What have Andrew Nutter, Scouting for Girls and the M6 Theatre Group got in common? The answer is not immediately obvious, but one answer is that they all appeared at this year’s Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
Such a diverse collective is an essential part of this free, public spectacle, which is designed to appeal to all people. So there were smiling mums queuing up to get a picture taken with Ainsley Harriott after his cooking lessons, whilst the younger element of the demographic could be found shouting enthusiastically for the headline act, Scouting for Girls.
Those with more of an adventurous attitude to life could be seen abseiling down the clock tower at the town hall, some with eyes closed and others enjoying the view over the fairground rides.
When the rain came it was torrential at times, but did lead to one group of youngsters spotting a marketing opportunity by selling ponchos at £2 a time. The rain also drove a number of the crowd away from the enjoyable pop of the Lottery Winners, into the welcoming recesses of the Flying Horse where local bands delivered their versions of heavy rock numbers.
Bird to Beast, a band that has evolved from the core members of the husband and wife team of Hannah and Sam Hird to a full band line-up, were playing their second gig of the day, so it was a welcome delight to hear that their voices were still in fine fettle.
Thankfully the rain eased up enough to allow the square outside to fill again to celebrate all things ska rude boy courtesy of Pauline Black’s Selecter. With Pauline and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson leading from the front, it was difficult to believe that some of these rich, vibrant sounds were over 30 years old.
Not many people left the event without a smile on their face, so let’s look forward to next year’s event.
Words & photos: Ged Camera