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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA


Reviewed by Steve Cooke, Robin Parker and Hilary Dawes

The Feelgood Returns

By Steve Cooke

For the 13th year, after a two year hiatus, and due to ongoing refurbishment of Rochdale Town Hall and major improvements works around Rochdale Town Hall Square, the main stage moved to Hopwood Hall College, Rochdale Campus, St Mary's Gate.

The weather was very un-Rochdale-like with a blazing sun and cloudless skies. The main event was a sell out and the new venue proved to be very successful even enabling such as Robin Parker to get a free Feelgood view from a balcony!

During the day thousands enjoyed a feast of music and comedy as well as food across the town's wealth of town centre venues

The Feelgood Festival, organised by Rochdale Borough Council, with sponsorship from many local businesses gave a huge lift to the town.

Feelgood from a balcony

By Robin Parker

One of the benefits of living in College Bank and overlooking the College, is that we got a birds’ eye view of the Feelgood Festival, albeit behind the stage.

Doors opened at three and people began to drift in so most of the tables were taken by 3.30. However, there was plenty of standing room and the weather, of course, was perfect.

The first group traditionally was the winner of the Battle of the Bands, this year The Sprats. Not sure what happened but there were a lot of breaks and they only managed four numbers. But they are a very new band, formed in 2021, and the have loads of time to improve.

They were followed by ENTT, who in contrast had no breaks, were a mix of Indie and electronics and really rocked up a storm. Very impressive and, for me, one of the best sets of the day.

In contrast and next up, Firewoodisland’s emotive and dynamic vocal harmonies together with the morphing of organic and digital instruments, created an atmospheric soundscape that was both moving yet striking. An impressive set.

Sign Along With Us came second in Britain’s got Talent and knowing the organisers personally, it was just nice to think of them performing in their own borough at the Feelgood.

Izaz Ibrahim’s set was a haunting mix of guitar and upbeat electronics. Looking up his bio, I discovered he had once been lead guitarist of both Simply Red and the Stone Roses.

The crowd had begun to fill up nicely by this time and were ably entertained by Abbie Ozard and band. She has been nominated as one of the UK's top new artists by the Indie Central Music Awards.

The Northern Soultrain were what it says on the can. A continuous medley of soul numbers old and Northern, much appreciated by the crowd.

The penultimate band was HAiG, a rock band which has played to sell-out shows across the North West and a fitting link into the top of the bill, the Fratellis.

It was clear from the audience reaction that they were everything as expected, doing their second gig at The Feelgood. The day was running late, and their set actually finished just after 10.00 which, from the perspective of residents living in College Bank, was not unreasonable.

In summary, a very successful day in the new venue, well blessed by perfect weather.

Fratellis at Feelgood

By Hilary Dawes

It was wonderful to see the return of the fantastic Rochdale Feel Good Festival for the first time since 2019.

As if by special order, perfect sunny weather prevailed, and after a day of super family events in the town, the main stage was set to receive an amazing line-up, at its new venue.

A huge crowd enjoyed music from some brilliant acts, before giving an ecstatic welcome to the multi-platinum Glaswegian band, the Fratellis, making a welcome return, after playing the festival’s main stage back in 2016.

This year the backing vocals were provided by female trio “The Wild Tonics” and the band’s exuberant set included favourites from their first album “Costello Music” along with numbers from later albums, including a cover of “Yes Sir, I can Boogie”, guaranteed to get everyone dancing! The Fratellis closed the evening with the sing-along we were all waiting for - the ever-crowd-pleasing anthem “Chelsea Dagger”, followed by their cover of “Run-around Sue.”

I also feel that high praise and thanks must be given to the talented BSL interpreter, Antony Redshaw, who signed the songs brilliantly for each act, with great energy and musicality.

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