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ONCE UPON A TIME....The Story Behind Bickerstock

You may not know it, but tucked away in the lanes of Bickerstaffe was a recording studio called Dead Frog Studios, run by a nice bloke called Paul Draper.

It was in this studio that Paul first dreamt up the idea for the Bickerstaffe Community Free Music Festival: 'Bickerstock', as it became known.

The first two festivals were held in the field outside the Stanley Gate Pub - convenient since festival goers and bands could pop in for a beer! These days Bickerstock takes place at Bickerstaffe Parish Field, on Hall Lane.

Over the years, more and more locals have come together to support Paul’s vision. The committee has evolved and now includes a cross-section of the community.

In the past, the festival has enjoyed support from international Soca music legend and Trinidadian, Sheldon Blackman, and world renowned classical steel drummer and amazingly versatile musician, Clifton Harrydass. Sheldon managed to fit Bickerstock into his busy schedule in 2014, and both artists are always very welcome in Bickerstaffe!

THE FESTIVAL AIMS TO PROMOTE LIVE MUSIC

Bickerstock gives up-and-coming local musicians the opportunity to perform alongside established musicians, and gives the people of West Lancs the opportunity to hear local talent.

We try and include performers from all genres of music, and past line-ups have included opera singer Sarah Helsby Hughes, jazz quintet ‘The Emma Holcroft Quintet’, local bands 'Red Men Don't Walk', 'Northern Daze', 'The Hatters' and 'Psychic Robot'. Blues from ‘The Badge', Rock 'n' Roll courtesy of ‘George's Big Shed’ and punk from ‘Pink Gun Trio’.

The Open Mic sessions have been hosted by Davy Edge and Tony Schofield and are a firm favourite, giving many local, up-and-coming artists the opportunity to showcase their talents.

TO BRING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER

Residents from Bickerstaffe and beyond, are made welcome, and many locals get involved in helping to organise and run the event.

Community organisations, are encouraged to get involved with the running and organisation of the festival. It’s a great opportunity for people to come together and enjoy music, fresh air and (fingers crossed) some sunshine.

Local businesses can get involved, offering sponsorship in return for an advert in our festival printed programme.

TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY

Over the years Bickerstock has raised thousands of pounds for local good causes and charities, including a donation to the refurbishment of the Bickerstaffe Mission building, Bickerstaffe Pensioners' Day Trip Fund, Bickerstaffe Amateur Football Club, Holy Trinity Church Boiler Fund, St Joseph's Hospice, Skelmersdale Sea Cadets, local Girl Guides, Merseycats ,Rainford Young Farmers, Barnado's, Rainbow House, Bickerstaffe Parish Council Defibrillator project, and a seat for the Parish Field.

In the words of Sheldon Blackman, "It's all good!"