Performers rev up for Stainsby Festival

Stainsby Festival was born before Glastonbury, survived the Foot and Mouth epidemic and downpours which turned the sloping greenfield site into a mud slide.

While other outdoor events have fallen by the wayside after being crippled by rising costs or lack of support, Stainsby’s merry band of volunteers have kept the festival flag flying in north Derbyshire for nearly half a century.

Robin Williamson

Robin Williamson

This weekend Brunts Farm, near Heath, is preparing to welcome dozens of performers and hundreds of fans from all over the country to marvel at musicians in marquees and party under the stars in the sky.

The festival has built up such a reputation that singer-songwriter Enda Kenny from Australia has slotted in a last-minute visit during his British tour.

He said: “This will be my third Stainsby Festival - I stepped in for Vin Garbutt when his kid was sick back in ‘97 and just loved the vibe around the place so much that I returned a couple of years later.

“We have nothing quite as unique as Stainsby with its fabulous real ale tent and the coolest bunch of volunteers who bring the paddock to life every July.

“The Aussie folk festival season runs roughly from September to May with a few winter exceptions - it revs up when it warms up after Christmas and most of the touring acts come in March and April.”

Big attractions at Stainsby this weekend include Robin Williamson, the Steve Agnew Band, Seize the Day, The Lost Padres and local heroes Loscoe State Opera and Tomorrow’s Ancestor, the latter re-forming especially for the Sunday night concert.

New for this year is The Third Thing, a theatre, film, performance and spoken word space, where activities will include film screenings, including old footage of Bolsover, live music and the starting point for the Earthwork philosophy walks.

During the course of the weekend, revellers will be encouraged to back the Dream of Fields campaign. This is an appeal to raise over 50k to buy the site and cover legal costs in an attempt to safeguard the festival’s future.

Festival chairman Tony Trafford said: “The appeal got off to a flying start with some surprisingly large donations and there’s been quite a buzz about the prospect of owning the fields. Ownership would give us the chance of securing a long term future and substantially reducing both the costs and the risks of staging the event as well as the opportunity to expand on what we do.

“It’s really energised volunteers that there’s the prospect of future proofing the festival.

“I hope that our audience and supporters will really get behind the idea that after 46 festivals we can see a way of making the festival stronger and better with a real eye to making not just 50 but maybe even 100.”

For more information on the festival line-up and ticket prices, contact www.stainsbyfestival.org.uk or 01246 851337.