Sunshine and smiles at park for annual festival

Bianca Gerald on stage at Beeston Festival. Picture courtesy of Bruce Davies of the Basement Arts Project
Bianca Gerald on stage at Beeston Festival. Picture courtesy of Bruce Davies of the Basement Arts Project
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Music, food and colourful entertainment put south Leeds on the map when the 20th annual Beeston Festival took place.

Cross Flatts park was a hive of activity last Saturday when the annual event drew thousands with a wider array of stalls and performers than ever before.

Jeremy Morton, head of the Beeston Festival committee, said: “Beeston is a very diverse community, in all sorts of ways and we wanted to give the locals a place to show off what they can do.

“We really like people to come along and get involved in everything that’s going on, maybe do something out of the ordinary. A mural was painted and much more got done besides so there was plenty of chance to get involved in something new.”

The festival’s bazaar offered a wide variety of local wares and cuisine.

Christine Thornton, Beeston Festival committee stall organiser, said: “We had all sorts, food stalls, bric-a-brac, tombolas and jam stalls. Lots of people were working off their own back, doing things for charity and such like.”

The focus of the festival wasn’t just on Beeston though, bands and speakers came from across Leeds including the Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor David Congreve and Leeds songstress Bianca Gerald.

The Grand Depart of the Tour de France wasn’t too far from the agenda either.

Mr Morton said: “There was a cycling theme this year because obviously Leeds has the Tour de France and that is a once in a lifetime opportunity for everyone here, even in South Leeds. We want to get more people riding bikes in the area to help them keep fit and get outdoors.

“We want to give charities a platform at the festival too, there are opportunities in the festival’s bazaar area for them to raise awareness and support for the good work they do.”

“Most importantly, the people helping out on the day were all volunteers so thanks to them, they really made the festival.”

The people who enjoyed the festival definitely agree that it was all worth while.

Bruce Davies, a local artist who attended the event, said: “We had a lovely time. There was some really good stuff going on and the music was superb.”

The Inner South Area Committee gave funds of £5,000 towards the event this year.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie (Lab, Beeston & Holbeck) said: It’s fantastic that we have been able to once again provide funding for the Beeston Festival, which is the highlight of the summer.”

He added: “The organisers, all of whom volunteers, do an amazing job and our thanks and appreciation go to them for their efforts.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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