Award-winning volunteers at Stainsby Festival rise to challenge of heatwave and Covid cancellations

Hot favourite Stainsby Festival returned after a three-year pause with quick-thinking organisers adapting to the heatwave and change of programme when several scheduled artists pulled out because of Covid.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 11:56 am

Commenting on the first festival since the Covid pandemic, chairman Tony Trafford said: “It was just terrific to be back. People kept stopping me throughout the weekend saying they were just so pleased that we were running again and how much they’d missed us over the last two years. It was quite moving.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Elizabeth Fothergill, attended the festival on Saturday afternoon to present volunteers with the the Queens’ Award for Voluntary Service, which is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Volunteers have kept the not-for-profit music festival running since its launch in 1969.

Liz Brown and Alan Wood, long-serving volunteers of the Stainsby Folk Group charity, holding the Royal Citation for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, are pictured with Tony Trafford, chairman of the trustees, Nick Hodgson, Deputy Lieutenant, and Elizabeth Fothergill, the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, pleft to right.

The 2022 festival will surely go down in the record books as the hottest. Tony said: "It was really fantastic that it was dry and sunny but keeping everyone cool was a bit of a struggle. We gave away over a thousand bottles of water on the Sunday to try and keep people hydrated.

"We reshuffled the programme in the Third Thing so that the drumming circle and the kids entertainment could take place in the shade and we also designated it as a general shelter from the heat for everyone on the Sunday.”

Several scheduled entertainers including Tom Holland and Broomdasher were forced to pull out of the festival because of Covid. Tony said: “At the last minute we had Enda Kenny over here from Australia, as a late addition, only to have to take him out again days later because he tested positive. This meant that the programme had to be remodelled on the run by our artist organiser Chris Ellis, who, an accomplished musician himself, had to stand in on one of the main stage slots himself. That’s no mean feat when you’re mentally rejigging the running orders in your head at the same time.

"There were several stand out moments in the festival nevertheless. The Bonfire Radicals did a superb set to close the Saturday night main stage to a rousing reception from festivalgoers. We’ve already been asked when they’re coming back. Meanwhile in the Hat Block, Hattie Hatstar got a standing ovation for her performance, which is pretty amazing in the crowded bar format of the Hat Block.

Festival crowd relaxes in the willow circle (photo: Adele Gillibrand)

"We were more than pleased that the singer’s (and musician’s) competition had a record number of entries and because of the quality the judges made the unprecedented decision of awarding a joint winner’s prize. So that's two performers guaranteed professional gigs next year.”

Artists organiser Chris Ellis is pictured in the foreground (photo: Adele Gillibrand)
Hand's up if you had fun at Stainsby Festival (photo: Adele Gillibrand)
Gilmore and Roberts performing in the main marquee at Stainsby Festival (photo: Adele Gillibrand)