Fifth Batley Festival set for this weekend

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Batley town centre will be swarmed with thousands of people this weekend for the annual Batley Festival.

Various locations in the heart of the town will celebrate the fifth annual event, which remains free, on Saturday, September 10.

The one-day spectacular takes place in key venues including the Marketplace, Library, Batley Memorial Gardens and Batley Town Hall.

The ‘Best of Batley’ will showcase their talent including Kirklees Music School, Batley Community Choir and the West Yorkshire Drama Academy.

Regional artists and companies also feature including giant puppets from Thingumajig, pavement artists Urban Canvas, Balkan brass band The Baghdaddies, quirky walkabouts from Kitch n Sync Collective and the slowest ride on earth in The Institute of Crazy Dancing’s Life Boat.

The annual volunteer-led festival has developed over the years with an ongoing collaboration between Dewsbury-based arts programme Creative Scene.

Established in 2011, the festival has always been a celebration of both local and professional talent, led by a dedicated group of volunteers who are passionate about their town.

Nancy Barrett, Director of Creative Scene, said: “There is so much to celebrate in Batley.

“It’s a beautiful, historic town with a vibrant local arts scene packed with talent.

“Batley Festival volunteers continue to grow the festival and bring some amazing arts experiences for all to enjoy - leading performers and artists love playing to the local crowds here.

“The quality of the Batley Festival is on a par with some of Yorkshire’s finest events.”

Kimberley Thirkill, the chair of Batley Festival’s committee, said: “Every year, the festival brings a day to celebrate all that is great about Batley.

“It also provides local people with opportunities to volunteer or get involved in creating the performances that put the festival on the map.

“There are so many brilliant arts organisations that exist in Batley and across Kirklees, and this event provides the ideal platform for them to showcase their talents.”

This year’s finale will be The Batley Picture Show; a 40-minute, live evening outdoor spectacular that takes place at 8.30pm in Batley Memorial Gardens.

It features real home movies and archived footage of local people, celebrating Batley’s industrial, manufacturing, sporting and cultural heritage over the past century.

The evening will include film, music, live performances and pyrotechnics delivered by international outdoor arts company, Periplum.

Rebecca Legg, producer at Creative Scenem said the final will be a fitting one to end this year’s event.

“Together with Batley Festival we have commissioned Periplum to bring a unique outdoor event that has never been seen before in Batley,” she said.

“We asked local residents and businesses to send us their film footage of Batley over the years to incorporate into the performance.

“The fantastic response we received has allowed us to create an outdoor spectacular to celebrate both the last 100 years in Batley and the fifth anniversary of the festival.

“It will be one extraordinary night that you won’t want to miss.”

The full programme and details are available at www.batleyfestival.co.uk.