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Preview: Hale Barns Carnival

Whilst last years Hale Barns Carnival had to be reduced to a “mini” event, a full-scale carnival is going ahead this year – albeit with a 50% capacity and Covid safety measures so that guests can enjoy the event safely.

Not to worry, though, for organisers promise that 2021 will be the best event to date!

The annual carnival raises tens of thousands of pounds for charity each year, making its return after last year’s cancellation extra special.

There has been a huge demand for tickets. This has resulted in the carnival being extended across three evenings, for the first time in the events history, with an incredible line-ip of headline acts.

Covid Cancellations

The original line-up was set to feature Motown icons Martha and the Vandellas, whose hits include Dancing in the Street and Heatwave. Sadly, travel restrictions, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, have prevented the iconic band from flying over to the UK.

It’s not just Hale Barns Carnival that has lost a top act, though. This is one of many casualties for music events – Manchester International Festival, which is also taking place this month, has sadly lost Patti Smith, “the punk rock laureate” most famous for Because the Night (the Cascada version is a cover, dear millennials!).

I’ve made it my mission to see as many female music legends as possible. I saw (and reviewed) Cher in 2019 and have Blondie (fronted by Debbie Harry) later this year and Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight next June. So, I was disappointed by these cancellations, but Hale Barns Carnival have already announced Reeves as their 2021 headliner – and MIF hope to have Smith over for a special concert in the near-future!

The Line-up

All is not lost for 2021, though – Hale Barns Carnival has worked quickly and tirelessly to bless us with a line-up that is equally as majestic and nostalgic.

The carnival opens on Friday 16th July with a very special Proms with Russell Watson. This concert is raising money for the Seashell Trust – a Cheshire charity which helps young people with complex needs and communication challenges.

Saturday 17th will be headlined by seventies disco legends Boney M, featuring Maizie Williams. Williams is the original – not just a but the, for she joined the band before the rest and oversaw new additions – member of Boney M. She will be joined by a trio of fantastic singers who will take you on a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Expect to hear most of their hits – perhaps all of them but Mary’s Boy Child, for that would be bad luck, and we’ve had enough of that these past 16 months!

Their (non-Christmas) hit songs include Brown Girl in the Ring, Daddy Cool, Hooray! Hooray! It’s a Holiday, Ma Baker, Sunny, Rivers of Babylon – and, of course, Rasputin, of which they’ll be singing their sensational, chart-topping 2021 TikTok version.

I’ll be attending the carnival on this night. I’ll be taking along my mother – who was actually alive in the ancient 70s and so old enough to remember Boney M.

Jokes aside, I’m a huge Boney M fan – and a lover of 70s disco music in general, for why else would I pay crazy money to see Diana Ross? – so I look very forwarding to see Maizie take to the stage.

Speaking of ticket prices: the tickets to Hale Barns Carnival are very affordable – and even better, profits go to charity – but more on that later.

The final night of the carnival, Sunday 18th, is an eighties extravaganza, headlined by Katrina and the Waves and Five Star featuring Denise Pearson. Pearson, the band’s incredible lead singer, is usually joined by four singers who’ll help transport you to the good old days (well, musically, perhaps not politically).

Support on “80s Sunday” comes from Doctor and the Medics, while Brother Beyond featuring Nathan Moore will also perform.

Gates open at 5pm for the live concerts on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the music starting at 6pm.

Now, back to the ticket prices: 100% of the ticket revenue from the evening concerts will be donated towards community projects and charities. One ongoing project supported by the event is to help fund the building of a new community hall in Hale Barns, which will provide a platform to showcase local talent and run adult-learning and youth projects.

So, for only £28, you can have a magical, nostalgic night in Chesh-ah (dahling) – and help fund the building of a new community hall.

The Daytime Programme

The live concerts are, once again, complemented by a free, two-day family event on the Saturday and Sunday (17th and 18th July).

The daytime programme will feature attractions including local performances and live music, a craft activity tent, traditional fun fair rides, a makers’ market, food village and bars.

This year, the popular Supercars paddock boasts vehicles from the big and small screen, including cars which had a starring role in James Bond, The Saint and Only Fools and Horses.

Daytime entry is free from noon until 4.45pm. Last entry is at 4pm.

Carnival in the Time of Covid

Whilst Covid cases are on the rise, don’t fret: the carnival weekend will be staged with safety measures in place, including more space and hand sanitizer stations, to ensure a relaxed and safe event for all the family.

Y’all ready for a hot vax summer? I’m “vaxxed”, so here’s hoping it’s hot – but Maizie, Katrina and Denise are sure to set the stage on fire, so it probably won’t even matter if it rains!

Organiser Max Eden from Hale Barns Events said: “So many events have been affected by the pandemic and by ongoing restrictions, so I’m really proud that we’ve been able to not only stage Hale Barns Carnival this year but bring together our best-ever line-up.

“We’ve worked really hard to make sure everyone can enjoy both the evening concerts and the daytime carnival with the knowledge that Covid-safe measures are in place.

“Demand for tickets has been brilliant and shows there’s a real appetite out there for a return to live events and entertainment. I can promise anyone who attends this year’s Hale Barns Carnival you will have a fantastic time.”

Tickets for all concerts are on sale now!

There are also special VIP pods for up to 10 people available to hire, giving access to a premium bar, full at-table waitress service and VIP toilets.

Listing Information

Friday 16th JulyProms with Russell Watson

Saturday 17th JulyBoney M featuring Maizie Williams

Sunday 18th JulyKatrina and the Waves and 5 Star, with support from Doctor and the Medics and a performance by Brother Beyond featuring Nathan Moore

Location: St Ambrose Fields, Hale Road, Hale Barns, WA15 0HE

Free daytime activity on Saturday and Sunday (17 July and 18 July) from 12 noon until 5pm.

Evening concerts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) – gates open 5pm /show starts 6pm.

Ticket Prices

Weekend Pass to cover all three concerts: £75 for adults/£35 for under 16s. Under 4s free

Solo concert tickets: £28 for adults/£15 for under 16s. Under 4s free

VIP pods for up to 10 people: £200 per concert

* Price includes a premium bar, full at-table waitress service and VIP toilets.

Hale Barns Carnival runs from Friday 16th until Sunday 18th July. Tickets are on sale now.

Tags: boney m, carnival, cheshire, festival, Hale, Hale Barns, Hale Barns Carnival, Katrina and the Waves, pandemic, proms, Social Distancing, Social Distancing events, the proms

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. To write for theatre, DM me or email [email protected]
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