Magic of the Hacienda in Williamson Park

Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker
Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker

The Hacienda Classical night at Williamson Park last Sunday was the best thing to happen to Lancaster since The Stone Roses played The Sugarhouse 27 years ago.

A 40-piece orchestra played along to acid house classics from Manchester’s most famous nightclub on a balmy night in front of the Ashton Memorial, and even that was lit up bright yellow had lasers firing out of it. No wonder thousands of us partied like it’s 1989.

Okay, so the bar was a shambles. Most had to queue for at least an hour to get a drink and it was only down to the good nature of the crowd that there wasn’t a riot.

But that’s just a first-time teething problem and the only gripe anyone could have had on what was otherwise a magical evening. There must be another one soon, this must not be a one-off for a gig of this size in such a wonderful venue. Maybe have more than one bar next time, eh?

It was weird to see a huge professional stage in a corner of a park where we pushed our babies in their prams and ran the legs off our dogs every day.

As we stood on the hill as the sun went down and around 3,000 people went off their collective faces we had to pinch ourselves as if to say, “Is this real?”

Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker

Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker

Then Peter Hook from Joy Division and New Order turned up on stage, followed soon after by Rowetta from the Happy Mondays to belt out You’ve Got The Love. Honestly, it felt like the place had been sprinkled with fairy dust.

Oh there was a lot of dad (and mum) dancing from people old enough to know better but still young enough to know to never ever stop. It went on all day and evening but felt like it was over in a flash.

Normally when we go to a gig of this size it involves a long car journey, often an overnight hotel stay. But here it was, a national event in Lancaster and it took us five minutes to walk home. We felt like the centre of the whole world.

The next day we took our puppy for a walk to Williamson Park and aside from a few bits of rubbish and the neatly piled up fences it was like it had never happened.

Live orchestra on stage at Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park

Live orchestra on stage at Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park

Please make it happen again. Soon.

New Order's Peter Hook on stage at Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker

New Order's Peter Hook on stage at Hacienda Classical in Williamson Park. Picture by Craige Barker