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HIGHFIELD FEST 2016
Sunday 26th June, FROM 11am until 5pm
Hundreds of people enjoyed the 6th annual Highfield Fest on Sunday 26th June and the field filled up quickly from 11am with families taking advantage of the fabulous weather and free attractions. Prudhoe resident Derek Steel posted “What a great day and a great turn out, so nice to have the weather and to see everyone enjoying themselves.”
NBK Leisure did the town proud again with a wonderful array of inflatable fun; children and parents alike enjoyed battling it out on the demolition zone, paid for by Thompson’s of Prudhoe. There was also a giant slide, bouncy castle, obstacle course and crazy golf, not forgetting the bungee challenge that tested strength and determination and caught many by surprise judging by the photographs. Fitness fanatic and Prudhoe resident Angela Scott was keen to challenge herself on the bungee ropes and said of the event “It was a great day, the kids really enjoyed it; well done on great organisation.”
Painted Faces by Julie worked non-stop and as always her fabulous artwork could be seen on the children racing about, whilst parents gave a huge sigh of relief when they reached the front of the queue. Possibly wishing to bring their own element of Glastonbury to Highfield Fest, to compliment the bands, the trend of the day was neon polka dots and stripes. Given that polka dots and stripes are not too complicated, teenagers waiting patiently were convinced that Sarah Eden and Mandy Potts could rise to the challenge, and believe me they had to be convinced as were not sure at first – there are some very exacting teenagers in Prudhoe.
Prudhoe Youth Football coaches gave up their Sunday to ensure budding footballers could test their skill and strength in football challenges, and did a lot of chasing after footballs as youngsters attempted to score that fastest goal.
It was the 1st Prudhoe Guides first year at Highfield Fest, and as well as having a thoroughly pleasant day, they also managed to sign up more members. You can always count on Girl Guides to come up with ‘crafty’ fun and they did just that, despite the wind, and even managed a side-show stall too. Guide Leader Gill Grevett said “It was a fabulous day with a lovely atmosphere. So many people commented to us that it was great to come along to a free event. It was 1st Prudhoe Guides first time with a stall: I don't think it will be the last.” The Guides had such a good day they are considering how they can be part of the Kite Festival on 13th and 14th August.
It was also a first for Prudhoe Kumon Centre who attended to promote their maths and English study programmes that cater for children of all ages, based at the Fuse Media Centre. Rajul Shah (Kumon Instructor) was delighted to have been given the opportunity of a stall at Highfield Fest, Rajul said “It is a lovely site, families seemed to have enjoyed themselves and the event seemed to be very well organised and well managed. This was my first time at this event and would certainly like to consider it for forthcoming years.”
Most people are aware that Highfield Fest began in 2010 as a BMX event but turned into a much larger and more inclusive ‘Family Fun Day’. Last year it was obvious what was missing… WHEELS! Prudhoe resident Jane Langston contacted the event via its Facebook Page and set down the gauntlet to put this right. Highfield Fest 2016 welcomed the Override Team (Indoor Skate Park at South Shields) with stunt scooters, BMX displays, tricks and tips; this was very well received and the skate park was swarming with activity all day. Carol Quinn and Ian Lowery from Prudhoe East Youth Centre gave out wristbands and stickers that the council received free from Madd Gear Action Sports, a well known brand in the skate, scooter and BMX fraternity, and engaged with almost 200 young people over the course of the day. Simon Downie who used to go to Prudhoe East ran a SK8 Competition and donated three skate decks, DVD’s, wheels and grip tape from his company Reiver Sports. Youth Worker Carol Quinn said "It was good to see so many people enjoying the day. A wonderful Park and a Festival we feel proud to be part of. Highfield Fest is a great day out for all the family and we especially want to thank Simon Downie from Reiver Sports and Prudhoe Town Council Young People’s Forum for his support with the SK8 competition."
Override Scooter Competition
1st – Ben Ridley (age 13)
2nd – George Logan (age 8)
3rd – Josh Newton (age 7)
Override BMX Competition
1st – Kyle Armstrong (age 15)
2nd – Callum Hutchinson (age 17)
3rd – Liam Fenwick (age 16)
Reiver Sports SK8 Competition
Tier 1 Winner – Ben Ridley (age 13)
Tier 2 Winner – John Pyburn (age 18)
Thanks to Tony Monnelly and Lubbers Logistics Group, four local bands shared the stage that was a very large, very shiny, flat bed truck. ‘Cherry Leather’, namely Dayna, Joe, Lewis and Lily opened the show, followed by ‘Vulpes Vulpes and the Copper Dragon’. Having a very unusual band name was certainly a talking point and if you Google ‘Vulpes Vulpes’ it means red fox. Joe (also of Lyrical Whisky, who performed last year) and Adam provided an acoustic duo before ‘Painted Skies’ were welcomed to the stage. The very hard working ‘Painted Skies’ also performed in 2015 but under a different band name; it’s all very ‘rock and roll’ for Cameron, Liam, Marcus and Nathan. ‘Jade’ brought the event to a close, and just in time as the dark clouds loomed in the sky line. As well as being part of the band ‘Jade’, John Robson (aka Mister Disco Man) was helped by Keith Park to ensure all the bands technical set-up went without a hitch; this part of the event would certainly not be possible without John and Keith. ‘Jade and members Frank, Geoff and Jill are happy to support John in his local town and although she was very poorly on Sunday, singer Jill did not let us down.
Where there is music there must be dance, and this year Highfield Fest welcomed Annesha’s School of Dance with a series of upbeat, street style dances as well as a very touching solo contemporary dance. Annesha’s girls are a very tight bunch and it was wonderful to see them in their team jackets enjoying all the fun of the fair, before and after their dance performance.
There are many people that make Highfield Fest possible, all mentioned above. As well as Town Councillors volunteering their time, we were also fortunate to have volunteers from Prudhoe Youth Charity Shop; Ian Lowery, Joe Ridley and Martin Kennedy, who supported the event from set-up to close. Trustee George McCreedy said “Prudhoe Youth Charity shop aims to make money to spend for the benefit of young people in the town and this is a great event to support as it celebrates youth culture, sport and families, it is what we are all about.”
St. John Ambulance covered the event from a health and safety point of view and sadly there were a couple of minor incidents. The mother of a little girl who fell off her bike took the opportunity to thank the St. John Ambulance team who cleaned her daughter up before a trip to hospital, “they did a great job” she said. The council is pleased to have the reassurance of First Response First Aid on-site and ensure this is the case at all events.
It you came and enjoyed the event and took some photographs please post them onto the Highfield Fest Facebook page. Photographs taken by Moira Wooldridge (Community Photographer) will be uploaded to the website and the Facebook page very soon.
And a final word from our Chairman, Councillor Mrs Jennifer McGee “Prudhoe Town Council is pleased to fund and organise the ‘Fest’. Along with other members of the Council on Car Parking duty throughout the day, it was great to see families enjoying all the fun of the Fest. There was something for all; from the very young to teenagers and the young at heart. 2016 has seen more people than ever attend; the sun shone on Prudhoe and it was a great day. Thanks to all who helped, we could not have done it without you, and to all those who came to enjoy the fun, we hope to see you all at the Kite Festival on 13th and 14th August and later in the year for Prudhoe’s Christmas lights switch on. Well done Highfield Fest, feeling very proud of you.”