New festival brings fun to West End

The Baghdaddies.
The Baghdaddies.

A new festival celebrating the West End of Morecambe takes place this weekend.

The West End Weekend is an arts festival and street market organised and funded by West End Million, the group distributing £1m from the National Lottery to improve the area.

Focused mainly on West Street and Yorkshire Street, it will bring the West End alive with art, crafts and music. And most of the events are free.

The event begins at 6.30pm on Friday, September 9 with the free opening of a photographic exhibition at The HotHouse in Devonshire Road.

Morecambe-born photographer Hannah Farrell returns to her hometown to present photographs produced in two distant places – Morecambe and Pula in Croatia where she was recently artist in residence.

Hannah combined photos that she’d taken of her 17 year-old nephew Jake with other images and objects to create a body of work that sits on the boundaries of photography and sculpture.

The weekend gets into full swing on Saturday, September 10 when there will be musical performances throughout the day.

Yorkshire Street shop windows will display shields and cabinets specially created to include items reflecting their business or history.

These West End Windows will form an art trail and visitors can collect maps to follow along one of Morecambe’s best independent shopping streets.

On nearby West Street, there will be a vibrant street market selling the best locally sourced produce, arts and crafts, many of them created in the Enterprise Hub established there exactly a year ago.

And there will be a chance to produce flags for the West End during a workshop at The Exchange Creative Community in West Street.

Janet Hampson of the West End Million Festival Working Group, said: “The West End Weekend will highlight the quirky and curious businesses thriving in the area and the unique shopping opportunities they provide.”

As part of the festival activities, a Morecambe Mini Multiplex will screen three films in a marquee.

Lost Morecambe features postcard images of the Promenade, music hall stars and the illuminations from the turn of the 20th Century brought to life thanks to a tiny projector and screen. Audiences are limited to four people per screening.

There will be a rare chance to spot yourself or your friends in Morecambe Dances, set along the Prom and featuring local dancers and passers-by breaking out into routines even including synchronised swimmers on land!

When the Dust Settles is an awardwinning short, filmed in Morecambe featuring local actor Lucas Button as Ed who returns home to find friends and relatives have moved on.

The West End Weekend will end on a high note with live music at The Hothouse where The Baghdaddies will add their special brand of worldwide rhythms and melodies to the celebrations from 7.30pm. Tickets for West End residents are just £5 and £12/£10 for visitors.

The West End Weekend is the first major event to be organised by West End Million.

West End Million was formed after the West End of Morecambe was awarded £1m of National Lottery money from the Big Local project in 2012 to invest in improvements for all residents over 10 years. Local people will decide where the money is spent.

TIMETABLE OF PERFORMANCES

FRIDAY

6.30pm - Hannah Farrell exhibition, The Hothouse

SATURDAY

11am - 4.30pm Street market, West Street; workshops in The Exchange, Morecambe Mini Multiplex, Beach Hut with optical illusion on Yorkshire Street; West End Windows, an art trail exploring the shops and businesses in the West End - created by local artist John Kingston and local writer Mollie Baxter

Noon Avital and Abdul (musicians from Asia), Cravens, Yorkshire Street; Beat Cuisine (Ashley Murphy and his mobile beat making act) HR Hairdressers, Alexandra Road; Litfest 1 (poetry), Genius Menswear, Albert Road

12.30pm Gary Bridgens and his story cart, Wit Woo, Yorkshire Street

12.30pm Doolally (all-girl singing group) Wit Woo, Yorkshire Street

1pm Avital and Abdul, Genius Menswear; Litfest 2 poetry, Vintage Vinyl, Albert Road

1.30pm Beat Cuisine, Cravens

2pm Gary Bridgens and Doolally, HR Hairdressers; Litfest 1, Genius Menswear

2.30pm Avital and Abdul, Wit Woo

7.30pm The Baghdaddies (ticketed event) The Hothouse