Best of 2012: Alfresco Cowbell Carnival

Alfresco I was lucky enough to attend both Alfresco events earlier on in the year at Blackpool Cricket Ground. Hosted by Cowbell Radio, they took place in May and September. This article is mostly concerning May’s event.  Prior to that first event, the weather had been absolutely gorgeous and temperatures were souring.  Anticipation was building.

As the day approached, ticket sales were peaking and the promise of an amazing line up for the adults and special entertainments geared towards the children was stoking expectations. The Cricket Ground is a great location: parking, seating, grass for children to run and play on and all within a safe environment; walled and fenced.  There is a bar area and Alfresco provided complementary food.

The musical line up was one to envy and included Government (Blackpool Funk band covering such classics as “Sunshine of my Love”), Fingathing (2 piece: DJ and Bass player), DJ Woody (Champion Turntablist), Martin Moscrop (A Certain Ratio), Martin Brew and Christian Wood.

The children’s entertainment was also immense and included The Kat’s Whiskers Theatre GroupUrban Dance ProjectAunty SocialDotty Delightful and FY Westcoast.

Alfresco Children's EntertainmentActivities included face painting, dance, jeweller- making, hair-styling, mask-making, bouncy castles and loads of kids’ games.

The cost of the ticket for all of this was extremely accessible at just £10, which included access to the evening event at The Underbar in Blackpool, featuring Tha Gods, for the hiphop and funk loving adults.

But…the unthinkable happened on the day. It chucked it down.

Not to worry though, all the people who were booked turned in and took up their places so as not to be defeated by a spot of rain. The musicians, DJ’s and entertainment-makers rallied round and changed their outdoor activities to indoor.  Did the children mind? Not at all! Did the adults mind? Perhaps a little.

To be honest, we turned up with a gazebo and a picnic so we were pretty snug and happy. I was certainly happy to be in attendance and to take photographs for what I see as a community-based, child-friendly shindig. Cowbell Radio and Alfresco events raise loads of money for charity and succeed in bringing together music lovers and support creatives with an alternative scene away from the sometimes ‘tacky’ haunts of Blackpool. That can’t be a bad thing!

Music was the main focus for the day and highlight, for me, was Government, who played a stormer. The band already have a strong following and can really jam it out. Some of the members will be remembered from Blackpool bands, such as The Muthafunkers and Helicoptor. If you get the chance to see them play you are bound to enjoy.  It’s very ‘get down on the get down’.


Fingathing were mega cool, playing alongside DJ Woody. Alfresco’s audience was really being treated to some ear delights, of the variety which usually can only be found in Manchester. Now, bearing in mind that these events are very family friendly, picture this: Adults are grooving (with their brollies) and from nowhere a number of small, breakdancing kids started strutting their stuff. It was magical and got better as the music belted out. Kids were back flippin’ and bustin’, even little ‘Bgirls’ were breaking freezes and reppin’. The atmosphere was gorgeous, everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves.

Rain was not an issue! In the end it added to the experience. It’s not about the space or the environment at the end of the day. It’s proof that it’s the people who make an event or an experience. And what a great bunch of people those organisers, DJ’s, performers and audience are. If you get a chance to attend Alfresco in 2013 and you should try as legendary Mr Scruff is playing and the tickets are selling fast.

PS: No brollies required this year!

Images courtesy of CJGriffiths Photography.

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