Doorstep Festival

World on Your Doorstep Festival 2008

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Update: Monday, 21 July 2008

Triumphant Festival Defies the Weather and the Gods: 
5000 People Flock to the Festival

The World on Your Doorstep, Hebden’s free World Music Festival, triumphantly defied misfortune and the climate to set Hebden Bridge rocking in Calder Holmes Park last weekend. It opened on Saturday morning with the Handmade Parade, an amazing display of colour, invention and fantasy, a community-based puppet parade organised by the arts group HEADS and Thingumajig Theatre. 

As 2 elderly visitors from Pontefract told one of the volunteers on the gate, “We were sitting in a café looking out of the window when suddenly we saw the parade coming past.  We couldn’t believe it.  First one float, then another, then another.  It just kept on coming.  We’ve never seen anything so fantastic.  It was just wonderful.”  They followed the parade into the park and thoroughly enjoyed their day.  They said, “So much work has gone into it.  Well done.”

The triumph of this magnificent opening, however, could not conceal the fact that the festival was almost over before it began. 

The roof of the main stage, erected on Friday, collapsed during the night and was a total write-off, sitting unused in the park like a wreck throughout the weekend, an ugly and desperate reminder of what might have been.  But the gods that delivered this blow along with the lowering skies and the rain had not bargained on the fortitude of festival organiser, Dave Boardman, and his intrepid crew. 

Calder Valley Voices

While recovery work was taking place, the Calder Valley Voices sang in the open field and Pepperjam performed in Fee Sharples’ food tent. 

By 4 o’clock, a marquee had been transformed into a main stage and the bands were up and running.  Luckily for the festival organisers and the festival goers, while the main stage bands were out of commission, the acoustic tent became the main attraction, and was overflowing with patrons.  This was to continue throughout the weekend.

Joint winners over the weekend were the music and the Calder Valley community.  On the substitute main stage, several thousand visitors to the park heard Victor and Kylie Brox, the Mojave Collection and Don’t Talk to Strangers, amongst many other bands. 

Acoustic tent

In the acoustic tent, which was permanently packed to the entrance and out into the field with appreciative listeners, Dawn Bramley and Dave, Nic Chapman, Mabel Blue, Paul Weatherhead, the Amazing Tom ‘n Ed Brothers from Todmorden and Antonio Tzoumas were among the 25 billed acts over the 2 days, along with many other support musicians.  Many of these performers are regulars at the Open Mic Surgery which takes place every Wednesday at the Stubbing Wharf Pub.

At the end of Saturday, as well as on Friday night too, the festival continued in pubs and bars in the town.  The Amazing Tom ‘n Ed and Joe Rybicki from Todmorden, Burnley band T-Spoon and Rochdale’s (and Greece’s) Antonio Tzoumas starred in The Stubbing Wharf and in B@R Place, while customers at The White Swan were entertained in the beer garden with acoustic performances from Paul Weatherhead, Boo Long from Bacup, and Hebden’s Marcus James.


World on Your Doorstep is now established as the annual World Music Festival of the Calder Valley and the local region.  The organisers, who have put so much work into the festival, not only this weekend but throughout the year, raising funds, booking artists and musicians, securing sponsors, organising publicity and sorting out technical and layout problems, and most importantly enticing all the volunteers with wonderful colour-coded t-shirts want to thank and congratulate everyone who contributed to this year’s success. 

All are invited to return next year and new volunteers are more than welcome.  Roll on 2009.

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14th July 2008

19th-20th July Calder Holmes Park

Calder Holmes park will be host to an incredible variety of music from around the world.  The catch is that all of the artists are local or live within a 50 mile radius of Hebden Bridge.

World on Your Doorstep celebrates the wide diversity of cultures and musical traditions to be found in West Yorkshire and the North West.

The festival runs from noon until 8 pm each day, but music will continue in two pubs and the Trades Club until late.  It will begin at 11 a.m. with the Handmade Parade, a community-based puppet parade organised by the Arts group HEADS and Thingumajig Theatre.  The parade will arrive in the park after a procession through the town.

The main stage will host a huge number of different musical styles, including reggae, hip hop, indie rock, R n B, blues and soul.  Among the artists appearing are Hebden Bridge-based psychedelic rockers Widgykeff, the Gambian (via Leeds) kora maestro Seikou Susso, Manchester blues legend Victor Brox, Don’t Talk to Strangers from Leeds and the alt-country / country punk of the Liverpool-based Mojave Collective.  There will also be several local bands including the Moroccan trance band Maghribibeat from Hebden Bridge and new local band, Becks and the Bullets.

Away from the main stage, there’s a chance to listen to a roster of singer-songwriters, bands and other performers in Sunny Jim’s Acoustic Tent.  The tent will feature local stars like Paul Weatherhead, Mabel Blue, James Bragg, Nic Chapman and many individual performers and groups from around the region.  Visitors on Saturday will be able to experience an authentic Jamaican sound system, courtesy of Axis and Chapter Four Bass Culture.

Fee Sharples, who is organising the organic café, said: “After last year, all of the organisers and volunteers were exhausted, but also delighted with our success.  We knew we had to do it again this year.”  There will also be a variety of other food stalls as well as a children and family activities tent, and lots of stalls selling their interesting goods and wares.

Dave BoardmanDave Boardman explained that the festival was made possible thanks to the support of both Hebden Royd and Calderdale Councils, the Community Foundation for Calderdale and others, as well as the many volunteers who have worked so hard to bring festival about.  He said “All we need now is some cracking weather, plus lots of people turning up to enjoy themselves and to listen to some great music.”

Entry to the festival is free, but as Dave Boardman says: ”it costs a lot of money to put on an event like this so we will be vigorously waving donations buckets in front to people, and every penny helps.”

Publicans and local businesses sponsor the festival

Liz Wood at the White Swan and Matt Browne at the Stubbings Wharf are the two of the local publicans supporting the two-day festival.  They have invited some of the festival musicians to continue the music in their pubs from 9 o’clock.  Liz said: “I think it’s great that we have a popular music festival.  I love seeing people enjoying listening and singing along.  Music makes you happy.”  Matt also welcomes local performers and bands.  “We always try to sponsor local musicians and singer/songwriters,” he said.  “We have an Open Mic here every week.”

The festival has also been generously supported by Spirals fair trade shop in Market Street, who have made their main window available for a stylish festival display.  Amongst other businesses in the town who have sponsored the festival are Muse Music (known affectionately as ‘Sid’s’) and Oasis.  Everyone is welcome to come and join the fun.

See also

Photo gallery 2008

Hebden Bridge Prepares for Second World on your Doorstep Festival

Volunteers needed

Hebweb report of World on Your Doorstep Festival 2007

World on your Doorstep website

Handmade Parade website


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