Head For The Hills broadcast live in Bury as borough gears up for Town of Culture 2021 plans

  • Day long festival will be broadcast from sites in Ramsbottom and The Met in Bury town centre
  • Viewers can watch live and pre-recorded performances from Liam Frost, Jesca Hoop, John Bramwell, Stealing Sheep, The Beat and Tony Walsh
  • The Bury Town of Culture programme to take place in 2021 after events were postponed due to the pandemic

A live music festival is shining a spotlight on Bury ahead of the borough relaunching its Town of Culture 2021 programme after it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The day long Head For The Hills Festival is being broadcast on United We Stream on Saturday, 5 December from sites in Ramsbottom and Bury town centre - showcasing the borough’s cultural offerings.

Viewers will be able to watch live and pre-recorded performances from Greater Manchester artists such as I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell, Liam Frost, Jesca Hoop, The Beat and poet Tony Walsh. There will also be performances from Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep, Scotland’s Elephant Sessions, as well as international acts such as The Once from Canada and Giant Rooks from Germany.

In 2019 Bury won the accolade to become the very first Greater Manchester Town of Culture following a competition. A programme of events were planned for 2020, but unfortunately due to the coronavirus pandemic Bury’s cultural attractions had to close to the public. Many of the borough’s cultural organisations joined forces to ensure culture and creativity continued digitally despite Covid-19 restrictions.

The Town of Culture programme is now taking place next year, with Bury retaining the accolade for 2021.

Councillor David Greenhalgh, GMCA lead for culture, said: “It is fantastic news that the Head For The Hills festival can continue in digital form with this day long winter event. I am really pleased we can broadcast such a variety of different artists and performances, working in partnership with United We Stream.

“Arts and culture are enormously important to Greater Manchester and it’s residents. The industry will have a large part to play in attracting people back to our cities and towns following the recovery from Covid-19, which is why it is vital the Bury Town of Culture Programme continues into 2021 and will come as a welcome boost to the town’s excellent venues which have been forced to close over the last year.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council, said: “With Head For the Hills going online this year, music fans from across the country will get the chance to watch a variety of performances in our very own Ramsbottom and Bury.

“It is an honour that Bury will continue to be Greater Manchester’s inaugural Town of Culture in 2021 and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to experience all the culture that we have on offer. Bury is home to a number of popular venues including The Met, Bury Art Gallery as well as the East Lancs Railway – all of which we’re looking forward to promoting next year.”

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Advisor, said: “I'm really pleased that we will be showcasing the best of Head For The Hills on United We Stream Greater Manchester. This is a cracking small festival, one of the best in the North, rich in local talent and creativity, and it’s right here in Ramsbottom.

“The Met in Bury has been United We Stream’s home since we began the project at the end of March so creating a virtual Head For The Hills in conjunction with the team there is a perfect way to celebrate the collaborations and creativity that have endured during this year.

“The restrictions for mass gatherings won’t continue forever and I’m very confident that festivals will be taking place in 2021, but for now this is the next best way to enjoy a day’s music and culture.”

Artistic Director of Head For The Hills and The Met David Agnew said: “We feel hugely excited to be able to bring together some of our audience's most loved acts and discoveries since we started the festival in 2011

“This chance to share a taste of Head For The Hills via the brilliant platform of United We Stream will give thousands of people a flavour of what we hope will return to festival sites across the country next summer.”

Audiences tuning into Head For The Hills will be able to watch special performances pre-recorded at the festival’s picturesque base of Ramsbottom Cricket Ground and live sets from The Met in Bury. The Met has been the broadcast and production hub for Greater Manchester’s United We Stream project, which has so far raised over £500,000 for the city-region’s night time economy.

There will also be light installations and projections on local landmarks in Ramsbottom to bring the festival spirit to the town.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has given support to the city-region’s cultural sector since the start of the pandemic through culture funds totalling £1.75m for venues, £500 grants for individuals and the creation of the United We Stream Platform. GMCA leaders have also published a Cultural Recovery Plan, outlining how the sector will be supported and protected while they remain shut due to social distancing requirements.

Article Published: 04/12/2020 11:54 AM