All the fun of the festival

This Beeston Festival was their 25th anniversary and it was bigger and better than ever. I have lived in Beeston for over 15 years and have attended most of them but this year really topped them all.

The event is incredibly well organised and planned. The food stalls were amazing – choices from biriyani to jerk chicken, pizza, hotdogs, vegan brownies you name it! There were free games and activities for children, all sorts of information and charity stalls and fun for every member of the family.

Photos: Jeremy Morton

The music provided by the Foxes Faux (amongst many others) was fabulous and the Big Sing performing Lean on Me was truly inspiring.

For me though, the Punjabi Roots Academy stole the show. The drumming, singing and high-energy dancing really got the crowd going. It was wonderful to see lots of small children trying to imitate their elaborate moves. I wouldn’t have imagined this style of music would have worked particularly well with brass instruments but it was an inspired music mash-up and the audience for their show was huge and very enthusiastic.

Stalls included cupcakes, sweets, Beeston in Bloom with their bargain plant sale, saris and bangles, tombolas and toys. You could have your hand painted with mehndi or your face and hair adorned with environmentally friendly glitter.

Sam’s Safaris brought their exotic animals and there were also donkey rides and alpacas to pet.

The den-building was popular as was the climbing wall and many brave children were zorbing.

Alan Binnit attended, a bin that burps out bubbles to repay you for depositing your waste – a fabulous idea from Leeds Recycles and Zero Waste Leeds.

The West Yorkshire police came along, cue lots of children wearing heavy looking police outfits. I overheard one young lad saying to his Dad “You’ve got some handcuffs at home, haven’t you Dad?” Perhaps the less said about that the better…

Local MP Hilary Benn attended, pedalling a bike to create a smoothie with Aspire SBS (great people supporting adults with learning disabilities). Then he was off for an NHS check up at their stall.

Leeds Mobile Libraries came along with their big, beautiful bright yellow bus and there was spoken word poetry from Toria Garbutt and Matt Abbott.

Beeston Local History Society had a stall and had copies of their book Notes From Old Beeston on sale – apparently including a gruesome history of one of our old pubs.

The fairground went, well like a fair!

Huge thanks to the organisers and volunteers who do such a sterling job year after year. I imagine it takes them a year to recover.

To me Beeston Festival celebrates the multicultural nature of our town (and wider city) and is a shining example of what we can achieve when communities work hard together. I’m already looking forward to next year.


This post was written by Hazel Millichamp

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