Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Feeling Good In Rochdale

Rochdale's 'Feel Good Festival' returns for it's 5th year on 31 August - 1 September 2012. Taking place in the centre of Rochdale, the festival offers something for all the family. Music from big name acts, Celebrity Chefs and Entertainment for the kids. The festival is free to attend and forms part of a year of celebrations of the International Year of Co-operatives.

We wanted to find out more about what is on offer and what we can expect from the festival. So we spoke to Matthew Rowbotham from Rochdale Council.

Can you give us a brief history of Rochdale's Feel Good Festival?    

The festival started in 2008 as a way to promote health and happiness in our borough. It was a relatively small event but got a great response from those that attended and has grown every year since. We’ve always kept the theme of “Feeling Good” for obvious reasons, and we felt that good quality music and food were key to this. Over the years we’ve got a bit bolder in our choices of guests and built up a loyal following. The event has always been run by Rochdale Town Centre Management (note: not actually Rochdale Council, though we help where we can) as a way to highlight some of the best parts of Rochdale.

Do you put on other events in the run up to the festival?

Yes. Venues that contribute to the main festival always put on warm up events. This year we have live music, including battle of the bands comp to open the main stage, at the Flying Horse Hotel every weekend in August so you can see a few of the bands that will be cropping up at the festival. There’s also craft, art and food based events at Touchstones Museum and our very own Feel Good Café.

Do you need tickets for any part of the festival?

The main music stage, food tent, circus and acoustic bar are absolutely free, so you’ll get to see our biggest guests for nout. Some satellite events have a small ticket price; please see our website for details.

Is there something for all the family at the festival?

Definitely, although we encourage sensible,common sense precautions when watching our musicians and chefs in large groups,there really is a lot you can do over the two days with the whole family. Arts and crafts play a big part for children, there’s a bugs and beasties tent,sports and games and a live circus with daring acrobats. For teens there are some great after parties with live bands starting at 10pm on both evenings. For adults, the big name chef’s and music acts should appeal.

What can we expect from the festival?

Motown legends Martha and the Vandellas,chef’s Jean-Christophe Novelli and Brian Turner, 80’s ska band The Beat and, er, clog dancing. We like to feel we’ve got one of the best live sounds as well, so you’ll definitely feel a bit of a thud and a rumble!

How important is the festival to Rochdale?

Really important. There’s great affection for the festival and a lot of people look forward to it every year.It’s a chance to show we can go toe to toe with the best of ‘em, pull together and put on something we feel is really rather appealing. Probably best if you ask a few people round our way though, I’m a little biased as you’d imagine!

Whats been the highlight(s) of previous Feel Good Festivals?

Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Badly Drawn Boy played an excellent set last year, and the Lightning seeds the year before.Watching the ladies swoon over Gino D'Acampo was also a bit of a giggle.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Same as every year, a great festival surrounded by good people.

Tell us something we won't know about Rochdale's Feel Good Festival?

We think it’s the only festival in the world that has spawned its own year round café. It was also once referred to as “F-Fest” in a badly judged tweet a few weeks ago.

Where can we find more information and updates for the festival?

Festival Website   twitter   facebook

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