More than 14,000 people packed Rochdale town centre on Saturday for the annual celebration of music, food and family entertainment that is Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
The town centre was filled with an array of entertainment for the Rochdale Borough Council organised event, headlined by rock band Feeder.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture said: “It was amazing. A fantastic family festival with everyone having fun. The site was very busy right through the day, with the crowds being among highest we’ve ever had. The initial feedback we’ve had from traders and businesses has been positive and I think this festival is the perfect showcase for the town, which looked fabulous. I’m sure many visitors were impressed with the improvements made and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to put the event together, all our volunteers, sponsors our wonderful performers and every single one of the visitors who supported the festival. Roll on 2019!”
At lunchtime the main stage (sponsored by The Flying Horse Hotel and hosted by DJ Dave Sweetmore) was opened in style by operatic pop duo KAZE, followed by international singer/songwriter Anna Pancaldi, R&B artist [ K S R ] and Lancashire pop trio High Wyre.
At 3pm Battle of the Bands winners Scuttlers took to the stage. The Middleton four piece enjoyed a glorious reception and brought a loyal following of fans who enjoyed their energetic set. They were followed by another local favourite – Rochdale indie dance/funk band The Alchemists. Manchester rock band VALA made a triumphant Rochdale debut and Last Race Home got an amazing reception from an already packed crowd.
Next up was a change in musical style as new country act Emily Faye introduced her band onto the main stage. Playing summer festival friendly tracks from her debut EP ‘Here I Am,’ Emily certainly gained a lot of new fans in Rochdale.
Caribbean pop act The Curious Incident followed, with their cool music and charismatic lead singer Kairo getting everyone dancing.
Seven-piece Manchester ska band The Uplifters made a welcome return, after first playing the festival in 2015. Their set was a musical treat, with material from their album ‘Who Turned The Lights Out’ as well as a couple of crowd-pleasing covers.
Setting the scene for the headliners, Cast took to the stage just after 8pm delivering greatest hits set from the Britpop infused indie rock legends. Sounding as good as ever they played a stack of classic tracks including ‘Alright’, ‘Sandstorm’, ‘Flying’, ‘Walkaway,’ ‘Free Me’, ‘Guiding Star’, ‘Live The Dream’ and ‘Beat Mama’.
After a short interlude the stage went into darkness and a dramatic instrumental introduction prior to the arrival of headliners Feeder who walked on stage to a phenomenal reception from around 9,000 festival goers, opening their set with optimistic indie gem - ‘Feeling a Moment.’ The band, fronted by Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose, played as many of their best known hits and album favourites as they could squeeze into their 75-minute set, including ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’, ‘Buck Rogers’,‘Tumble and Fall’, ‘High’,’Pushing the Senses’, before ending a blistering performance with ‘Just a Day.’
The festival’s food and drink village was very busy throughout with over traders selling delicious dishes, street food and much more.
The town’s indoor venues were busy, with a series of live performances from lunchtime through to the early hours of the morning, including The Dave May Band at The Baum and Dan Donnelly from The Wonderstuff at The Flying Horse Hotel.
From 11am The Family Zone transformed The Esplanade into a children’s playground and was very busy throughout the day with The Actual Reality Arcade - a life-sized interactive game zone proving especially popular. Large crowds gathered to watch shows including the Urban Astronaut and Bicycle Ballet will presented their ‘Strictly Cycling’ show - an improvisational, visual performance and choreography inspired by flash mobs, dada-ism, everyday cycling experiences and the great British weather! There were impressive live performances from local groups including Skylight Circus and Cartwheel Arts.
The festival was funded by the council together with sponsorship from The Flying Horse Hotel, Premier Kia, The Wellington gastro pub, Metrolink, O2 Rochdale, The Royal Toby Hotel and other local businesses including The Medicine Tap and Rochdale Town Centre Management.