More Barnaby Reflections



 Video: All the visitors to the Big Cardigan over the weekend at the Barnaby Festival, Macclefield.  Daniel T Nichols and Jean Westbrook's Big Cardigan - see more videos, incuding the putting together of the Big Cardigan and its story on Youtube

My neighbour announced yesterday that she was suffering from Barnaby-lag, and she speaks for both of us.  Now I've had a day to two to cool down and think about it, I find I haven't finished singing its praises.  Barnaby was a revival of the traditional holidays in Macclesfield.  Taking place over a weekend (and a gorgeous sunny weekend at that), it was packed full with music, arts, performace and community fun. There was a great buzz.  But it wasn't just fun, there was a general feeling of satisfying a real hunger for something like this.   It energised traders, residents, council and local artists. It encouraged us to look differently at a place we have known for years.  Visitors from out of town told us how lovely Macclesfield was.  It is, but you know, I'd got a bit bored with it and stopped looking.  As an artist, I revelled in being able to see so much great art, from the more traditional to the conceptal, and to find out just how many other artists are out there.  I overheard one young woman at the Art Market on Sunday bemoaning her isolation here in this cultural backwater.  Well, it need be like that no more!  We do need to get off our arses though.  I'm well aware that I have been guilty of saying that Macclesfield is a cultural desert, but it has taken geniuses like the Loop people to really champion the idea of a festival, and a few core volunteers to drive it forward.  Well, they did it and now we need to think about how we all can take this thing forward, whatever our particular taste and tipple is.  I'd love to see more challenging art round and about the town - not necessarily just conceptual stuff, but art that explores ideas; that has an edge.  We see lots of Nice Art round here.  It is lovely, but it's a very unbalanced diet.  I'd like to meet with local artists doing this kind of thing, and for there to be a buzz of healthy debate around these things. Not sure quite yet how I'm going to take this forward, but watch this space!  The traders that I talked to were thrilled with their business over the weekend.  There's been a lot of debate around the development of the town centre, but as one of the Janes from the Loop said - this shows that there is space for a more imaginative response that a department store and another supermarket - and that it can make good business sense too.  We desparately need a much better performance and exhibition venue.  The Cabaret performers on Friday night worked manfully around the limitations of the Assembly Rooms in the town hall (the PA system sounded archaic) and Christchurch felt too cramped - I'm afraid I belong to the 'take those pews out and burn them' camp; pews make a church space so restricted.  So, well done everyone who made it happen, and here's to where it may take us in the future!
Jump to the Loop blog for pics and comments on the Barnaby Festival
See the Barnaby website to get a feel for what went on
Jump to Victoria Scholes' website

Video: Daniel T Nichols and Jean Westbrook's Big Cardigan - all the visitors over the weekend

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