It is hard to top the amazing sight of hundreds of handmade lanterns being paraded through the spectacular natural landscape of New Mills followed by a lively celebration street party – but the organisers of the town’s festival aren’t afraid to give it a go.
And this year the annual event looks to be a corker with more than two weeks of talks, walks, concerts, gigs and exhibitions.
The town will be packed to the rafters with cultural activities for the whole community from September 12-28.
There’s a talent night, the Torrs textile tableau, stand-up comedy, tea dancing, crafts, performances by Derbyshire’s Poet Laureate Helen Mort, the New Mills Band and Chapel Male Voice Choir, exploding custard and even Superhero filmmaking.
If you are into nature there are fungi forays, a barn owl lecture, rambles in the Peak and the community orchard Apple Day.
There is also an artisan food fair and a bubble-fest when everyone can have fun making the biggest bubbles possible.
Topping the bill through the fortnight of fun will be three main events. Kicking off the proceedings on September 12 and 13 will be The King and Us Too at the Art Theatre.
Milltown Studios are presenting a follow up to their sell-out show The King and Us with a feature of fantastic music from James Ruffel’s tribute to Elvis, Kathy’s Band, The Beachcombers, The Carbs and White Van Man. Compere Tony Audenshaw stitches the show together with laughs and a few surprises.
For the festival’s middle weekend Ashley Hutchings of Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span fame will perform with his son Blair Dunlop.
A Song of Two Bridges is an evening of music, poetry and song lyrics at the Spring Bank Arts Centre on September 20. Both have written some beautiful poetical lyrics and their show covers many ages in many moods.
Back by popular demand to close the festival on Sunday September 28 are the seven members of The Old Dance School with a special fundraising event. The band’s expansive landscapes of
ear-bending contemporary folk place them as true innovators of the genre.
With duelling fiddles, soaring brass crescendos, their new show charts their remarkable journey from ballet school basement jam sessions and cowshed rehearsals, to remote lighthouses and headline appearances at international festivals.
The Old Dance School take their name from the old Betty Fox School of Ballet in Birmingham – the legendary jam session venue where the band formed in 2007.
Championed by the BBC’s Bob Harris, the group’s provocative songs and cinematic sound has received plaudits throughout the country, from press and audiences alike, including Songlines Top Of The World 2010, and The Scotsman’s Album of the Year.
To watch a video of them talking about the band and performing scan the QR code below, right.
As we said at the start, the main highlight of the New Mills Festival is the fantastic lantern procession and street party. Last year 7,000 people went to the town to enjoy the magical occasion.
The lanterns are carried through the Torrs and the procession walks over the famous Millennium Bridge flanked by impressive fire sculptures.
The procession starts at 7.30pm on September 27 and there are strict rules about where it starts for safety reasons because of the number of people taking part.
The street party will be taking place from 6.30pm-11pm in the centre of the town and visitors will be entertained by jugglers, magicians and fire-eaters. There will also be an huge array of street food from around the world for people to sample.
To find out all the up-to-date details about the festival please go to the website http://www.newmillsfestival.com