Your Barnaby volunteer
Brief description of your role at the festival: I’m overseeing the Spacepod Challenge in the Market Place on Saturday, June 25, the second weekend of the festival, as well as volunteering as a steward at a couple of events. How did you first get involved with the festival?: This is my first year as a volunteer. I’ve been a punter in previous years, as well as an observer when my wife organised the Button Project in 2013 (an exhibition of over 250 individual buttons, from makers around the world, created specifically for display in Macclesfield and inspired by the heritage of silk button making in the town) and the Shop Window Competition in 2014. I thought it was about time I helped out with something that makes such a difference to the town and only happens because people volunteer to help organise it. Tell us more about the events you’re involved with this year?: Spacepod Challenge sits within the science strand of the festival – it’s exciting for me, an engineer, to be involved in broadening the horizons of Barnaby to include science as well as the arts. We’re inviting teams to design a space vehicle to protect a delicate cargo as it lands on Planet Barnaby, specifically an egg dropped from a height of six metres to the cobbles of Market Place. Teams can either enter via the Barnaby website and build their spaceship beforehand, or, if friends and colleagues haven’t yet learned to love engineering, anybody can come along on the day and join one of our impromptu teams to create something from scratch in a few hours. We’ve got Dr Lucy Rogers, one of the judges on the new series of Robot Wars, coming along to help judge the inventions as well as talk about her experience of working in space engineering. What’s been the biggest challenge so far?: There’s lots of challenges organising an event from scratch, but the great thing about volunteering for Barnaby is that there is a fabulous team with lots of ideas and experience in different areas who are happy and willing to help you out. What did you enjoy most about last year’s festival?: I enjoyed The Blockheads, because I love live music, and, growing up when I did, Ian Dury was a bit of a legend. But, to be honest, the thing I like best about Barnaby is the buzz around town during the festival; it’s fun just walking round and visiting the venues with events for free, taking time to watch the street entertainers and lapping up the festival atmosphere. What are you looking forward to this year?: The Astronomer’s Story looks brilliant - I’ve had to borrow some kids so that I can go along! It’s a very imaginative concept to have an interactive, theatrical experience inside that disused church, leading into a series of outdoor events across a full week. What a fantastic way to create a story and bring the town together on a mission. What’s the best thing about the festival?: As I said, I love the buzz about the town during the festival. I feel proud to live in a town where the people I live amongst are able to create, plan, organise and support something of the quality of Barnaby. What do you think the festival has done for the town, and what would you wish for the future?: Barnaby has helped Macc to find it’s identity again; it’s given us all something to look forward to. It’s excellent to have such quality art and entertainment on the doorstep, provided both by both professionals and talented locals. I hope it continues for a long time. All of those I’ve spoken to who have volunteered in previous years have said how rewarding it is, so I’m looking forward to doing my bit this year and being part of creating that future with the army of other volunteers who help to make Barnaby happen. What have you learned from your experience as a volunteer?: I’ve learned what an amazing breadth of talent there is in Macclesfield and how, working together with such a large and willing team, it’s possible to do something quite special. The Astronomer’s Story takes place on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 with related events across the week. Spacepod Challenge takes place on Saturday, June 25, 1pm-3pm in Market Place.