‘It’s a triumph to give people a reason to come to Macclesfield for arts and culture’
THE sixth Barnaby Festival blasted off following a launch on Friday (June 17) with speeches by broadcast journalist Nick Robinson and Professor Teresa Anderson MBE, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.
More than 150 dignitaries, artists, volunteers, sponsors and supporters gathered in Macclesfield’s United Reform Church at Park Green.
Prestbury born Nick Robinson said that he used to tell people he was from Macclesfield as it gave him more street cred. Reminiscing about his time growing up here he said: “The only culture was The Majestic cinema. It gives me great joy to see what is being achieved here.”
Reflecting on what Barnaby has done for the town, Robinson continued: “My father used to say that Macclesfield was a great place to live because there were so many places to visit like Tegg’s Nose and Wildboarclough, with easy access to Manchester for entertainment.
“It’s a triumph for Barnaby that they are giving people a reason to stay and to come to Macclesfield for arts and culture.”
He thanked the organisers and the very many volunteers for what they have achieved.
Barnaby Festival has forged a reputation as one of the best of its kind anywhere in the country and continues to be ambitious in its approach, programming and delivery.
This year the partnership with Jodrell Bank, celebrating its 70th year, has been embraced with the festival theme of space and the town welcomed Professors Brian Cox and Tim O’Brien in conversation discussing our current knowledge of the universe. Teresa Anderson MBE, director of Jodrell Bank said: “We are always looking out across the universe. It is sometimes good to look closer to home and we have really enjoyed interacting with artist Hondartza Fraga, whose commission you can see at Barnaby Festival.”
The festival launched eight art commissions across the town, including internationally renowned artist Bedwyr Williams’ film Flexure, which has been commissioned by Barnaby Festival and funded by Arts Council England and the Henry Moore Foundation. The work will go on to be part of Williams’ solo exhibition at Barbican Curve Gallery in autumn.
The artist also gave a performance about a headmaster who is increasingly troubled about a time capsule project he worked on years ago, and is now having nightmares about the capsule digging itself up and coming back to haunt him.
The art commissions are free to visit and continue until Sunday, June 26. There are more than 100 events on across the ten-day festival including music, comedy, theatre, art, debate, and guest speakers. And of course the Barnaby Parade!
The events began with Francesca Martinez, who supported comedian Frankie Boyle on a recent tour. Her Wobbly Manifesto in St Michael’s Church entertained the crowds.
Karl Wallace, director of Barnaby Festival said: “What a truly astronomical start to Barnaby Festival. The people of Macclesfield should be very proud to have such a great event in their town – and one that wouldn’t be possible without the community creating it and supporting it. Come along and enjoy the atmosphere and do something that you can’t normally do in a corner of Macclesfield that you might never have been to.
“We even have our own beer Starry Messenger, brewed by Macclesfield’s Red Willow with the pump clip designed by Bedwyr Williams.”
Tickets for all events, as well as the complete listings are available at www.barnabyfestival. org.uk. Tickets are also available from the Visitors Information Centre at the town hall.
●» Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Lynne Jones, chairman of Barnaby Trustees, Karl Wallace, festival director, and Nick Robinson, BBC Radio 4 presenter