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Rochdale Feel Good Festival - Pictures And Words

Shauna Botrel dances in the street at the annual ‘Rockdale’ Feel Good Festival

Written by . Published on September 3rd 2012.


Rochdale Feel Good Festival - Pictures And Words

CELEBRITY chefs and live music from Martha and the Vandellas, The Beat and Jesca Hoop, were amongst the offerings of the fifth consecutive Rochdale Feel Good Festival this weekend (31 August – 1 September).

The grey town was transformed as Martha Reeves belted out hits including “Nowhere to Run” leaving the centres car park unrecognisable.

If you had one million guesses as to the location of a festival with Motown legend Martha Reeves topping the bill, Rochdale would be the unlikeliest of answers. The grey town was transformed as Martha Reeves belted out hits including 'Nowhere to Run' leaving the centre's car park unrecognisable. The town centre mimicked a festival for one weekend only; outdoor bars were embedded amongst the already established drinking holes and a variety of food joints decorated the esplanade.

Martha Reeves at Rochdale Feel Good FestivalMartha Reeves at Rochdale Feel Good Festival

A concoction of celebrity chefs featuring Jean-Christophe Novelli, Brian Turner and Rochdale’s own Andrew Nutter cooked culinary delights in front of festival-goers. Independent food stalls offered dishes from around the world, including American and Southern Street food inspired, El Kantina, whose delicacy was a taste of Mexico squeezed into a bread bowl.

El Kantina serving American and southern street foodEl Kantina serving American and southern street food

The name of the festival truly came to life when old and young alike joined together to fill every inch of the main arena, in time for the headline act. Martha and the Vandellas managed to get the crowd, quite literally, dancing in the street at the Motown shindig. Amongst the doo-wop hits, which 71 year old Martha and the band effortlessly performed, were 'Heatwave', 'Jimmy Mack' and 'Quicksand'.

Martha thanked an exhaustive list of musicians, including David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Van Halen for making her rhythm and blues song 'Dancing in the Street' one of the most covered songs of all time.

After being informed that she was in a little town by the name of Rochdale, Martha somewhat appropriately, somewhat uninventively renamed the town “Rockdale”, to an uproar of cheers from the Rochdalian crowd.

The sun shone down on the stage early into the afternoon, which had taken its home at the Town Hall Square, as acts warmed up the steadily growing audience. California born, Manchester dwelling, Jesca Hoop, seduced the crowd with tracks from her new album, The House That Jack Built. Her calming melodies were the perfect accompaniment for the relaxed afternoon atmosphere.

Jesca HoopJesca Hoop



The Beat brought a combination of ska, soul and reggae to Rochdale, playing hits such as 'Mirror in the Bathroom' and 'Can’t Get Used to Losing You' to an elated crowd. The set saw lively front men Ranking Roger and his son, Ranking Junior persistently moving and shaking, carrying out energetic dance moves and truly ruling the space of the stage.

The BeatThe Beat

Morecambe quartet, The Heartbreaks, disappointedly pulled out of the festival due to illness, however they were swiftly replaced by Manchester based band, The Tapestry.

Revellers also took to the jam-packed Flying Horse Hotel, which showcased bands across the weekend. Dancing, sweating and beer-spilling were mandatory in this little pub.

Follow Shauna on Twitter @ShaunaBotrel

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