By Paul Moran - 15th September 2005 11:25am
I moved to Audlem for a bit of peace and quiet!! After 30 plus years living in Manchester I needed to recharge my batteries, put my feet up and enjoy the country life.....fat chance!!
Three things stuck me within days of moving here — strangers spoke to you — the licensing laws seemed to have bypassed the village — the music scene was better than the one I had left behind in the city!
Within months I had the pleasure of watching some of the best bands on the pub circuit as I moved from the Lord Combermere on a Friday to the Shroppie Fly on a Saturday. Bands such as the legendary Grout Band, Mad Dog, Big Blue House, Blue Café, Mojo, George Davies Trio, and a host of others who regularly made the weekend trip to our pubs. I was treated to the talents of local musicians such as Alg Halliwell, Bryn Jones, Lenny Grout, Tony Weatherall, Jimmy Kirkpatrick, Pete Price (almost local!!), and the much missed Pete Hardy. The whole weekend scene in Audlem was like a weekly mini festival with packed pubs and excellent music.
And it did not stop there...in those days the Shroppie Fly had a thriving Country & Western scene on Friday nights and if you were still standing there was always the long standing Folk & Roots jam in the Lord Combermere every Monday with regular contributors including the multi talented and knowledgeable Mr John Hardy.
It was this musical influence and the obvious musical heritage of the village that was the drive behind starting the Audlem Festival, which started in 2000. Although the Festival is about the whole community with free events and workshops for young people and drama and art exhibitions for us all, it is also very much about bringing both major national and international music acts to the village.
Names such as Climax Blues Band (twice), Geno Washington, Ruby Turner, Connie Lush, Anna Ryder, Snake Davis, Steve Gibbons, Mojo Buford, and the sensational Dr. Feelgood (also twice) have now all graced the stage at the village Public Hall, supported by excellent sets by Afro Blue, Sarah Miller and Mr Will, Big Blue House, Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Pete Price to name just a few of the support acts to have warmed festival crowds up.
The festival has also been the driving force behind bringing new pub bands into the village and supporting the development of local young bands such as Defence, who have now support both Connie Lush and Climax Blues Band.
The festival has also developed exciting new venues such as the now famous Blues Alley and The Outdoor/Youth Stage.
So if its excellent music you want Audlem pubs are the weekend venues to visit as a new generation of local pub bands take over the world, bands such as KV5, Rocking Horse and Heavy Weather.
As a festival we now offer the village four events each year
If you would like to contact Paul Moran about this article, send a message to the webteam and we will gladly pass it on.
Sunday 31st May
Saturday 30th May
Scout & Guide Hall