Has own marquee for hire for one week from 30th June 2012Tel: 01923 851669View website Medieval castle hotel where a marquee for 250 can be erected in beautiful grounds. Civil ceremonies for 56 or church weddings at nearby St Michaels.
It’s at the heart of what we do and we keep that in mind when we’re organising it.”The festival begins with a parade, which starts up by St Stephen’s Church, before snaking its way through the back streets of Kirkstall to wind its way down onto the main Kirkstall Road, where traffic has to stop for around ten minutes to allow the procession to make its way into the grounds of the Scheduled Ancient Monument that is Kirkstall Abbey.Once inside, they pass everything from fairground rides and stalls to beer tents and sound stages, mingling with the thousands of people who will, by that time, already be thronging through the grounds.It’s ordinary people, with families and businesses giving up their time.”That sense of community, says John, lies at the very heart of the festival’s success and it’s something which has been in place since its inception 37 years ago.“Like any community organisation, we have a constitution.That states that this festival is a family fun day, it’s for all age groups, so there’s something for everyone.When I went to have a look, there must have been 600 people watching, I was gobsmacked.”For John, all this started some 20 years ago when he and his late friend Ken Stratford attended a meeting of KVCA, as he recalls: “They basically met to say that unless anyone there stood up to take on the mantle, they would have to fold.
Ken, who was my best friend and a great man, nudged me and said, ‘We’ve got to do it’.
But John, who has been chair for the last 20 years or so, is incredible self-effacing.
“It’s all down to the committee and volunteers,” he opines. A lot of people think this is a council-run event and while they are incredibly helpful and advise us on a lot of things, this is ultimately led by the community.
The battle of the bands sound stage typifies the festival’s popularity.
John says: “When we launched it, we were inundated with requests and when we moved it to the bowling green three years ago, we put 60 chairs out.
Tel: 020 8662 5000View website Small privately-owned country hotel with own furnished marquee seating up to 200 during the summer. Marquee site on large cricket pitch available on (some) weekends and school holidays.