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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Nuts go down a storm at new May music festival

Flashes of blue, orange, yellow and green pass before my eyes as four children skip around in a circle with gooseberry shaped balloons to the upbeat sound of violins.

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A couple snuggle together and rest against an old tree covered in blossom, and a family of five plonk themselves on one of the many carved wooden benches near the main stage.

There are children dressed as fairies, boys with bear-eared caps, and an elderly man with a gigantic black top hat embellished with badges, who would fit quite comfortably into a Dr Seuss book.

Two boys leap to their feet and start doing an awkward dance to the beat of the music in a vain attempt to impress a group of girls. The girls snigger but the boys don’t seem to care.

Everyone is in harmony together nestled amongthe ethereal surroundings of Rivendell, just outside Workington, at the first Nuts in May festival.

I make my way up the steps leading to the Woodland Glade stage and part of me expects to catch a glimpse of Bambi or Thumper.

As I watch an array of local talent sing their hearts out on the small stage I get chatting to two local lasses who admire the natural theme of the event.

Chelsea Varty, 19, of St Mary’s Court, Workington, says: “The setting is lovely. I don’t think I’ve been to a festival before that has been this natural. A lot of thought has gone into all the stage areas and the layout.”

Eugenia Innes, 22, of Firth View, Workington, says: “Everything is really pretty and there’s a really relaxed atmosphere.”

As the three-day festival starts to kick off, more and more families begin to make an appearance.

Michael Donohue, 40, of Chapel Terrace, Bridgefoot, is there with his sons Evan, eight, and Nathan, three.

He says: “We like to support all the local music events and like Solfest this event seems to have a really good family feel to it. The boys are really enjoying themselves and a couple of bands have really stood out for us including the Cuban Fiddle Crisis.”

Before I become completely hypnotised by my surroundings I realise that festival headliner Nik Kershaw is about to take to the stage.

As I peak my head round the already crammed Cup of Wonders tent I realise I should have got here earlier and marked out a spot but with a bit of jostling I manage to squeeze myself to the front.

Everyone goes wild as the 80s idol starts singing The Riddle, One woman gets so excited she falls backwards into the side of the tent.

After soaking up the atmosphere I manage to catch up with Joanne Braniff, one of the organisers of the festival.

Joanne says: “We’re delighted with the outcome of the weekend. So many local people have come to support the event and there are also people here from all over the country, which has really exceeded our expectations.

“Wherever you look everyone seems to be smiling and enjoying themselves and that’s what we wanted the event to be about.

“There are around 1,500 people here which was the target we hoped to reach. Everyone who has helped out at the event has done an amazing job and we can’t thank them enough.

“We’re looking forward to planning next year’s festival after a well-earned rest.”

On the last day everything seems to be winding down; the acts are on top form and everyone is still in the festival spirit but the weather has become dreary and not even the poncho I haggled for a few days earlier can keep out the chill.

One of the last acts finishes playing and I can no longer feel my fingers and my toes. I decide I’m officially defeated and it’s time to go home.

As I leave I hear a group of people chanting “Nuts in May” and it’s clear that the festival has not only gone down a treat but has kick-started what is to be a busy festival year for West Cumbria.

Have your say

Quite how this enterprise got planning permission, I'll never know - the Braniffs may be pleased that it went ahead, but people living nearby almost experienced what George Bush snr put General Noriega through - music/noise we had no choice but to listen to. Despite their 50 acres, they seemed to have put the stages nearest to people's homes. Why do money making schemes always seem to pollute the quality of other people's lives? A residential area is a daft place to shove such an obtrusive business - ok for people who travel to it, not so nice for the neighbours.

Posted by the general on 23 May 2012 at 11:45

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