Festive fun at Newtead’s Headstock Festival

Headstock Festival  2011

Headstock Festival 2011

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THE sun was shining, the setting was beautiful and everyone was in high spirits at this year’s Headstock festival which took place at Newstead and Annesley Country Park at the weekend.

Now in its second year, the event at the former pit site on the edge of picturesque Sherwood Forest, saw thousands of festival-goers from around the country pitch up a tent and enjoy three days of music, workshops, food and attractions.

There was music from Echo and the Bunnymen, who headlined on Saturday, as well as the Lightning Seeds on Sunday.

Other acts included Nick Harper, the Herbaliser Band. African Head Charge, the village’s very own Newstead Brass and many more.

Referencing Newstead’s mining past, the Welfare Stage played host to BBC Introducing, which showcased some of the best up-and-coming talent from around the East Midlands - and there was a host of musical genres including electro-swing, hip-hop, breaks, experimental, indie and much more.

Run by volunteers, the not-for profit event was organised by Newstead Enterprise which aims to breathe new life into the village through social enterprise.

Newstead Enterprise was given a £433,140 grant from the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with the BBC and was at the centre of a TV programme called Village SOS, hosted by Sarah Beeny and broadcast on 4th September.

Organiser Mick Leivers hailed this year’s Headstock as success. Yesterday, he said: “We were really pleased with how it all went for the first ever weekend festival. Everyone really enjoyed it - some people said it was their best festival they had been to this year.

“The most important thing is there were lots of people making an effort and if you have that many people caring about something, it creates a nice mood.”

Ant Thistleton-Smith, who also organised the event and is the architect behind the new visitor centre at Newstead and Annesley Country Park, said: “As an organiser, it felt like a well-run festival and it felt very professional.

“I absolutely loved the BBC Introducing Welfare Stage showcasing young talent - I saw some staggering stuff.

“The Muzika! tent was so packed the whole time, everyone absolutely loved it.”

Meanwhile, Newstead resident Jen Wilson was one of the volunteer organisers and sifted through hundreds of CDs to select some of the acts for the Welfare Stage. She had come down to the festival with her family.

She said: “It’s just seeing people enjoy themselves. A lot of people have come because they watched it on television and they have come to appreciate it.

“A lot of people are phoning their mates to come down. It couldn’t be better.”

Her mum-in-law Sue Wilson had travelled from Gloucestershire to the event.

She said: “We have come to support the event because my family live in Newstead. It’s very good - thank goodness for the weather.”

Ki Hulme, from Sheffield, said: “I have come for the atmosphere and to meet a few mates. We really like it - I’ve got a mate who lives in Newstead so that’s how I know about it.”

Youngster Jodie Saxton (10), from Calverton, had been having fun in the Kidstock area. She said: “I have made a dragonfly bracelet, I’ve also had my face painted and I am going to play with my friends. And I have made a fairy.”

The regeneration of Newstead also includes an eco-friendly ‘earthship’ visitor centre.