It's about time we reported back on the Barnaby Festival, which took place in Macclesfield on 18-20 June (those heady days when England were still in the World Cup and a 70-68 final tennis set was a logical impossibility).
As explained in previous posts, the Barnaby Festival is a revival of a centuries-old tradition of celebrating the feast of St Barnabas, which used to be a very big deal in Macclesfield. We got involved when the idea was a glint in the eye of a small band of local volunteers. Initially, we created a logo and a set of postcards. Later, there was the offical brochure and various banners around Macclesfield.
Our involvement was only one part of a much greater effort by the whole organising committee to create a weekend of entertainment from scratch, drawing on the time, good will and creativity of local people. It was deeply inspiring seeing the whole thing come together. But no one really knew how it would turn out until the weekend itself.
Happily, it was a huge and heartening success.
Hundreds of people lined the streets for the Barnaby parade, creating the kind of scenes that Macclesfield hasn't seen in decades. (Street parades are great – there should be more of them.)
For us, it was particularly nice to see how the brand and identity became public property, used and reinterpreted in different ways. Local shops were encouraged to decorate their windows in line with the Barnaby theme, so we had the rare privilege of Marks & Spencer recreating one of our postcards:
Good work, M&S.
Elsewhere, there were some nice wooden signs to mark out the various venues on the Visual Arts trail:
And the town was filled with silk flags and handmade bunting in the Barnaby colours:
But the biggest honour of all was for our Barnaby poem to be set to music by local legend Tim Woodhouse. For those who don't know, Tim Woodhouse is Macclesfield's answer to John Shuttleworth, and possibly the most majestically brooding vocal presence to emerge from Macclesfield since Ian Curtis. His previous work includes There is a little room above the sandwich shop and Verity Stokes' Knitting. This is what he did with the Barnaby verse: