What a week!!
Performance poet Tony Walsh read some of his best known work as well as a co-operative themed poem he’d written especially for the festival in the magnificent setting of the Church of St Mary in the Baum to bring the biggest Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival to a close. The hugely popular artist got a standing ovation at the sold-out show on Monday evening.
Over the 7-day festival thousands of people watched top literary names that also included Jenny Eclair, Alan Johnson, Terry Waite CBE, Jessica Rankin and Mandasue Heller.
More than 1,550 tickets were sold – and more than 1,000 people attended un-ticketed events throughout the festival and warm up shows earlier in October (2017).
The festival proved a big hit, across all ages, with 15 sold out performances and big crowds across the week.
Councillor Janet Emsley cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Borough Council who attended many of the events and hosted the afternoon tea with Rosie Goodwin said the festival was a big success:
“We knew it would be hard to better last year but I think we did. We’ve had a real mix of well-known international names, prolific writers and also some less celebrated acts all playing to capacity audiences. The number of positive comments we have received from far and wide is fabulous and I think this event is great for Rochdale. The finale with Tony Walsh was truly inspiring, a real emotional rollercoaster. I want to thank the team responsible for delivering another superb festival and our sponsors The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre and JGM Agency.”
Festival Director Punam Ramchurn hailed it a tremendous week:
“We’ve had a truly diverse programme which helped attract audiences across the spectrum, from young people enjoying our Generation Z workshops to young families on a bat safari in the town centre and then the roar of Tony Walsh’s finale on Monday night! It would be impossible to pick a favourite moment as there were so many … we managed to pack in such a lot in seven days, participatory arts, writing workshops, literary walks, theatre shows, big names and fringe events.”