This June would have been the 16th iteration of the Saddleworth Festival of the Arts which has been held every 4 years since 1957. If you do the sums you’ll see that that doesn’t work, and that’s because the first two festivals were at 5 year intervals that is, in 1962 and 1967.

The Committee who have operated recent Festivals have been meeting to consider future arrangements. The last Festival was scheduled for June 2019 but has not happened.

A number of members of the Festival original organising body have recently decided to stand down from the committee following years of dedicated long service, this includes key posts of both the Chairman and Treasurer, Sadly the unexpected death of the much valued Secretary and the inability to successfully recruit new and younger members has meant that it is not viable to continue with the traditional format and style of Festival of the Arts for this or future years..

The potential audiences for the 2019 event had undoubtedly changed in nature and expectations since the inception of the original Arts Festival concept developed in 1957.  Audiences now have much easier access to the arts in all its forms and therefore are now more than likely to be seeking something more in keeping with the artistic trends and technologies of the times.  Modern audiences will undoubtedly require different  types of events from those we have historically offered.

The organising Committee recognise that changing demand and the growth and development of a variety of similar one-off local Arts events across Saddleworth organised by alternative groups and individuals creates an opportunity to use Saddleworth Festival of the Arts funds differently.

The committee wishes to continue to support local arts organisations by helping appropriate arts- related events in as wide a way as possible to benefit the Saddleworth community.

We have considered the alternatives and only one option seems viable. We have therefore come to the conclusion that partnership with existing local organisations in Saddleworth and the emerging organisers like Duncan Glenday and Saddleworth Live who use the Millgate Centre is the way forward.

In the past 2 years we have made small grants to Saddleworth Male Voice Choir, the Uppermill Summer Music Festival (twice), The Diggle Blues Festival, a contribution was made to the composition of a new work to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of a local Brass & Jazz Festival, St Chad’s All Stars and Saddleworth Live at the Millgate

Responsibility for selling tickets and managing venues is with the recipients

Any such events have been badged as being supported by Saddleworth Festival of the Arts, and this will continue to be a requirement for getting a grant, as will the provision of publicity material such as photographs of the event for publication on The Festival’s web pages and Facebook pages.

The present Committee see this as the only feasible option to perpetuate the name of the Saddleworth Festival; to nurture the funding of local arts organisations; to encourage new ones to meet changing demand and to manage the Fund for local use.

The sponsorship scheme was started last year and the Trustees are pleased to have supported a number of local societies/events. The Trustees of Saddleworth Festival Ltd will continue to sponsor individual events of drama, music and art in Saddleworth from now on.

The Trustees wish to encourage all local societies/groups to apply for sponsorship to provide quality performances/events in the local community. However, funds are currently very limited so the grants are typically not more than £500, but we hope to have access to the Trust fund’s assets eventually and thus be able to extend the scheme.

Please be aware that for a submission to be successful it will need to meet the set criteria. Even then, we would like to make it clear that an application may be only partially funded.

Keep an eye on this website for further news.

Application forms can be obtained by e-mailing Colin Berry at –

There’s an example of the form here

Organisations we have supported can be found here. More will be put on this page as we get the material.