Summer has gone from the Pennine Hills. Stepping out of the door in the morning, you can see your breath. The blackberries have just gone past ripe and the woods are rich with the smell of dying leaves. All are sure signs that Ramsbottom Festival must be just around the corner, and here it comes right on schedule, the weekend of September 19-21 at Ramsbottom Cricket Club. It's always a friendly festival and a very good time, and luckily for me it's within stumbling distance of my house.
The big news this year is that they've added another stage, so we can all get more music in. What's on the lineup then? Topping the bill on Friday it's The Levellers, veterans of many a festival. Bet they've got some stories.
Saturday's headliner is epic indie outfit British Sea Power, one of those bands whose name perfectly fits their music, and always conjures up images of Sellafield under stormy skies. Hopefully the heavens will open and give us some driving rain during their set for added effect (I'm only kidding. Oh god, watch it rain now and everyone blame me.)
Sunday's traditionally the big day for folk, so it's a bit of a surprise that closing out the festival action is 1980s/90s R&B superstars Soul II Soul.
Lower down on Friday's billing you'll find Jimi Goodwin, frontman of Manc indie outfit Doves. His first solo album is out on Heavenly:
Also on Friday, Colne husband-and-wife band Bird to Beast do retro-inflected folky poppy stuff.
Scottish folk pop band Admiral Fallow are back again, on Saturday:
Sunday things get seriously folky with Irish singer Cara Dillon:
Also on Sunday: ultralocal (think they live in Ramsbottom?) band A Harp and a Monkey:
But of course that's just the music. With kids' day tickets from just £6, there's plenty in the way of arty amusement for small members of your party, with performers including Artful Playground, Pif-Paf theatre company and a folklore-inspired shadowplay installation from events wizards Walk The Plank. This is a festival that always takes its beer very seriously, and this year
it's going to be provided by Silver Street Brewing Company and Bury's
Own Outstanding Beers, with the usual array of good street food. And if we're really lucky, we'll see that guy in the stripey jumper with the stripey-painted face dancing barefoot through the puddles. I love that guy. See you there.
Day tickets from £24, weekend tickets £66. They're laying on buses from Manchester and Chorlton, or take the East Lancs Railway steam train. Full info and tickets on the Ramsbottom Festival website.