Ren Harvieu is from Salford and New Mills is in Derbyshire, but with a direct & dedicated train leaving from Manchester Piccadilly, New Mills Festival, only 30 minutes away, and well worth sharing with Manchester’s Finest readers! Plus anyone who was lucky enough to catch Ren’s AMAZING performance at this year’s Manchester Pride will be wanting to catch her again for sure!
New Mills festival has been on since the 13th September. Since then numerous venues across the town have held workshops, events, gigs and concerts for anyone to enjoy. Events conclude this weekend with a spectacular lantern procession on Saturday 28th and a magnificent Ren Harvieu concert on Sunday 29th in the fantastic setting of Torr Vale Mill, Grade II listed building sitting on the banks of the River Goyt. Sunday’s fundraiser provides the much needed pennies to allow the festival to continue running. With so much on offer I got together with festival organiser Lyn Bannister to find out more about the festival and in particular, this weekend’s fantastic finale.
Hi Lyn, Can you tell Manchester’s Finest readers about New Mills Festival and what it is you do there?
New Mills Festival is a two-week annual extravaganza of talks, walks, concerts, gigs, exhibitions, sporting activities and a spectacular lantern procession finale through the Torrs Gorge that runs right through the centre of town. This year a street party to round the evening off will follow the procession.
Over the two-week period 1000’s of people attend the wide range of arts, sport and community events that are all organized by residents of the town and brought together under the banner of New Mills Festival by the volunteer committee. The festival committee is also responsible for running the lantern making workshops and the lantern procession finale.
The committee is very inclusive and we all try to help each other with the various jobs but as I am a bit of a social media nerd I take on quite a bit of the marketing and collating of the programme. I also help out with the lantern making workshops, which have just finished ready for next weekends procession.
A two-week annual extravaganza of talks, walks, concerts, gigs, exhibitions, sporting activities and a spectacular lantern procession finale
How long has the festival been running?
The community festival started in the 1990’s. The lantern making workshops and procession finale were added in 2000 to celebrate the opening of the Millennium Walkway, a spectacular stainless steel walkway that joins two sections of the Sett Valley Trail that runs through the centre of the town down in the Torrs. In 2000 approx 350 people joined in the procession. In 2012 approx 5000 people attended and each year the list of events over the two weeks gets longer and longer with the events themselves becoming more ambitious.
Why did it begin and who started it?
It grew from a plan to bring voluntary and community groups together in the town to raise their community profile. The suggestion came from the head of the local senior school.
The Festival is designed to be a showcase for local talent and community activity combined with offering work with a wider cultural significance and offering performances that would not normally be available to a small market town in a rural area.
This has proved to be hugely successful and we are now expanding our marketing and target audience to encourage people from further afield to visit New Mills and experience a very much community and family friendly festival.
It’s showcase for local talent and community activity combined with offering work with a wider cultural significance and offering performances that would not normally be available to a small market town in a rural area.
What can people expect from the festival this year?
There are always some firm favorites that return year on year, the Funghi Foray with our resident funghi expert Bengt Saxmark, Chalkers Comedy Night at Chalkers Snooker Club, The Festival Pub Quiz at The Royal Oak and themed food evenings at Gioia Mia Cafe, this year it’s middle eastern which will be spectacular I’m sure as despite it’s name the café is run by Ali who is of middle eastern decent.
Alongside these there are a multitude of various talks that are always very popular including a talk by the local history society about New Mills with free cheese and wine! Walks with the rambling society around the town and other sporting events like the Fun Run organized by New Mills Leisure Centre, the Run Challenge, a national organization. There is always a very strong musical content in the festival with music to suit everyone’s taste. This year some of the highlights are – New Mills Brass Band, a Jazz Evening at The Rock Tavern, Bella Hardy at Spring Bank Arts and Gordon Stewart returns to Providence Church in a programme designed to show the range of sounds on the 1914 J J Binns organ.
On lantern procession night (Saturday 28th) we also have a special folk train leaving Manchester Piccadilly, platform 1 at 17.45pm with The Gally Canters performing who will continue playing at The Rock Tavern until the procession moves off at 7.30pm…….and then on the last day of the festival we have the most exciting performance of the two weeks… Ren Harvieu at Torr Vale Mill!!
On lantern procession night (Saturday 28th) we also have a special folk train leaving Manchester Piccadilly, platform 1 at 17.45pm with The Gally Canters performing who will continue playing at The Rock Tavern until the procession moves off at 7.30pm
And can you tell us about Ren Harvieu?
The mill claims the longest period of continuous use as a cotton mill in England and was built for water-powered cotton spinning and weaving in the 1790s.
On the evening of 29th September, the mill’s latest incarnation will be as the spectacular venue for an exclusive performance by Salford-born Ren Harvieu.
We are thrilled and excited that the very talented Ren Harvieu is coming to perform at Torr Vale Mill to celebrate the New Mills Festival with us, it is a stunning, iconic building in a beautiful and unique setting, and this promises to be an unforgettable show.
Ren has taken the music industry by storm, being hailed as one of the UK’s leading emerging artists. Her debut album ‘Through the Night’ was released in May 2012, reaching number five in the album charts and nominated for the BBC’s prestigious “Sound of 2012” award.
Fresh from her headline performance at Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend and Salforfd Music Festival Ren will be performing with her band in the beautiful atmospheric Torr Vale Mill for the close of New Mills Festival following the lantern parade on Saturday 28th September.
Fresh from her headline performance at Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend and Salforfd Music Festival Ren will be performing with her band in the beautiful atmospheric Torr Vale Mill
Ren has dueted with Take That’s, Mark Owen on “S.A.D” a track on his newly released solo album “The Art of Doing Nothing” and was invited by Sir Tom Jones to sing one of his songs. She has also been a featured guest on “Later with Jools Holland”.
Ren has given show-stopping performances with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Radio 2 James Bond Special.
New Mills Festival performance will be one of the last for a while as she returns back home to write her second album at her Salford studio.
How do people buy tickets and how do they get there?
Sunday 29th September doors open 7.30pm show starts 8.00pm.
Trains from Manchester to New Mills Newtown (10mins walk to venue) or New Mills Central (5mins walk) journey time 30minutes. The show will finish in time for the last train back to Manchester.
New Mills is just off the A6, routes to the venue are clearly marked with the orange festival signs. Parking and walking routes down into the Torrs are on our website www.newmillsfestival.com
Tickets £10 can be bought online www.newmillsfestival.com or at High Street Books, New Mills or telephone 01663 740993.
Interview & images of Ren Harvieu by Anne Louise Kershaw
And finally, how can people get involved with the festival?
We are always on the lookout for new ideas and people to get involved with everything from pouring tea to constructing the huge lanterns that decorate the procession route or indeed to join our voluntary committee and help with the planning and fundraising. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org