‘It is going to leave a legacy’ - Cleckheaton Folk Festival bowing out after 37 years of live music, dance and street entertainment

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The first weekend in July will be the last chance to experience the famous Cleckheaton Folk Festival.

Organisers have announced this year’s much-loved three-day event will be the last ever one, 37 years since its creation.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Cleckheaton Town Hall ensured the 2020, 2021 and 2023 festivals were cancelled, and, while there have been some late venue changes, this year’s event will start on Friday, July 5.

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Dave Minich, director of Cleckheaton Folk Festival, revealed: “It is going to be the last one. It has been a decision we have been in the process of making for a number of years and putting off and putting off. Circumstances now have caused us to not put it off any longer.

Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones will be performing in the Masonic Dining Room Concerts on Friday, July 5, at the Cleckheaton Folk Festival.Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones will be performing in the Masonic Dining Room Concerts on Friday, July 5, at the Cleckheaton Folk Festival.
Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones will be performing in the Masonic Dining Room Concerts on Friday, July 5, at the Cleckheaton Folk Festival.

“We have tried to get additional volunteers involved in the festival over the past number of years but those years have included Covid breaks and the closure of the town hall, which haven’t helped.

“We have lost the use of St John’s Church which was going to be a replacement for the town hall but they have got maintenance issues which means we are unable to use that. A mass move to the Masonic Lodge seemed the best possible answer so we advised the Lodge, and they reviewed their fire regulations which reduced the number allowed in the building.

“All events planned for the Masonic Temple have had to be moved and re-scheduled, with an increased use of the Methodist Church facilities and further use of St. Paul’s Church Hall.

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This year’s festival, the 34th of its kind, sees a line up of award-winning artists in eight concerts which, along with other special fringe activities and workshops, adds up to more than 30 events over the weekend.This year’s festival, the 34th of its kind, sees a line up of award-winning artists in eight concerts which, along with other special fringe activities and workshops, adds up to more than 30 events over the weekend.
This year’s festival, the 34th of its kind, sees a line up of award-winning artists in eight concerts which, along with other special fringe activities and workshops, adds up to more than 30 events over the weekend.

“And with our ageing audience ticket numbers are down, not that it is causing us any financial grief, but the ticket numbers are down because people are getting older. We have an ageing audience and there is no young blood taking its place.”

This year’s festival, the 34th of its kind, sees a line up of award-winning artists in eight concerts, including duo Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones who will be performing in the Masonic Dining Room on the Friday, July 5, which, along with other special fringe activities and workshops, adds up to more than 30 events over the weekend. There will also be street entertainment and a parade.

Asked if it will be a good send-off for the popular festival, which was established in 1987 and founded by the late Geoff Pickles, David replied:

“Absolutely. It’s been quite a slog but we were determined to get to our final festival and go out with a touch of dignity intact. It is going to leave a legacy. I don’t think it will be forgotten very easily. And the festival wouldn’t be where it is without Geoff and his wife Jan.

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“It has meant a lot to locals and to many further afield. It is the central thing in Cleckheaton’s summer calendar. The local Chamber of Trade who put events on in Cleckheaton have said they will utilise that weekend to put something else on that has a musical influence, so that the weekend won’t go away.”

The last ever Cleckheaton Folk Festival takes place on Friday, July 5, Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7.

For further information, visit: https://www.cleckheatonfolkfestival.org/

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