Successful debut for "buzzing" Ulley Arts Festival

THE inaugural Ulley Arts Festival was hailed a triumph by organisers who described the country park as “buzzing and humming” with activities.

Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan and music composer Luke Carver Goss performed on the Friday evening before the three-day event was formally opened by Cllr Sarah Allen, cabinet member for cleaner, greener communities.

Activities included a miniature garden competition, Ann’s Wildlife Trail, This is My Park poetry box trail, a story treasure trail and James Brunt’s natural art.

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Bobbie Hillman, chairman of the Friends of Ulley Country Park, who organised the event, said: “The idea of this event arose from the opening of the Spillway performance area in 2018. 

“Our aim is to promote the use of the Spillway and encourage community awareness of all the park has to offer. 

“Enthusiasm shown by many local schools and community groups led us to believe that an arts festival would prove to be successful.”

Children’s author Kate O’Brien encouraged youngsters’ enjoyment of books and writing in the reading hub at the visitor centre.

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She said: “Volunteers coming together to provide such a magical weekend in this exquisite setting was something I had to be a part of and had felt so, so lucky to be asked along.”

There were also art exhibitions and craft activities in the centre, while out in the Spillway ten schools put on music and dance performances.

Also on stage were the City of Sheffield Pipe Band, Rotherham African Drummers, the South Yorkshire Police Band and folk performer Ray Hearne.

The finale on Sunday, June 30, was a two-hour vocal workshop from Tara Thompson of TSA Vocals, coaching a repertoire from Mamma Mia.

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