DESPITE chilly temperatures and rainy weather, crowds flocked to Ramsbottom for the town’s three-day annual music festival this weekend.

Music-lovers and families sampled a varied selection of bands, food and specially-brewed festival ale at the event at Ramsbottom Cricket Club.

A last-minute cancellation by Friday’s headline act The Futureheads saw Manchester veterans I Am Kloot take to the main stage for the second year running.

Legendary Sheffield rocker Richard Hawley was Saturday’s top billing, and on Sunday night outspoken Sinead O’Connor charmed soggy crowds regardless of sudden downpours. 

An estimated 6,500 people attended the site, with action beginning on Friday at 5pm and at noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Organised by The Met theatre in Bury, the musical extravaganza was this year staged in partnership with one of Manchester’s major venues – the Bridgewater Hall.

Father and son Godfrey and Logan Burke ventured  45 minutes from their native St Helens to attend.

Mr Burke, aged 47, said: “It was a spur of the moment thing, we heard about it on the radio and decided to come down for the day.

“There is a really good atmosphere and it seems really family friendly – I think we will be coming back again.”

As well as three stages featuring a mix of international and locally-known acts there were stalls, craft and music activities for parents and children, a silent disco tent featuring local DJs, and impromptu circus-style performances.

Stalls including The Met’s Automatic Cafe, The Eagle and Child on Whalley Road and Ramsbottom and Whitefield oriental restaurant Buddha Lounge tended to revellers’ appetites.

Also popular was Ramsbottom Festival Ale, developed by Bury-based brewers Outstanding Beers.

Whitefield couple Mike and Carmen Sinkinson, of Marston Close, headed to the festival on Saturday to watch Richard Hawley perform.

Mr Sinkinson, aged 65, said: “It is the first time we have been and it looks very well organised.

“We have seen a lot of the greats like the Small Faces, Pink Floyd and Van Morrison, and it is good to see the younger generations of bands.”

Inspector Bryn Williams for GMP Bury North confirmed happily the event had passed without any police incident for the third year running.

He said: “This year we did not have officers on site as the last two years had confirmed there was no need for it, but there was a visible police presence within Ramsbottom itself.

“We have now had three years policing the Ramsbottom Festival and there have been no concerns at all.”

The event was the most recent in Ramsbottom’s cultural calendar – following the Chocolate Festival, Wild West Weekend, Pie Festival and most recently the World Black Pudding Throwing Championships.

Alex Williams, who lives in Ramsbottom, was a volunteer at the festival but managed to take a break to see Northumberland folk group The Unthanks.

He said: “There was no contest for my favourite act – the classy and unique The Unthanks.

“Their cover of Starless was on a par with the King Crimson original version.”

Danny Collison, in his forties, travelled from near Bacup to attend the festival and particularly enjoyed Kansas blues ensemble Moreland and Arbuckle.

He said: “I think the folky vibe of Sunday worked best, despite the weather! 

“Sinead O’Connor was superb, but Moreland and Arbuckle blew us away.”

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