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

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

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

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!

Guess Who’s Dead?


A 107 people world wide die every minute that’s who and that’s a lot of people so the chances of you knowing someone who has died in the past few months is reasonably high. Certainly higher than the chance of you winning the lottery this or any other week. So what’s the point of this week’s blog apart from a useless fact that is? Were you aware that last week was dying matters awareness week? No? Neither was I.

That got me to thinking that most people are still uncomfortable talking about death or the impending death of someone they know. Friends who called around or rang all the time disappear off the face of the Earth as though they had died out of sympathy. It’s not that they don’t care often it is the fact that they care so much which keeps them away. They are embarrassed partly because there is nothing they can do and partly because they are not sure if they should talk about “it” or not. Hoping that if they don’t talk about “it”, it will just go away and everything will be alright. If only everything in life and death were so simple.

In fact many people find it hard to talk to loved ones or family about death only sex is higher on the list of taboo topics with loved ones. But here’s the crazy thing it costs money ( no will exists ), gives angst and grief to those left behind and of course no one knows your wishes. For example how you might want certain care at the end of your life you might wish to die at home or in a hospice. You may want to donate your organs or leave some money to your favourite charity. It is highly probable that none of these will happen unless you talk to your family about it.

The second thought that occurred to me is that I myself have reached that age where grandparents are a memory (apart from nana still going strong at 93). My mother died of cancer a few years ago as did her mother and sister and both my wife’s grandfather’s died a couple of years earlier. The grim reaper is still having his fun with us as friends, colleagues and other’s we have known who made a difference to our lives have shuffled off this mortal coil.

With each passing of a person I have known and cared about I grieve but I wonder if I am becoming comfortable and familiar with death? I used to fear it but now it’s a constant in my life it comes around almost more often than having to empty the bins. I am not being callous here just stating a fact that I am more stoic around death than I used to be more accepting that it’s here to stay and will claim me one day (not to soon I hasten to add).

The Dying Matters Awareness Week campaign states it is working to ease the pain of bereavement and terminal illness. You can support that by going to see or ringing family and friends in this situation. If your worried about appearing foolish or don’t know what to speak about then ask the person do they want to talk about “it”. Some do and some don’t be guided by them listen to what they are saying and go with the flow of the conversation. If they want to talk about it ask them have they made all the necessary arrangements. You will feel much better for having done this and so will they. The website Dying Matters has lots more information.

Finally to boost your spirits here are a few more facts about death that will make you smile. Courtesy of William Hartston at the Daily Express.

• In 2008 the mayor of Sarpourenx in France banned villagers from dying and threatened severe punishments to offenders. Apparently the cemetery was too full

• William Gladstone and Dr Barnardo are the only people whose coffins have travelled on London’s tube trains.

• Meanwhile back in France in 1928 French golfers voted to sentence a blackbird to death for stealing dozens of golf balls from the Saint-Germain golf course near Paris

• Finally in Bhutan it is considered unlucky to die at the age of 81, why I don’t know but I’ll leave you to research that one yourselves.