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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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?

Halloween Scary or Fun?


It’s that time of year again and no matter how scary real life can be we love scaring ourselves with spooky stories, movies and music. All hallows eve may be synonymous with lost souls, ghouls and all manner of gruesome creatures. But it also allows us to dress up and party and who doesn’t love a good party?

Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Celts used the day to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. They also believed that this transition between the seasons was a bridge to the world of the dead.  Over the centuries it has transitioned from a somber pagan ritual to be more about costumes, trick or treating and merriment.

Does Halloween scare you and fill you with a sense of dread and doom or does it fill you full of fun?

If you’re having a Halloween party make it a spooktacular event with my Halloween party mix 4 hours of non stop atmospheric music that will keep your Halloween party in the mood. I hope you enjoy it.

The music is interspersed with spooky music, narrative, sound effects and bits from movies – see if you can spot them.

Enjoy yourselves

You can listen to the Halloween party mix here

Have a spook y Halloween

Have a spooky fun filled Halloween

 

 

It’s sometimes good to be the odd one out – embrace it


This came home to me this week when I seem to be the only person I know who is not crowing over the movie Anchorman Two. Even the best bits in the TV promo’s are not funny to me I never saw Anchorman and I don’t want to see Anchorman Two.

People look at me with that expression “What, you don’t think Anchorman Two is the funniest move ever” As though I have two heads or am from another planet. I find it hard to believe intelligent people find it funny. But hey ho the world would be a dull place if we all liked or disliked the same thing.

The same is true of Januarys dryathalon in the UK something I DO NOT support. Before I get a plethora of abuse let me say this. My Mother, her sister and my grandmother all died of cancer.

My Mum’s sister was a teetotaller her mother drank once in a blue moon and my mum was a very light drinker. I support cancer charities and our local hospice and have taken part in many events to support them and will continue to do so in the future.

Good luck to all those who are carrying out the dryathalon I hope you succeed. However 20 pubs a day are closing in the UK and many of these are the hubs of communities and refuge of the lonely. They provide a place for people to exchange ideas and support each other, they also provide employment and the businesses and their employees pay tax.

I personally think in a recession a charity should not be trying to raise money for one group of people whilst putting the livelihood, housing, relationships and health of another group at risk. That is why I will not be joining the dryathalon or sponsoring anyone taking part.

So this week I have been made to feel like a pariah but I am happy with my choices and glad to not be part of the crowd. Have you been in a similar situation and how did it make you feel.  More importantly how did you deal with it?

What does Community mean to you?


This week is a good time to pose this question as in many areas Christmas lights are being switched on and many community events are being run to coincide with them.  As Christmas approaches parcels are collected to be sent to those less fortunate than ourselves. Video messages are collected to be sent out to troops who won’t be home for Christmas.

Hospices, schools and community organisations run Christmas fairs to raise awareness and much needed funds. We are asked to buy an extra toy or food for hampers and donate them for a good cause. Charitable, voluntary and community organisations also need volunteers to deliver it all and provide services. We are also asked to look in our elderly or sick neighbours to ensure they are alright.

Many of us will step up and do these things and we will have a sense of civic pride. We feel good that we have been community spirited and fortunate to be in a position to do so gaining a wonderful sense of well being.

The number of people doing “something” community spirited at this time of the year increases tenfold. If your one of those people why not try doing “something” no matter how small all year round? And have that wonderful sense of wellbeing all year round.

Santa Wave

Santa says have fun and look after one another

Happy Christmas to one and all and let’s make 2014 a year of laughter, joy and community spirit.

Here’s a little Christmas cheer for your ears with different versions of Christmas songs that should have you singing and dancing around your lounge or even with your community. Ho Ho Ho!