Last year’s festival was one of the best since the event was revived nearly 20 years ago, though the perfect weather might have had something to do with that! This year’s event promises to be just as good, with the added bonus of a ‘Festival Fringe’ – an evening of short plays on the Thursday before the Bank Holiday.

For one night only, at Irlam Catholic Club, Irlam Festival Fringe presents six 15-minute plays, written by exciting new writers from around the UK, Ireland and the USA, and performed by professional actors from stage and screen. Jane McNulty, a local scriptwriter/playwright/director, has assembled a company of thirty-plus theatre professionals to bring some fantastic new theatre to Irlam and Cadishead, firstly to entertain but also to stimulate interest in writing and performance in the area. There will be drama, comedy, from gritty social commentary to surreal silliness. Thursday 21st August 7:30pm. Contact or telephone her on 775 6558 for more details.

The music stage will once again be the main focus of the Festival Day, with a wide variety of bands, some locally-based, and others from a bit further afield. The ‘Festival Tea-Rooms’ will as usual provide a haven where people can enjoy the tea and coffee and wonderful home made cakes provided by the ladies of the Inner Wheel, whilst listening to a quieter style of music. This year will feature the Irlam Male Voice Choir and The Robinson-Downey Academy of Irish Dancing, to entertain the audience gorging on the fantastic tea and cakes. (There will be a 3rd act but this is still to be confirmed).
The Real Ale bar makes a welcome return, as does the Farmers Market, but the nucleus of the festival remains all the community stalls, where local groups can tell people about what they do and/or raise funds, including the much-loved Local History display.

There won’t be a performance area for Street theatre this year, but there will be some top quality acts walking around the festival giving impromptu performances amazing and amusing passers-by. These include: Dominic Anthony a 17 year old street magician from Boothstown, who recently scooped the under-18s title in the Street Magicians competition. Hodman Dodmanott and Sally Forth an extraordinary, beautiful and funny walkabout puppet act that gets mobbed wherever it goes in the world and it does travel all over the world! Balloonatic is a unique walkabout act a fantastic performer, fabulously dressed, hilariously interactive and creating balloon art at a level you’ve never dreamed of, people will be wowed by impossible hats, fabulous outfits to wear, toys to play with and fabulously intricate sculptures of things too many to mention!

On the main stage local guitar legend Jim Laird introduces his latest protégé – his 16 year-old keyboard-playing grandson, Callum. Thingumabob and the Thingumajigs “Salford’s finest moustachioed ukulele vaudeville band” – not that there’s a lot of competition for the title! They’re Eccles-based, but play at festivals all over the country and are frequent visitors to London. Taxi Stu
Perhaps best known to many of our audience as an excellent compère or a broadcaster, Stu is a musician at heart; an excellent singer and guitarist, with a range of material from contemporary folk to ribald comedy. Wonderland Trip are a trio of young guys from Irlam, Salford and St. Helens, playing their own brand of energetic and musically diverse Pop/Punk. Check out their new video ‘Bring Back the Sunshine’ on Facebook. The Soulphonics roaring up the East Lancs from Merseyside, these guys are one of the top party bands in the North West – playing loads and loads of soul hits with a great singer backed up by guitar, saxes, and a really hot rhythm section. Gypsy are a female-fronted band from Warrington that is guaranteed to get any venue rocking and any crowd on their feet dancing to the great selection of rock/pop songs that this electrifying outfit has to offer.

Doug Perkins & the Spectaculars ‘ROCKABILLY AIN’T DEAD’! Taking inspiration from the pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll, this is an authentic, four piece Rock ‘n’ Roll/Rockabilly band. Recreating the unique sound of the 1950′s they emulate the greats from Presley to Perkins and Cochran to Cash.

There is lots of free stuff for kids in the Rural and Crafts section and fascinating things for adults too!

Get up close to Safari Phil’s lizards, snakes and enormous insects and spiders – if you think you’re brave enough. Make your own Harry Potter broom stick with the sorcerer’s apprentice! Weave your own Willow fish with Paula, carve your own Gypsy flowers, and loads more arts activities.
Who needs the Tate Modern? A terrific interactive art installation presented by Lancashire Wildlife Trust will bring you 10,000 years of the great Chat Moss

Meet the beautiful Alpacas, take a ferret out for a walk on a lead, (£1.00), and see the fascinating exhibits by the RSPB and the Salford Bee Collective. Vintage and classic vehicles, wonderful handmade toy castles and much, much more. The Youth Zone will feature a climbing wall, skate, scooter and BMX stuff, D.J’ing and more all organised by Salford CC Youth Service.

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