Dronfield: All Festival-ed Out

Dronfield Music Festival

Once upon a time, in a Dronfield long ago, the pace of small-town life was a fair bit slower. Life was simple. Your social life was even simpler. You went to work, came back, made some phone calls (remember them?), watched a bit of telly on the four or five channels available, or watched a VHS video of something you’d taped. Socially, eager to catch up on a bit of gossip, or have a general chat, you might even go to the local pub. The local entertainment was scarce, to say the least. Maybe a pub ‘turn’ on a Sat night, game of darts or cards, and well, thats about it really.

A ‘festival’ was something that happened at Easter and had something to do with school, ‘harvest’, and involved tins of food and baskets of fruit and stuff. Real entertainment festivals were things that happened to other, much bigger, better towns… well, bigger anyway.

In short, you knew what to do and how to spend your leisure time; you knew where to go. You knew what to expect of a day or evening out in our town.  My word, how times have changed.

In the apparent ‘festival-a-week’ bonanza that is now Dronfield, have a regular day or evening out and you’ll be in danger of joining into whatever the latest festival-themed entertainment event is taking place on the premises, whether you want to or not.

It all seemed to start some years ago with an innocuous ‘Dronfield Music Festival’ down on the footy pitch at The Coach. A wedding anniversary party for a happy couple. Fair enough, and well done. They did it again the following year. Fair enough again… especially as it was for charity this time. The ‘Dronfield Charity Music Festival‘ was born. Well done again.

They’ve done them now for the past 10 years. Fabulous, well done again and again and…you get the drift. But over the years, others have jumped on the band-wagon (to coin a phrase) and a range of festival hybrids have been born, not least, the dreaded ‘Beer Festivals’. I say dreaded, because if you’ve ever woken up with a real-ale induced hell-of-a-hangover, then you’ll probably dread the next time this festival comes around.  Except festivals were, historically, annual events. It seems Dronfield now also re-writes history, as whenever there’s a space in the calendar, a festival of some sort immediately gets bunged in.

So now, in no particular order, we townsfolk of sleepy Dronfield therefore have to cope with:

  • Party in The Park: Think V-Fest for over 60s.
  • The Dronfield Charity Music Festival: Two stages, still setting the standard.
  • The Paul Dungworth Charity Music Festival: Worthy cause, and a good day out.
  • The 3 Valleys Beer Festival: Umpteen pubs, bus rides, questionable beers and random music
  • 3 Valleys II: The ‘Ridge’ Beer Festival: For Coal Aston and Apperknowle pubs who didn’t get into the above.
  • The Talbot ‘Live’: A festival of seemingly everything, including bouncy castles and face-painting.
  • The 3 Tuns ‘Beer & Sausage’ Festival: Scraping the bottom of the barrel, literally.

Dronny’s music lovers will also do Tramlines of course, and beer drinkers will do the ‘Rail Ale’ Beer Festival at Barrow Hill.

For those in the know, Birkfest in Middle Hanley is arguably the best of them all, if the sun’s out.

Dronfeldians, I’m sorry to have to say this, but I’m now all ‘festival-ed’ out. Where’s it all going to end? How many festivals can we endure?

Will the Party in the Park become Dronfield’s ‘D- Fest’ ?

Will The Royal Oak and the Village Hall drop the tombolas, cake stalls, tug-of-war and Gala related events, turn wholly to music and morph into Coal Astonbury ?

I want a new type of festival. A relaxing, spend very-little money event, non-alcohol based, maybe in central Sindelfingen Park, where we go, sit around and just contemplate a nice quiet Dronfield life. Have offshoot events in Cliff Park and in the one behind Coal Aston Village Hall….so long as the bloody Gala’s aren’t on and Dave Berry doesn’t make an appearance at either.

Festive all? Festive bloody ‘ell!

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