SOS appeal to save music festival

AN SOS is being sent out to save a free music festival from the scrap heap after the founder and organiser announced he was stepping down.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 10:36 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:09 am
Heckmondwike Crown of Lights Festival

Donal O’Driscoll launched Heckyfest in 2007 in Heckmondwike and has been at the forefront each year since, but says the festival is becoming ‘more exhausting to organise and deliver’.

Thousands of people flocked to last summer’s festival at Green Park, which was headlined by Mirfield-based band, Ska House.

Because of council budget cuts, it had to be financed through crowd funding.

And while it clearly remains popular, Mr O’Driscoll is hopeful someone will step forward to take responsibility, although no-one has yet and it is now potentially just four months away.

He added: “If there’s anyone out there with the time and the energy to do the next one I’m more than happy to pass on the details of all the excellent technical crew I have as well as the brilliant service providers needed to make the festival successful and safe for everyone.

“Green Park, and Heckmondwike in general, is a fantastic place to hold these events.

“I’ve felt incredibly proud of my home town, how well it has looked over the festival weekends and how welcoming the Heckmondwike people have been to everyone attending the events; many coming from far and wide.”

Mr O’Driscoll launched the festival in 2007 because of what he called a ‘lack of quality live music’. And he says last year’s event reached a pinnacle not seen before.

He said: “After the last two-day festival last July I really felt I could not do any better.

“The outstanding performances from every one of the 28-band line-up over two days and two stages was simply incredible to witness.

“The last festival cost just over £12,000. The long-running belief of our local councillors and the long-standing financial assistance from Kirklees Council made Heckyfest a reality in the past.

“It was a difficult decision, but I’m nearly 58 and it probably needs somebody younger.

“People have been really appreciative of the festival as well since I told them I won’t be involved anymore.”

Anyone interested in helping with future festivals should call Pete Earnshaw on 07885 584215.