A look ahead to the 2014 Bollington festival

The dog show at the festival in 2009

The dog show at the festival in 2009 - Credit: not Archant

The Bollington festival returns this month, proving that community spirit is alive and well in the village

In 1964 a doctor feared that community spirit in Bollington was unwell. Dr John Coope, who lived in the village, prescribed a festival as a possible cure and there was a remarkable recovery.

The festival has been held every four to seven years ever since – the last one was in 2009 – and this month the 50th anniversary festival will kick off with 17 days events being held around the village.

Festival chairman Jon Beck said: ‘That first festival gave rise to many community groups in Bollington, such as the Festival Players amateur dramatic group and the light opera group. And that spirit is still evident – the last festival was the first to have science as a theme and since then there have been monthly meetings in the pub at which eminent scientists have spoken and taken questions.’

More than 100 events will be held from May 16 to June 1 on the themes of art, science, drama, dance, music, comedy and sport. Local groups will share the bill with big names including the Chris Barber Band and the Northern Chamber Orchestra and Lord Robert Winston will be one of the guest speakers. There will also be a Songs of Praise-style event in the marquee hosted by former Crackerjack presenter Don McLean.

‘We believe this is the biggest volunteer-run, not-for-profit festival in the UK,’ Jon added. ‘It has been about three years in the planning and it should be a quite a spectacle. We have tried to ensure that there is something for every age and every interest.

‘A lot of the events at this year’s festival will have a 50 years’ theme, even the scarecrows that will be standing around the village will be depicting biomedical discoveries since 1964. And on the opening night one of doctor Coope’s brothers will give a talk about him as part of the Bolly’s Best event.’

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The festival will also see the world premiere of a film directed by television news cameraman and Bollington resident James Nicholas which was made in the village and stars local people.

For more information about the festival go online to www.bollingtonfestival.org.uk.