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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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