The Bollington Festival first appeared back in 1964.
It featured music and dance as well as a bowls tournament and a horticultural show. Tickets were priced at the very accessible cost of four shillings (less than £1 in today’s money).
Its aim, spurred into being by Dr John Coope, was to revitalise Bollington’s community spirit through the promotion of social, music and arts projects.
Dr Coope (or ‘Dr John’ to locals) passed away on Christmas Day 2005 – but his legacy continues, with the festival having resurfaced at irregular intervals since then.
Its most recent iteration was in 2014, a 50th anniversary outing, organised by a committee of volunteers.
Each reincarnation has sought to outstrip the previous, and each invariably galvanises the community of what is affectionately known as ‘Happy Valley’.
Over the years, the spectacle has featured a huge range of entertainment, artists and celebrities.
From a Victorian helter-skelter and the town’s own ‘Calendar Boys’ to Professor Robert Winston and former Church of England envoy Terry Waite (a Bollingtonian by birth), the Bollington Festival has seen it all.
Bollington’s heritage, of course, is closely linked to the Industrial Revolution (the town’s population quadrupled between 1801 and 1851) and to this day its mills still play a vital role in the community.
Dominating the skyline, their cotton-producing days may be long gone but they provide a livelihood for many thriving businesses and accommodation for hundreds of local residents.
Given the town’s history, it’s no surprise to see that science and industry have been represented at Bollington Festivals of yesteryear.
This year, too, will see the return of the popular SciBar, hosted by two visiting professors.
However, in accordance with Dr Coope’s original vision, the festival remains first and foremost an arts-focused event.
Festival chairman Jon Beck comments: “My first official involvement in the Bollington Festival was back in 2009 when I trod the boards in a production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
“Judging by my reviews I’m confident I’ll make a greater contribution this year!
“But to be honest the stars of the show are the artists, committee members, volunteers and fund-raisers who put their heart and soul into this extraordinary event.”
Looking ahead to this year’s event, Jon cites a quote of Dr Coope’s from his chairman’s message back in 1964: “Perhaps we can hope that when our present itself becomes a page of history, it may also be worth remembering.”
More information about the Bollington Festival 2019 is available at www.bollingtonfestival.org.uk
Bollington Festival 2019 (10th – 27th May)