Knutsford prepares for another fun-packed year

Tom Cartwright

Tom Cartwright - Credit: Archant

Whether you’re into music, food or just want some fun, Knutsford has an event for you, writes JANET REEDER

Butterflies; Imogen Brown and Cassie Morgan of Cabasa Carnival Arts, Manchester

Butterflies; Imogen Brown and Cassie Morgan of Cabasa Carnival Arts, Manchester - Credit: Archant

FOR those who fancy getting into the festival spirit, Knutsford is the place to be. If the town isn’t festooning itself with flowers to welcome visitors to RHS Tatton it’s bringing in the bookish for its annual literary extravaganza.

This year marks the second of the town’s music festivals which promises to be bigger and better than the inaugural event in 2017.

Knutsford council launched the Music Festival as a way of boosting visitors to the town. Said council spokeswoman Sarah Morgan: ‘We want to promote Knutsford and what it has to offer. It was lacking a musical event. Our makers’ markets and Christmas markets are incredible but we felt there was a gap and we weren’t promoting musicians, hence the festival.’

With local musicians performing alongside those who are more well-known, the music festival draws in all parts of the community at different locations.

Sarah Morgan and Ruth Fearon

Sarah Morgan and Ruth Fearon - Credit: Archant

‘Last year we had a choir performing on Regent Street in the centre of the town, we had buskers on the steps of hairdressers and in the British Red Cross charity shop had somebody performing there,’ explains Sarah.

‘This year we are having an event on the Moor aimed at families. It’s open to anyone within the town centre who wants to take part so we have a lot of businesses signed up already including restaurants, shops and bars.’

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BBC presenter Mark Radcliffe who lives in Knutsford has added celebrity kudos by getting involved as curator and there are special ticket prices available to encourage people to bring their families along.

The event is led by the council who will run seven concerts throughout the weekend of June 22nd-June 24th.

Clive Heath, Sonia Amos, Pat Heath and Peter Willgoose

Clive Heath, Sonia Amos, Pat Heath and Peter Willgoose - Credit: Archant

‘Our main event at The Courthouse has Miles Hunt from the Wonder Stuff. We’ve also got the Fine Lines a local up and coming band at the same event,’ says Sarah.

‘It’s really nice to be able to support the local venues and use their spaces, working in partnership with them is a great opportunity.’

Cllr James Power, deputy chairman of the events committee, said: ‘Knutsford embraced the Music Festival last year and this year it will be even better.

‘We have more venues involved and more musicians. The town is bursting with talent and I’ve felt for a long time that music brings people together. If you are interested in being involved please contact the council.’

Tom Cartwright

Tom Cartwright - Credit: Archant

This month, locals will be flocking to Knutsford Heath for a host of family fun and charity fundraising, thanks to the local Lions Club. The Lions Fair on The Heath on May 28th follows the centenary event last year which transferred from King Street to the Heath. President Clive Heath explains the reason for the move: ‘It’s become very difficult to hold it in the centre of town. When we first used to do it, the Bank Holiday Monday was very quiet in King Street - there were the pubs and one or two shops open but now it’s nearly full of restaurants and they’re all open and they don’t like people outside them so we won’t do it there anymore.’

Knutsford Lions publicity officer and former President, Peter Willgoose adds: ‘Lots of the stalls are local organisations or charities. We don’t do it as a fundraiser, or anything other than the opportunity for the community to get together. I t’s their chance to publicise their own organisation and to make some money if they are a charitable organisation.’

‘ So it was set up as a community event at the beginning and I think it has remained true to that,’ adds Pat Heath, herself a former president.

The fun event has plenty to keep youngsters amused including a children’s play area, donkey rides and welly throwing.

‘There’s a dog show which was so popular last year it’s being expanded,’ says Peter. ‘We have categories such as the prettiest pooch and the dog that looks most like its owner and this year we’re having an obstacle course and letting them run riot.’

Adds Clive: ‘One thing that happened last year was lots of Lions clubs joined in for the centenary and there was a massive area called the Lion’s Den. Quite a few have said they’ll come again.’

Another person who is looking forward to the festival season is Tom Cartwright.

Tom, who lives on Legh Road, is the proud possessor of a VW Beetle bar which he’ll be taking to festivals, weddings and parties throughout the summer. It’s certainly an eye-catching way to create and sell drinks. The 21-year-old got involved with the people who set up the Beetlejuice bars when he quit his university course in Bath a year ago and ended up working on a number of their events last summer.

‘The first ever event I did was the Supervet event with TV’s Dr Noel Fitzpatrick. But I had no idea how to make cocktails,’ recalls the former pupil at King’s School in Macclesfield.

‘ I remember Brian May (of Queen) was there and a guy came over to me and asked me to make Brian a rum cocktail, which I did and about five minutes later the same guy brought the drink back and said whatever it was it wasn’t a rum cocktail, so I thought I’d better learn how to do it properly. I went away to Barcelona and trained how to make drinks. It’s been good fun.’

Tom has Parklife in Manchester, Creamfields in Warrington and a couple of other events in his diary for his first year with his own Beetlejuice bar and he’s ready to take bookings for weddings and parties. ‘I did a couple of weddings in the south Wales area, Oxford, London and now I’d love to get more weddings and parties up here.

‘ I did a wedding near Hay on Wye. It was awesome. I can change all the branding on the van and dress it up to suit any wedding theme so this one was decorated with wild berries and plants from the forest near the bride’s home. Afterwards, the bride’s mother came over hugging us telling us we’d done a great job.’

Things to do in Knutsford in 2018

Tatton Park Country Show

May 19th-20th

Why? There’s something here for everyone, from crafts, gifts, demonstrations, food and drink, entertainment, jousting and more.


Foodies Festival

When? July 13th-15th

Why? It’s a fabulous food extravaganza featuring live cooking from TV chef Simon Rimmer, British bake Off finalist Kate Lyon and top local chefs including Adam Reid, Gary Usher and Victor Yu.

This year includes the launch of a brand new Musicians Against Homelessness music stage with headliners Dodgy, The Hoosiers and Toploader.


RHS Tatton

When? July 18th-20th

Why? The Flower show at Tatton is now an essential date on the social calendar. It’s the place to gaze upon the beauty of floral displays and show gardens, enjoy a unique shopping experience and picnic in the sunshine.


Pub in the Park

When? September 7th-9th

Why? Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge debuts a three day extravaganza , including gastro pub pop ups, chef demos, an artisan market and a feast of musical entertainment featuring Tom Odell, Razorlight and Sophie Ellis Bextor.


Knutsford Literature Festival

When? October (date tbc)

Why? The festival was launched in October 2000, as a Millennium event and continues to attract top-name speakers on a wide range of subjects.