More than 11,000 people packed Rochdale town centre on Saturday for the annual celebration of music, food and family entertainment that is Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
The town centre was filled with an array of entertainment for the 12th year of the Rochdale Borough Council organised event, headlined by indie rock band The Coral.
Despite being hit by heavy rain and winds during the daytime, the sky cleared by late afternoon and large crowds gathered.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council said: “Whilst the weather wasn’t kind to us for the first half of the day, it was still a fantastic festival and those who did brave the elements during the daytime had a great time.
Thankfully by 5pm, the rain stopped and the site got very busy.
The initial feedback we’ve had from visitors has been positive but we will be undertaking a thorough evaluation in the coming weeks.
I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to put the event together, all our volunteers, sponsors our wonderful artists and every single one of the visitors who came down and supported the festival.”
At lunchtime, the main stage (sponsored by The Flying Horse Hotel and hosted by DJ Dave Sweetmore) was opened with lots of fun and laughs by CBeebies favourite Mr Bloom and his band.
Their set featured all the musical hits from his television shows as well as numerous cheeky covers including ‘Dancing Bean.’ They were followed by euphoric Cheshire singer/songwriter Megan Dixon Hood.
Just after 3pm local favourites Between The Vines took to the stage and got a great reception. The country-rock four-piece won this year’s ‘Feel Good – Battle of the Bands’ competition.
The Curious Incident followed, making their second appearance at Rochdale Feel Good Festival with their cool music and charismatic lead singer Kairo getting people dancing.
As the rain started to subside new R&B and soul singer/songwriter Ione performed with her band, performing tracks from her latest EP ‘Bright Lights.’
Next up was a change in musical style as Northern soul maestros The Northern SoulTrain, fronted by David John Jaggs drew a huge crowd, treating them to a set packed with anthems from the likes of Wigan Casino, Twisted Wheel and Blackpool Mecca.
Manchester rock band Alias Kid turned up the heat with an energetic performance before main stage DJ Dave Sweetmore took to the decks again for a warm-up set ahead of the eagerly awaited pop/rock band The Hoosiers. Setting the scene for the headliners, they took to the stage at 8pm and played for nearly an hour, performing all their crowd-pleasing hits including ‘Choices,’ ‘Cops and Robbers’ and ‘Worried About Ray’ ending with a sparkling rendition of their signature feel-good tune ‘Goodbye Mr A.’
After a short interlude the stage went into darkness prior to the arrival of headliners The Coral who walked on stage to a rapturous reception from around 6,500 festival fans, opening their set with – ‘Jaqueline.’ The band, fronted by lead singer James Skelly, played as many of their best known hits and album favourites as they could squeeze into their 65-minute set, including ‘Pass It On,’ ‘In The Morning, ’Goodbye’ and ‘Eyes Like Pearls’ before bringing the night to a close with their classic ‘Dreaming Of You.’
The festival’s food and drink village were very busy throughout the evening, and the town’s indoor venues were busy, with over 25 live performances from lunchtime through to the early hours of the morning. After The Coral closed the main stage the celebrations continued in The Flying Horse Hotel who also hosted the official festival after-show party featuring DJ Red Lawrie, The Late Show Band and Groove Yard.
From 11am The Family Zone sponsored by Hopwood Hall College transformed The Esplanade into a children’s playground. Activities and shows include The Bewonderment Machine, a Virtual Reality Playground, the aerial ‘Dip’ trampoline show, Bees! The Colony and The Playground of Illusions – where visitors were able to play with intriguing interactive giant toys. Circus theatre artist Stefano Di Renzo presented his live show and there were performances from local groups including Skylight Circus.
The event was funded by the council together with sponsorship from local businesses, including digital media partner O2 Rochdale, The Flying Horse Hotel, Hopwood Hall College, Premier Kia, The Royal Toby Hotel, Recycle for Greater Manchester, Link4Life and Metrolink.
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