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ParkgateFest 2018 - A Resounding Success Once Again

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 4th June 2018 14:35

Thousands of people poured onto the fields off Boathouse Lane for this year's ParkgateFest and what they found there was exceptional.

Despite a biblically damp start on the Saturday, organisers and exhibitors had pulled more than a few rabbits out of the hat to ensure the show went on.

 ParkgateFest 2018 - Paul DulacParkgateFest 2018 - Paul Dulac

Whether a music lover, foodie, child (large or small), car enthusiast, steam afficionado, browser of stalls or seeker of the slightly offbeat, there really was something for everyone over the two days of June 2nd and 3rd.

With the sun making an appearance towards the end of Saturday and throughout Sunday, photographers were out in force to capture the sheer joy, exuberance and variety that ParkgateFest had to offer.

ParkgateFest 2018Sound of the Temptations headlined on Sunday.

The main stage, organised and compered by Paula Prytherch from Hip & Harmony CIC, fielded an eclectic mix of local talented performers and tribute acts.  It's not every day or anywhere that you can start your day with a ukulele group (64 N'Ukes) and end it with The Temptations (Sound of...tribute act)!  Other musical highlights on the main stage included Hip & Harmony choir, local acts the Mono LPs, Black Wax, the Creakin'Gates and Stevie O'Connor. Saturday night saw 'Take That', 'Coldplay' and 'Queen' headlining, whilst on the Sunday, David Kidd put on a barnstorming performance as Tom Jones, and The Sound of the Temptations took us on a journey through Motown old and pop new.

ParkgateFest 2018Once again Joey Linden led the Queen tribute act and wowed the audience.  Photo by Jamie Milligan.

ParkgateFest 2018Shine - Take That tribute, proving very popular on Saturday evening.

Symon Seabrook compered on the acoustic stage, once again bringing a variety of local acts along to entertain - particularly appreciated by those occupying the haybales around Elephant Collective's beer tent, coffee van and cocktail bar.

ParkgateFest 2018Twopenny Piece (plus Mia makes three) performing in the Acoustic area.

LIPA 6th form students provided the entertainment on the third stage, in the KidZone.  A tremendous show of great talent, organised by the students themselves, giving us a glimpse of music stars of the future, for sure.

ParkgateFest 2018Young people from LIPA put on two full days of entertainment on their own stage.

The KidZone, co-ordinated by Neston Community Youth Centre, was a major highlight. A huge number of free activities were on offer for children.  The popular Sheep Show made a reappearance; NCYC organised creative activities including making festival headdresses and organising the childrens parades with bubbles; Moo Music entertained the very small attendees; Hip & Harmony's street dance team Overload performed; PAFTA made frequent colourful trips around the fields inviting people to come and hear and see their story shows.

ParkgateFest 2018PAFTA made some colourful appearances around the festival site.  Photo by Paul Dulac.

Chester Zoo made wildlife connections; birds of prey sat on outstretched arms; Komaru introduced children to the world of bushcraft and two very talented woodworkers, Simon Archer and Simon O'Rourke, impressed with their demonstrations on site throughout the weekend. Wallis Amusements brought along their traditional carousel and big wheel.

ParkgateFest 2018The Sheep Show was a big hit once again. Photo by Bernard Rose

From the very large to the very small, cars and other vehicles proved a popular attraction once again.  We saw the talents of Hawkes & Wright body shop (Neston) on a number of vehicles parked up by the main stage; SMC brought their impressive jeeps and campers and gave away a Landrover Experience as a prize; Wirral slot car racing offered great fun in miniature for would-be motor racers and the Morgan Classic Car Club put on a fabulous display.

ParkgateFest 2018Hawkes & Wright had vehicles on display.  

Fitness was also on the agenda, with Craxton Wood Hotel offering trial days in their Leisure Club and the chance to win other prizes; Brio Leisure were giving away free 7 day passes for people to try out the brand new, state of the art facilities at Neston Recreation Centre and Zone Fitness were putting people through their paces on the KidZone field.

ParkgateFest 2018Three amigos at the Elephant cocktail shack.  Photo by Bernard Rose

Once the fitness part was out of the way, it was time to sample the food and drink on offer.  What a fantastic array there was!  The aforementioned Elephant Collective did a brisk trade with their very popular Bank Burgers and Woodfired Pizzas; The Ship Hotel's Gin and Real Ale bar was another busy highlight; Cheeky Chilli had brought along a taste of Thailand; Flame and Hog gave us all things piggy, with chips; Pen Y Lan offered, arguably, the best hotdogs on site; Veggie Fayre delighted with curries and other vegetarian and vegan treats. There was prosecco on tap from A Drop of What You Fancy and cocktails galore from a number of outlets.

ParkgateFest 2018The Ship's beer and gin offers were popular.  Photo by Paul Dulac

Kids particularly enjoyed the Hip & Harmony Tuck Shack and what I am told was a first class fish and chip van on the KidZone field.

ParkgateFest 2018Volunteers manned the Hip & Harmony CIC tuck shack.  Photo by Steve Ebbrell

Amongst the stalls there was magic in the air, courtesy of unicorns of all shapes and sizes at My Gift Place; fairy themed gifts from Wishing Well True Wishes; a Glitter Tent to adorn the faces of both kids and adults with festival glamour, and a variety of other stalls selling jewellery, nicknacks, bags, antiques and more.  You could even switch energy suppliers with Utility Warehouse, or sign up for a wine tasting with Pieroth.  Art was prominent, with prints from Freida McKitrick and Ian Chantler, and the always imaginative Joe Venning, whose work also features on the walls of the Elephant Collective outlets locally.

ParkgateFest 2018Plenty of fun in the sun at ParkgateFest

Thank you!

At the end of the weekend a huge thank you went out to the team of volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the event, manning the gates, organising parking, litter picking, keeping the loos stocked with paper, emptying bins and putting water out for dogs, amongst a myriad of other tasks.  It cannot be overstated how important these people's input was - the event simply would not take place without them.

Thank you to No 1 Mostyn Square and Sainsbury's for supplying lunch and snacks for volunteers over the weekend.

ParkgateFest 2018Louise Irving from Sainsbury's - refreshments supplied for volunteers.

ParkgateFest 2018Just a few of the many volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the weekend.

A round of applause please for the oustanding sound and light team - their professionalism and efficiency was greatly appreciated by both the artists and the audience.

The Neston Life mobile app came into its own over the weekend, offering a guide to the festival.  Remember, it's also a guide to everything else going on locally, so well worth a download.  A large number of photos from the event are on the app in the Gallery section.

Last, but by no means least...a huge thank you to the main organisers - Sue Saunders, Stuart Rigby, Cllr Martin Barker, Paula and Gareth Prytherch, Steve Nelson, Sam Lincoln and Jamie Milligan (Constables), and members of Parkgate Society. You all did an incredible job.

ParkgateFest 2018ParkgateFest organisers. Back row, l-r: Paula Prytherch, Carrie Spacey, Sam Lincoln, Sue Saunders, Jamie Milligan. Front, Stuart Rigby, Steve Nelson and Cllr Martin Barker.

ParkgateFest 2018Martin Barker,  Sam Lincoln, Steve Nelson, Sue Saunders, Stuart Rigby and Paula Prytherch, with Jack & Alfie.

Cllr Barker said after the event: "A massive thank you to everyone who attended and supported such a magnificent weekend, it was great to see the community come together having such a great time!

"Also, a big thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time in helping make this happen."

Sue Saunders added: "Well the rain certainly didn't dampen our spirits on day one. With teamwork and determination we just carried on and the wonderful public came in true ‘fest' style with wellies and ponchos...amazing!

"Thankfully the weather improved and we had a ball. Day two was just awesome - extremely busy but we did it!
Thank you to all involved from traders, sponsors, volunteers and to all those who came to enjoy ParkgateFest 2018, your support is incredible!"

See you in 2020!
Photo Gallery

Here are just some of the many hundreds of photos taken over the course of the weekend. Many more appear on the Neston Life app, the festival's Facebook page and Instagram.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are ©AboutMyArea CH64.

ParkgateFest 2018Hip & Harmony Choir opened proceedings on the Saturday

ParkgateFest 2018Fun for babies with Moo Music

ParkgateFest 2018Due to cutbacks, police are no longer being issued with squad cars.

ParkgateFest 2018'Allo, 'allo, 'allo, what have we here then?  You're never too big to get a ticket.

ParkgateFest 2018Elephant pizzas went down a storm

ParkgateFest 2018NCYC volunteers were busy being creative all weekend.

ParkgateFest 2018Join the Neston RBL Club!

ParkgateFest 2018Steam engines toot-tooted around the site.  Photo by Bernard Rose

ParkgateFest 2018Time for a bit of a breather for one engine owner.  Photo by Steve Ebbrell

ParkgateFest 2018Winners! Alex Costigan (second from the left) won the Landrover Experience with SMC Motors. Alison Humphreys (third from the left) won the Early Bird Ticket prize of a luxury break in Portugal courtesy of Eden Travel.  Pictured with Paula Prytherch and Sue Saunders.

ParkgateFest 2018Plenty going on for youngsters.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018ParkgateFest - definitely dog friendly.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018Someone's having a good time!  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018A shave may be required...Photo by Steve Ebbrell

ParkgateFest 2018All sorts of people dropped in...

ParkgateFest 2018Black Wax brought their groove to the main stage.

ParkgateFest 2018The youngest members of the media team were busy all weekend.

ParkgateFest 2018There were even unicorns there! My Gift Place, Neston.

ParkgateFest 2018There's no answer to that.

ParkgateFest 2018These two talented girls composed and performed a song about ParkgateFest

ParkgateFest 2018Bringing a bit of Thailand to proceedings - Cheeky Chilli.

ParkgateFest 2018Mr and Mrs Main Stage....Paula and Gareth Prytherch were compere and stage manager for the weekend. Photo by Bernard Rose.

ParkgateFest 2018You want quirky? Ok, here it is.  Lots of lovely stalls were at the event.  Photo by Bernard Rose

ParkgateFest 2018They are the champions - this fabulous Queen tribute act went down a storm once again. Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018Young people entertained on the LIPABace stage.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018Mine's a Trapper's Hat.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018Popular local band the Creakin' Gates were on fine form.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018Lots to see and do for young people.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018One of artist Joe Venning's works on display.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018The CH64 N'Ukes entertained on Sunday.

ParkgateFest 2018There were some very talented woodcarvers giving demonstrations all weekend.  Photo by Steve Ebbrell

ParkgateFest 2018Did somebody mention mint sauce?  Photo by Bernard Rose.

ParkgateFest 2018Bank Burger? Don't mind if I do...twice.  

ParkgateFest 2018Hip & Harmony's Street Dance team, Overload.

ParkgateFest 2018The photo frame proved popular....Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018

ParkgateFest 2018


ParkgateFest 2018Even 'Take That' wanted in on it.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018This could be the greatest day of our lives.  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018It actually is somewhat unusual to see 'Tom' in Parkgate!  Photo by Paul Dulac

ParkgateFest 2018What an absolutely AMAZing event!

Remember, more pics are on the Neston Life app (in Gallery), on Facebook and Instagram.




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At 16:29 on 4th June 2018, ACemefcee commented:
What a fantastic weekend once more. Massive well done to all the organisers and volunteers.
CO Jones
At 19:07 on 4th June 2018, CO Jones commented:
It was a great couple of days. even the monsoon on Saturday morning was soon forgotten about. Well done all who set it up and promoted it.

Great to see money being spent with local businesses.
At 10:10 on 6th June 2018, Grumpy.Old.Git commented:
Brilliant weekend, arrived just after the rain on Saturday, really enjoyed it. The sheep man is worth the entrance money alone.

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