Words by Dave Jones. Photos by Sam Taylor.

I was here back in 2013 (page 33), when it’s fair to say the festival was still finding its feet. Three years on and I am pleased to report that the founding spirit is intact and there seems to be little or no corporate infiltration. You can still wander around its resplendent tree-lined amphitheatre finding hidden gems. The consensus among the crowds was that this was the best Ramsbottom Festival yet, glowing proudly in the September sunshine.

Then there was the music. It’s testament to this festival that it can attract well-established artists, but balance that with fine local talent. Adventures of Salvador kicked off with their bonkers rollercoaster ride through punk, surf and swagger as they debuted their new album, Chocolate and Drugs, to a great reception. Burgundy Blood gave us blistering hip hop from Manchester as only they can, smashing the Smaller Rooms stage. The Bright Black shone and uplifted with a stunning dance party.

As darkness fell on the ghostly Holcombe Hill above us, we must remember this is a place of adventure and if you go down into the woods now, who knows what you will find? A stomp through the undergrowth leads us to a secret treasure on the Stage by the River, Maia. They are a boisterous mix of Robyn Hitchcock and Mercury Rev with killer three-part harmonies and a mad electric banjo. We all feel like the Secret Seven and don’t want to tell our parents about this discovery because they will only mess it up. It was that special.

This is truly a festival for everyone, young, young at heart and younger. By the way, can we have more seating next time, because even the Secret Seven need to sit down for a bit?


Ramsbottom Festival 2016 took place from 16-18 September at Ramsbottom Cricket Club.


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