My pride in Belper soars with each passing year and, in spite of a cloudy day, there was still a substantial turnout and afternoon arrivals were eventually greeted by sunshine.
There were the usual 100 plus stalls, a remarkable figure considering the first event in 2007 attracted 24.
Mind you, we were fortunate to have a festival at all with the organisers Devonshire Markets pulling out of the event only about three weeks ago. Click on their website and there is nothing there – just a block of colour.
Having Googled Devonshire Markets, I notice that June’s Artisan Market in Sheffield – which was being organised by Devonshire Markets – was called off, so Belper Town Council and team did well to go ahead.
Indeed, if anything the festival saw a few improvements, like the introduction of a petting zoo, a bigger space for dance performances and banners at each performance stage displaying the line-up of acts.
Ironically, this may well have been down to Devonshire Markets – after all, they were engaged by the Town Council as professionals who worked in the food festival arena.
As usual, the festival saw food and drink retailers from across the East Midlands and beyond serving up a highly diverse range of produce.
There were also numerous craft and gift stalls with plenty of town shops supporting the day by opening for business, plus face painters, balloon sellers, and the usual array of musical acts and dance troupes to enhance the street party atmosphere of the day.
As usual, my favourite shots had nothing to do with food or drink – there are only so many ways to photograph a trade stall and none of them sets the creative juices flowing.
This year, I’m torn between three shots: the one top left of a sequinned infant dancer from Splitz who seemed to love every moment performing – she will go far; a second one also of youngsters – three delightful young girls who posed around the festival banner; and a lovely decisive moment when I noticed four youngsters totally enraptured by the hard rock band on the Market Place stage.
Two contrasting photos makes the important point that without volunteers, this event won’t happen. Earlier in the day, I snapped the Town Mayor Dan Booth in his regalia. Hours later, there he was in jeans and high viz jacket directing traffic.
As usual, I took a photo of the heaving masses progressing up and down King Street.
If I wait long enough, I’ll see someone I know who can form the centrepiece of that picture and, appropriately, I saw Sam Jackson, the former Fresh Basil owner who conceived the idea of the festival.
The reason I need someone to pose for this shot is that it enables me to get at least one person in the picture who’s smiling. You would think that everyone would be smiling at an event like this but no!
As a bonus, Sam posed with his two delightful daughters Sophie and Jessica. I then snapped a few more people and inserted them all into one composite image.
Please tell me you can’t see the joins! I do wonder, however, if I have got the perspectives right. if not, tell me, because those people at the front are all on separate layers in my Photoshop file so I can enlarge or reduce them at any time!
Here’s a gallery of my 50 favourite shots (well, 46 plus the four above):