IN the wake of wall-to-wall coverage of the UK’s biggest music and arts festival at Glastonbury, here comes something of a smaller version right here in the Ribble Valley.
The fourth Cloudspotting Music and Arts festival takes place in the secluded location of Stephen Park in Gisburn Forest, near Slaidburn, providing capacity for 500 or so revelers over a full weekend of live music and arts activities from August 1st-3rd.
Forty music acts – including headliners Cate Le Bon, I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell, the Leisure Society and Melt Yourself Down – will entertain festival-goers from 4pm on the Friday right through until the final concert on Sunday night.
In addition to some much talked about guest performers from all over the UK, an eye-catching undercard of Lancashire based musicians aims to showcase the best of the county’s talent. Ribble Valley acts such as the John Wickham Trio, Good Foxy and The Remedy will perform over the weekend.
Supported by Arts Council England and Ribble Valley Borough Council, the family friendly festival has been attracting nationwide publicity, especially via BBC Radio 6Music.
“Every year we attract people from further afield, so it’s great that we have people coming from all over the UK to spend a weekend in the Ribble Valley,” says co-organiser Matt Evans.
“We are appreciative of the support we have received from the Arts Council and the borough council to help make it happen. The Arts Council acknowledges there is a need to promote the arts in more rural areas and you don’t get too many locations more isolated than Gisburn Forest.
“Almost half of the acts on our music line-up played at Glastonbury Festival last weekend, so its great to have this calibre of musician perform at Cloudspotting.
“We’re really excited at seeing local acts mixed with names of a much wider profile.”
Two outdoor theatre performances, from Clitheroe based Ribcaged Productions, precedes the music at lunch times on Saturday and Sunday.
A new permanent toilet block and car park has recenntly been built at the Forestry Commission owned site.
“The infrastructure at Stephen Park has improved to host an event of this nature and the Forestry Commission is keen to support any initiative which helps attract more visitors.
“The new toilet block beats the Glastonbury ‘long-drop’ hands down,” added Matt.
Aside from the music, Cloudspotting has a heavy leaning towards the arts and a focus on encourage a family audience.
“Making the festival accessible for local people and families is a big part of it,” added Helen Ficorilli, co-ordinator of the family activity programme. The forest is such a sensory place and this year our family area,
“Cloud-Cuckoo-Land will feature sessions and drop in workshops designed for the whole family to enjoy together.”
“We are delighted to be working with some innovative and exciting individuals exploring art and self expression. “
Arts trails, nature walks and the construction of a huge ‘tetrahedron’ will offer people of all ages the opportunity to interact and get involved.
“We have an area and activities specific for babies and early years. People will be able to relax and chill, or be as active as they wish.”
Outdoor pursuits including Bushcraft, climbing and archery also help make it a festival with a difference.
l Cloudspotting Music and Arts festival takes place from Friday, August 1st, to Sunday, August 3rd.
Tickets available from www.wegottickets.co.uk or The Grand box office, York Street, Clitheroe (01200 421599 (www.thegrand venue.co.uk). Full weekend camping tickets are £80, with under 16s just £3. A limited number of day tickets are also available (Friday £25, Saturday £30, Sunday £30).
For more information, visit the website www.cloudspotting.org.uk