homeless group who are squatting in the Old Stock Exchange which the pair own that they can stay. The building will be turned into a boutique hotel next year and the pair are working with the group to set-up a homeless hub.

So we’ll watch the Rugby World Cup and Strictly Come Dancing and start thinking about Christmas as it’s now advertised everywhere alongside Halloween and Bonfire night. Very confusing and very expensive.

But of course that is life for many in Britain today confusing and expensive. But it needn’t be so. Stop listening to the fear mongering politicians and the advertisers who want you to buy all that stuff they tell you, you can’t live without.

Slow down, enjoy the company of family and friends, think clearly and let stuff wash over you. Enjoy our upcoming winter festivals and remember you can make Halloween costumes from stuff you were going to throw out. Hide and seek and apple bobbing are cheap games for the kids and you can apply the same principles to everything else.

Have fun and here’s some fun spooky music to help your Halloween be atmospheric, fun and cheaper than buying a CD. I hope that’s made you smile.

Halloween Mix 2015 – 4 hrs of non stop spooktastic fun

Black Tie’s


I attended the funeral of an acquaintance today which was a sad, sombre and joyous affair as we celebrated his life. Stories of wonderful times were told and everyone gave him a send off that none of those who attended will ever forget.

As I searched my wardrobe earlier in the week for my funeral attire I discovered yet again that my black tie was missing. I searched again, drawers, cupboards, wardrobe and under the bed. I have no idea why but it seems to be a law of the universe that if things go missing they usually end up under the bed. It wasn’t there although I did find a missing sock, a pen and a £2 coin.

I got my suitcases out with the winter clothes in, nope not there. I went to my stepmums and checked the case I had left. A myriad of coloured ties but no black tie and I was getting a little annoyed now. Why over a tie? Well it’s like this I have bought dozens of them over the years and all have disappeared. It’s as thought the dearly departed I went to send of took the ties with them.

Then I remembered my dad borrowed one, my three brothers also, one of them twice as he couldn’t find the first one I lent him. My friends borrowed them and finally the one I was looking for I remembered I had lent that one to my son. He remembered too that he had lent it to a friend.

When I enquired after said tie the friend of a friend of a friend had lent it to another friend who had lent it to a friend of a friend. The tie has had quite a time of it and become cosmopolitan and quite possibly bohemian in the process. It has been to several cities in the UK and in Europe and was last seen in Australia and now possibly on it’s way to Uganda.

So next time your looking for your black tie and it’s mysteriously disappeared just think of the adventures it could be experiencing at that very moment. It sort of put life and death and the universe into perspective something our departed acquaintance would have laughed at.

Black Funeral Tie

Where is the tie now?

Are You Happy ?


In the UK we have just altered the clocks and moved to British Summer Time (BST) and it’s light in the evenings when we are getting home from work. The dawn was just poking through the grey merk of the clouds as I set off on my usual early morning walk at 6.30am this morning.

Spring is here, well almost but the longer lighter days do put a spring into our step and make us feel happier. But are you happy or do you just think you are, it sounds like an alternative reality right?

You can check what makes most people happy and find out what happiness is and how happy you are at the Happy Planet Index.

We all need a minimum level of income to live but over and above that your accumulating stuff you don’t need. If your constantly looking out of your window and thinking you need a car like your neighbour or a new kitchen because a friend had one. Then take a look at the happiness index it might just help you focus on what really makes you happy.

If your not happy at work try and focus on the tasks you like and what they give you rather than the ones you don’t like. That way their will always be something enjoyable in your day.

Maybe this Easter you’ll have a clear out of all that stuff that no one has looked at in ages? At work maybe you could clear your inbox and feel under less pressure.  And just to get you in that happy mood here’s a couple of happy songs.

Pharrell Williams – Happy

Nurchering Curiosity and Creativity in the Young


One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is that of curiosity. Curiosity of where things come from and how they are made and a sense of adventure fun and creativity to have a go. To make something themselves that works.

Remember when we were young? our dads, uncles and granddads fixed things, made things work again using whatever they had around and built stuff that worked. It was magic and they taught those skills to my generation.

If you thought that was all gone and skills were being lost in our throw away and buy a new one consumerist society you may need to think again.

I watched the Royal Institute Christmas Lecture series on BBC4  and it mesmerised and inspired me as much as it did when I sat and watched it with my Dad when I was a teenager. The audience of Kids, teenagers and adults were also fascinated as Professor Danielle George took us on a fascinating journey. The lectures entitled Sparks will fly: How to hack your home had it all from robots and musical instruments to hands on experiments and eager audience participation.

It was fun, interesting and educational most importantly it showed kids what you can do with every day objects. How you can quickly and easily make something simple that might generate enough electricity to power a light, phone or musical instrument. It empowered them to think creatively about items they may just throw in the bin.

Of course the recycle movement is gaining momentum with Freegle  and upcycling  if we can get significantly more young people to embrace these ideas they will be more confident and self sufficient in the future. They may even come up with ideas that help mankind spread ever more scare resources further. The world will be theirs and don’t we want to leave them and our grandchildren a useful legacy?

Their is one great thing you could do for your children before school and college starts again. Sit down and watch the Christmas lectures with them see if it stimulates discussion, creativity and a desire to make something. Maybe you’ll find their is more than a little Faraday in them.

Have a creative, fun and productive 2015.