Barnaby’s a blast

The sixth Barnaby Festival blasted off following a launch on Friday June 17 with speeches by broadcast journalist Nick Robinson and Professor Teresa Anderson MBE, Director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre.

More than 150 dignitaries, artists, volunteers, sponsors and supporters gathered in Macclesfield’s United Reformed Church at Park Green.

Prestbury born Nick Robinson said that he used to tell people he was from Macclesfield as it gave him more street cred. Reminiscing about his time growing up he said: “The only culture was The Majestic cinema. It gives me great joy to see what is being achieved here.”

Reflecting on what Barnaby has done for the town, Robinson continued “My father used to say that Macclesfield was a great place to live because there were so many places to visit like Tegg’s Nose and Wildboarclough, with easy access to Manchester for entertainment. It’s a triumph for Barnaby that they are giving people a reason to stay and to come to Macclesfield for arts and culture.”  He thanked the organisers and volunteers for what they have achieved.

This year the partnership with Jodrell Bank – celebrating its 70th year – has been embraced with the festival theme of “space” and the town welcomed Professors Brian Cox and Tim O’Brien in conversation discussing our current knowledge of the universe.

Teresa Anderson MBE, Director of Jodrell Bank said: “We are always looking out across the universe. It is sometimes good to look closer to home and we have really enjoyed interacting with artist Hondartza Fraga, whose commission you can see at Barnaby Festival.”

From Dark Matter to White Noise is one of eight art commissions which continue until Sunday June 26 and are free to visit.

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England visited the festival on Wednesday 22 June, viewing some of the visual arts commissions the organisation has funded, plus some of the homegrown, distinctly Macclesfield exhibitions including the Crimplene Heritage Museum and the pavement poetry project Hills Up Streets.

He also had a sneak preview of the giant five pointed star created by five communities at Macclesfield Community ArtSpace for the finale of ‘La Lune’ on Saturday 25 June. Henley praised the Barnaby team’s passion and ambition for quality art and culture: “It’s really putting Macclesfield on the map,” he said.

Karl Wallace, Director of Barnaby Festival says: “What a truly astronomical start to Barnaby Festival. The people of Macclesfield should be very proud to have such a great event in their town – and one that wouldn’t be possible without the community creating it and supporting it.

“The second weekend sees the finale of La Lune at Christ Church on Saturday night: ‘The Moon Rises’ is probably the biggest free spectacle Macc has ever seen. Plus, there’s family fun at the town’s first comic convention Macc-POW!, science experiments at the Spacepod Challenge and lots more besides. And all of this is free! The best of Barnaby Festival 2016 may be still to come.”

Find complete listings at

Image Left to Right: David Gooda (Barnaby trustee), Darren Henley (CEO Arts Council England), Lynne Jones (Chair of Trustees, Barnaby), Karl Wallace (Festival Director), Aileen McEvoy (Barnaby Trustee), Ian Tabbron (Arts Council England), Liz Cookson (Visual Arts Coord, Barnaby Festival), Dan Williamson (Festival Coord, Barnaby Festival). ⓒ Fiona Bailey

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply