Matlock Bath Pirate Mutiny festival returns for a weekend to shiver ye timbers
Salty sea dogs from all over the UK will man the rigging and chart a course for Matlock Bath at the end of this month as the country’s only inland pirate festival returns for two days of free family fun.
The Matlock Bath Pirate Mutiny returns for its seventh year on the weekend of July 31, featuring displays, stalls, a funfair, face painting, music at the Fishpond, and mermaids around the boat station.
Wayne Truman, who is now sharing responsibility for organising the festival with local business owner Frank Hall, hopes it will all be plain sailing after a tough year for the events industry which has also kept the cosplaying community at home.
He said: “It feels a bit like starting from scratch again, but it’s onwards and upwards. We just can’t wait to be be back to normal, doing what we love doing.
“It’s one of only two pirate festivals going ahead this year, and people are looking forwards to getting out and having fun.”
He added: “We’ve had to keep things simple and cost effective, it might not be as big and glorious as people remember but it will be a good start. Some people might still be feeling cautious about going out and mixing, but we’ve planned everything safely.
“We didn’t want to spend loads of money and then have to cancel it because of any restrictions, so it’s a step towards some form of normality which will hopefully come next year.”
Despite scaling down the festival’s ambitions temporarily, 2021 will see bring new attractions including a full size ship’s mast with rigging, and Wayne’s customised pirate truck – and there will always be be enthusiastic pirates ready to bring a smile to any passing landlubbers.
Last year’s event was a much smaller affair due to Covid but around 100 pirates still turned out at short notice in the brief summer window out of lockdown, but prior to the pandemic the event had been developing an international reputation with visitors showing up from the USA and across Europe.
Travel restrictions mean a repeat is unlikely this time, but Wayne still expects plenty of friends from the pirate scene to gather in the village.
He said: “I’ve spoken to some of the local hotels and B&Bs and it seems they’re pretty much booked up with pirates.”
While the festival does serve as a get-together for costumed role players, they love to share the streets with local residents and tourists.
Wayne said: “I really hope the whole community gets involved. So many people think of it as my festival, but it’s everybody’s. If you want to take part and add something to it, you can get in touch with us and just do it.
“The more the merrier. Put on your best costume if you have one, then come and enjoy yourself.”
He added: “It’s great to think we are helping to bring business and good times back to the area after a difficult year. I know how hard it’s been from running my own company.
“Matlock Bath means the world to me. It gave me a new lease of life and spurred me on to do something different. So many people have helped me along the way and I’ll never forget that.”
For all the latest festival updates, go to facebook.com/matlockbathpiratemutiny.