Jan 302016
 

**Update**
I will upload some photos to the blog soon but in the mean time, you can view and purchase this years images here.

The Marsden Imbolc Fire Festival is back for 2016! One of my visual highlights of the year! The precession starts from the goods yard (next to the railway station) at 7pm on Saturday the 6th of February! Personally, I can’t wait! Expect something a bit different after a year off in 2015 – slightly smaller scale perhaps since the council have made it too difficult to obtain funds for this community event, but I’ve no doubt the organisers will have made up for funds.. Quality not quantity perhaps! Any donations towards running the event would be thankfully received! This will be the sixth Imbolc festival I have been to and done photography of since my first one back in 2009 and I urge anybody that has never been before to make a special trip down to this quirky, spectacular, unique event – I certainly enjoy photographing it – quite a departure from my usual wedding and landscape work! Please contact me for any photography licencing requests. I’m available to photograph the 2016 Imbolc Festival if any media organisation requires coverage.

Some photos from the 2014 Marsden Imbolc Festival:

This is an extract from the article I wrote for the Marsden Moods book that gives a bit of background on the festival:

Imbolc marks the time that the earth starts to wake up after it’s winter sleep. The Celtic tradition is over 2000 years old and was established in Marsden in the mid 1990′s. Initially set up by Kirklees Countryside Volunteers as an event for the local folk, it has rapidly expanded and now relies on many local volunteers. There are a few theories behind the name but my chosen one is that it comes from the Celtic “i mbolg” which means “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy of ewes and the start of their lactation at this time of year, something that is important to Marsden, known for it’s sheep!

This spectacular event starts in the village centre before a lantern procession, accompanied by local Samba bands, to Tunnel End. Here there is a performance by the iplaywithfire fire dancers and Huddersfield University fire jugglers before the Green Man does battle with Jack Frost, representing the start of the new season beating back the cold winter. There is an impressive firework finale then a retreat to the village centre for a warm greeting in one of the pubs and often more fire dances (including one by the fantastic Mr Fox group).

Previous Events

Despite heavy snow falling, around 2000 people turned up to the 2012 Marsden Imbolc Festival so weather is no object! The weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd (quite the opposite!) with vocal support for the Green Man (or in some cases Jack Frost) in the final battle!

Preparation for the event starts in early January with various workshops for making lanterns, costumes and practising skills needed on the night for anybody wishing to take part.

The event starts off at the Old Goods Yard near the railway station – there is usually something going on from a while before the start of the procession with strange creatures, lanterns and even (in the past) Samba bands! Who knows what will be in store this year! The procession leaves the Old Goods Yard at about 7pm to head towards Tunnel End. The procession is headed by mysterious figures carrying balls of fire – quite eerie!

Once at Tunnel End, the crowds are treated to a display by groups of performers including fire swingers (poi), jugglers, fire staffs and others.

The finale of the performance at Tunnel End sees the Green Man do battle with Jack Frost symbolising the start of the change in the season followed by a firework display.

Events continue in the village centre with one of my favourite performances by Mr Fox

More photos and news from previous years can be found here.

Fingers crossed for some good weather – be it dry or snowy – just please don’t let it rain this year! More information can be found here.

Jan 202011
 

This is now an archived article. Please see this page..

Crowds watch the fire spinners

Marsden Imbolc Fire festival – West Yorkshire.

2009 was the first time I attended the event and I was blown away by how spectacular it was – especially as we were lucky enough to have snow on the ground.

The 2011 festival it is going to be held on the 5th of February (as always, the first Saturday in February) with the procession to Tunnel End starting at 7pm by the railway station. (For future events, check out my blog – if you’ve come here after 2011 then you’ll find a newer post that tells you this years details!)

Workshop

Workshops are held at the Standedge visitor centre on Saturdays throughout January with a fire swinging and lantern making workshops.

See the bottom of this article for links to more photos.

This is an extract from the article I wrote for the Marsden Moods book:

Imbolc marks the time that the earth starts to wake up after it’s winter sleep. The Celtic tradition is over 2000 years old and was established in Marsden in the mid 1990’s. Initially set up by Kirklees Countryside Volunteers as an event for the local folk, it has rapidly expanded and now relies on many local volunteers. There are a few theories behind the name but my chosen one is that it comes from the Celtic “i mbolg” which means “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy of ewes and the start of their lactation at this time of year, something that is important to Marsden, known for it’s sheep!

Fire Spinning

This spectacular event starts in the village centre before a lantern procession, accompanied by local Samba bands, to Tunnel End. Here there is a performance by the iplaywithfire fire dancers and Huddersfield University fire jugglers before the Green
Man
does battle with Jack Frost, representing the start of the new season beating back the cold winter. There is an impressive firework finale created by PA BOOM Phenomenal Fireworks then a retreat to the village centre for a warm greeting in one of the pubs and often more fire dances (including one by the fantastic Mr Fox group).

Fireworks

Fireworks

Marsden is situated at the head of the Colne Valley, right next to the Peak District national park and the National trusts Marsden estate so is an ideal place to set off from on a walk to enjoy some stunning landscapes in the surrounding areas. It can be accessed by rail, bus or car. From Huddersfield, drop down to the right hand side of the A62 after about 6 miles. Crossing the pennines from Oldham / Saddleworth, Marsden is the first village you come to after driving over standedge.  Some of the best accommodation can be found at the Tunnel End Inn since it is so close to the main parts of the event. They were also kind enough to allow us to use a room for a recent project (why not pick up a copy of the Marsden Moods book whilst you are there for some photos of last years event)! Accommodation can also be found at The New Inn, Hey Green and in nearby Meltham, Slaithwaite and Huddersfield. If you’re in need of somewhere to eat, I can personally recommend Mozzarella (Italian) and The Riverhead (great pub grub with a twist).

Sparks

For a village of it’s size, Marsden boasts a number of big events as well as Imbolc. It is host to the Cuckoo festival (2) in April and the Jazz festival in October, events which I plan to write about in the future.

Photos I took at the event in 2009.

Photos I took at the event in 2010

Official Marsden Imbolc Facebook page

Kirklees Imbolc Events page

(Photos are ©Gary J Stevenson. Licences are available for image use online or in print)

Feb 092010
 

I have finally had the chance to upload my photos from Saturdays amazing Imbolc Festival in Marsden.. The highlight for me had to be the Mr Fox performance in the village after the main show at Tunnel End.

For more information about Imbolc, please see my previous post.

Jan 112010
 

This is now an archived article. Please see this page..

Crowds watch the fire spinners

Marsden Imbolc Fire festival – West Yorkshire.

2009 was the first time I attended the event and I was blown away by how spectacular it was – especially as we were lucky enough to have snow on the ground.

The 2011 festival it is going to be held on the 5th of February (as always, the first Saturday in February) with the procession to Tunnel End starting at 7pm by the railway station.

Workshop

Workshops are held at the Standedge visitor centre on Saturdays throughout January with a fire swinging and lantern making workshops.

See the bottom of this article for links to more photos.

This is an extract from the article I wrote for the Marsden Moods book:

Imbolc marks the time that the earth starts to wake up after it’s winter sleep. The Celtic tradition is over 2000 years old and was established in Marsden in the mid 1990’s. Initially set up by Kirklees Countryside Volunteers as an event for the local folk, it has rapidly expanded and now relies on many local volunteers. There are a few theories behind the name but my chosen one is that it comes from the Celtic “i mbolg” which means “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy of ewes and the start of their lactation at this time of year, something that is important to Marsden, known for it’s sheep!

Fire Spinning

This spectacular event starts in the village centre before a lantern procession, accompanied by local Samba bands, to Tunnel End. Here there is a performance by the iplaywithfire fire dancers and Huddersfield University fire jugglers before the Green
Man
does battle with Jack Frost, representing the start of the new season beating back the cold winter. There is an impressive firework finale created by PA BOOM Phenomenal Fireworks then a retreat to the village centre for a warm greeting in one of the pubs and often more fire dances (including one by the fantastic Mr Fox group).

Fireworks

Fireworks

Marsden is situated at the head of the Colne Valley, right next to the Peak District national park and the National trusts Marsden estate so is an ideal place to set off from on a walk to enjoy some stunning landscapes in the surrounding areas. It can be accessed by rail, bus or car. From Huddersfield, drop down to the right hand side of the A62 after about 6 miles. Crossing the pennines from Oldham / Saddleworth, Marsden is the first village you come to after driving over standedge. Some of the best accommodation can be found at the Tunnel End Inn since it is so close to the main parts of the event. They were also kind enough to allow us to use a room for a recent project (why not pick up a copy of the Marsden Moods book whilst you are there for some photos of last years event)! Accommodation can also be found at The New Inn, Hey Green and in nearby Meltham, Slaithwaite and Huddersfield. If you’re in need of somewhere to eat, I can personally recommend Mozzarella (Italian) and The Riverhead (great pub grub with a twist).

Sparks

For a village of it’s size, Marsden boasts a number of big events as well as Imbolc. It is host to the Cuckoo festival (2) in April and the Jazz festival in October, events which I plan to write about in the future.

Photos I took at the event in 2009.

Photos I took at the event in 2010

Official Marsden Imbolc Facebook page

Kirklees Imbolc Events page

(Photos are ©Gary J Stevenson. Licences are available for image use online or in print)