Whaley Water Weekend’s ambitious musical programme drew huge crowds to the historic canal basin over the weekend. Audiences enjoyed one of the most diverse line-ups of musical talent that has ever been assembled in the High Peak as W3 organisers pushed the boat out.
Friday night headliners The Audiosphere Project attracted a younger crowd to their drum and “basin” spectacular featuring colourful visuals and dancing on the W3 stage. The Mechanics Institute hosted international folk supremo Linda Simpson (ex-Magna Carta) and Saturday afternoon saw the welcome return of Manc legend George Borowski and his band The Fabulous Wonderfuls who entertained with a fantastic run through of his memorable songs. Local lads False Cross unleashed a powerful set of heavy rock and blues before headliners Roger’s Floyd drew the biggest crowd of the weekend as 500 people crammed into the canal basin to witness their faithful and powerful renditions of Pink Floyd classics. Grown men wept as hits such as Arnold Layne, Another Brick in the Wall and Shine on You Crazy Diamond drifted across the Whaley night sky. Complete with a giant inflatable pink pig and model plane that flew past during In The Flesh? their awesome set closed with a spectacular encore featuring Is There Anybody Out There and Comfortably Numb.
Elsewhere, the Water Weekend provided all the family fun that visitors have come to expect. Free boat rides proved a huge attraction and family fun included Punch and Judy, a climbing wall, petting zoo and a traditional fairground. Stalls sold everything from couture handbags to retro toys. There were cup-cakes, artisan pies and of course, whaley burgers for the hungry and this year also saw a focus on the heritage of the canal basin with the historic Transhipment Warehouse consulting visitors on possible future uses, Jack Hardman’s steam engine and for the first time ever a craft market organised by the boat traders lining the canal route from Whaley to Bugsworth.
Summing up what was an enormous success, W3 Chair Barry Rudd said, “Once again the people of the High Peak have shown that they will turn out to enjoy a wonderful free family event regardless of the weather. Well done to everyone involved especially our army of Whaley volunteers and a massive thank you to all the bands, musicians and artists who made 2014 a really special year for music!”