MOSSLEY’S dazzling Light Festival left the town bursting with civic pride for a second successive year.
Thousands turned out to participate and watch as the illuminated parade united bottom and top Mossley with its free show of colour and carnival.
But organisers, Global Grooves, based at Vale Mill, Micklehurst, warn without substantial financial input then future festivals will be scaled down or the bright lights extinguished for good.
Leon Patel is the locally-born driving force behind a festival that has made Mossley the envy of the rest of Tameside.
“There is now a huge challenge to work out how to make sure that the festival continues into and beyond 2018,” Leon told the Correspondent.
“The Vale, Global Grooves and Bangdrum CIC have raised over £90,000 for both festivals. In the current climate we are unlikely to be able to sustain this.
“Indeed, due to a reduction in available funds we reduced the budget considerably to deliver this year’s programme.
“If the festival is to continue then we will need to look at other models to fund it.
“To keep the festival up to the standard of this year and to include the 12 months of community workshops, artists development and production (and produce new work) I estimate we will need to raise £30,000 on top of the £7,000 contributed by Mossley Town Council.
“So, it all depends if the community want this to happen enough.
“It will mean we will need to rely on contributions from schools, community groups, businesses and individuals for this to continue.
“Plus an even greater number of volunteers to help manage and produce the festival.”
Pictures thanks to Alan Bishop and Martyn Nolan
Having produced a debut to remember in 2016, Leon is determined the festival will survive after an event last month that was even bigger, better and brighter than 12 months earlier.
Based on the legend of giants, Alphin and Alderman, and their pursuit of water nymph, Rimmon, the festival parade delighted young and old, braving the rain and cold to view the spectacle on their doorstep.
Inside, the George Lawton Hall, hundreds more browsed a plethora of craft stalls while the Market Ground was also used for its intended purpose.
There were more stalls, side shows, refreshment areas and a stage where local singers, dancers and musicians entertained the crowds before and after the parade.
And it was all topped off with a Christmas Lights switch on by Father Christmas and Councillor Chris Lyness, the Mayor of Mossley.
“Despite the terrible weather Mossley came out in force to celebrate together,” agreed Leon.
“There was an even greater feeling of community spirit this year that made the 12 months of fundraising, giant making, community workshops, production, marketing and community engagement all the more rewarding.
“We saw a real commitment from our community, local groups, schools and partners to make this event happen, and for just year two of the project this is very encouraging.
“I felt that the work produced by our local artists, work produced by our community and the addition of some more incredible arts installations and street theatre at the market ground made the event even more special than last year.”
Mossley Town Councillor, Lesley Bill, added: “As event manager I would like to thank everyone involved in the event.
“Planning started in February and several hundred volunteers’ hours were spent in the lead up to the festival.
“On the day, it was impossible to count how many volunteers’ hours were involved.
“Some people where on the Market Ground from 10am until 9pm in the freezing, snow, sleet, hailstone and rain.
“For all who took part in The Vale workshops and parade (Leon, you smashed it again), Mossley Town Council, Town Team stewards, Air and Sea Cadets, community groups, all the stage entertainment, and everyone else who ‘just got involved’ a huge thank you.
“What a great community spirit we have in Mossley.”