Once again the Cleckheaton Folk Festival has brought music, merriment and the masses into Cleckheaton.
Traditionally the beginning of July heralds a fine spell of weather and organisers have used it as the time for planning a weekend of entertainment around the town.
This year was no exception and for the 30th time the organisers brought a host of singers, musicians, dancers and other artistes to the town at organised concerts and similar events and this has attracted visitors from all over the country to spend time (and money) here enjoying themselves.
Over the years thousands of visitors have been drawn to the area for the festival and many of them come back year after year.
However, no matter how good the music, they wouldn’t come if the setting wasn’t right and the locals weren’t friendly.
Kirklees has a lot to offer and its citizens are a welcoming bunch.
Shopkeepers vie with each other to sponsor visiting dance sides.
Cafés, pubs and other eateries open their doors to performers who are happy to perform in front of 10 or 20 contented customers in what the festival calls its Small Venue Initiative.
Some extend their opening times or open up on Sunday which is a bonus for locals as well as visitors.
It’s no coincidence that the farmer’s market coincides with the festival and that there are a host of visiting stalls selling goods not normally available in Cleckheaton.
The festival arranges an annual parade which attracts local groups and organisations as well as visiting artistes and dancers and provides a colourful spectacular for free that even the shopkeepers can share without leaving their shops as the route wends its way round the town.
Invited groups of Morris Dancers perform for free at various venues around the town centre and Savoy Square is the venue for lots of free family fun on festival Saturday and Sunday.
Inhabitants of Kirklees merrily mingle with visitors at all of these events with a microscopically low level of friction and it is this friendliness that attracts people to Cleckheaton and which makes the artistes willing to participate too.
So, on behalf of the festival committee I would like to say thank you Cleckheaton.
Watch out for another feast of fun in 2018.
Jim Saville, board member of Cleckheaton Folk Festival