OldhamLIVE – Music to your ears

IMG_2251IT’S HARD to believe that it’s now almost a year since we confirmed the opening date for the newly-restored Old Town Hall.

It had been the most-keenly anticipated civic development for generations and the sense of joy when the doors opened on October 21 last year – with a grand public event showcasing the Oldham Giant, acrobats, musicians and local talent – was something I’ll never forget.

Since then the development has grabbed so many accolades that we realised there was one very clear flaw in our original designs – the lack of a trophy cabinet.

To date in 2017 the Old Town Hall has won nine awards from a range of prestigious players who know a thing or two about buildings, including the Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

It’s also been shortlisted for the British Construction Industry Awards ‘Building Project of the Year’, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce ‘Building of the Year’ and the Local Authority Building Control Awards which are all taking place later this year.

I’m not the kind of person who would ever obsess about chasing ‘gongs’ but this impressive haul of awards and nominations shows that we must have got something right.

The renovation of the Old Town Hall wasn’t just about the rebirth of a unique and iconic building, important though that was. It was part of our bigger vision to give the town centre a new focal point and a place where people from all communities – and new visitors – could enjoy leisure time in a pleasant and modern environment.

Parliament Square and Town Hall 30That’s why we built Parliament Square adjacent to it providing a high-quality public space that we also knew would be an exciting new events space of the calibre and size that Oldham has never had before.

It has already hosted some fantastic events to date – like Illuminate and Oldham Pride – and is fast growing in its popularity as a destination in its own right but we were also acutely aware of a gap in Oldham’s entertainment offer which simply had to be addressed.

As a place we have got some fantastic local live music venues and events but – certainly before the recent Cotton Clouds Festival in Greenfield – you usually had to at least hop on a tram to Manchester to be entertained by established acts.

That is all set to change in nine days when Parliament Square hosts OldhamLIVE on Saturday September 9.

We’ve worked alongside Revolution96.2 on these plans and it was clear from our very first meeting that we had a shared ambition to deliver something really special.

The musical line-up includes headliners The Farm, Stooshe, Kelly Llorena, a Clint Boon DJ set and Nathan from Brother Beyond. If you’ve not yet seen the event details – which includes pirate themed fun for the kids in the afternoon – then visit www.oldham.gov.uk/oldhamlive for full details.

Oldham_Live_Web_BannerIn the coming days I can reveal that we’ll be adding a couple more exciting names to that bill, and releasing a detailed site map with all the essential information you’ll need to plan ahead for a great day out.

This is a pilot event and we are keen to gauge the public appetite for this type of offering. It’s also the first time we’ve used Parliament Square for something quite so big and a great team of Oldham Council volunteers will be there working hard to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Best of all, the event is entirely free and – if it’s a success – we have some exciting ideas for what we might do next with OldhamLIVE.

So what’s ‘your bit’? All we ask is that you come along, enjoy yourselves, help to spread the word and also give our local economy a real boost. .

Please don’t miss the chance to enjoy some fantastic acts and entertainment. The only thing I cannot guarantee is the weather, so fingers crossed!


Festival fever for Oldham

Yo Fest image.pngFESTIVALS aren’t something you might usually associate with Oldham, but that’s all changing this year.

There have been some fantastic new local events this summer – including the Cotton Clouds music festival in Greenfield – and we’ve got many more exciting things to look forward to yet.

First-up, we’re in the final throes of planning the Your Oldham festival which starts on Saturday, September 2.

This is a weeklong festival celebrating all the great things about our borough with free family fun events.

It’s now more than six years since we declared our ambition to become a Co-operative Council and working towards a Co-operative Future, which is one where everyone does their bit and everyone benefits.

The Your Oldham festival is about looking at what we achieved so far and encouraging even more residents, businesses and staff to do #yourbit.

#yourbit can be doing something really simple – like taking part in a litter pick, recycling smarter, checking on a vulnerable neighbour or even organising a street party where you live. But we can all make a contribution, big or small, that benefits us all.

This campaign also reminds everyone that the borough is not owned by Oldham Council or its partners. It is owned by its most fantastic asset – you, our people.
There’s a number of great family friendly events going at the Your Oldham Festival – all showcasing the great co-operative activities which go on daily.

These range from an outdoor adventure day (Sunday, September 3 from Noon to 4pm) at Castleshaw Centre in Delph to a Co-operative Market Street in Oldham town centre (Wednesday, September 6 from 10am to 4pm), a Your Green Oldham day celebrating our environment and green spaces (Thursday, September 7 from 10.30am to 4.30pm), a Your Digital Roadshow at HACK Oldham (Friday, September 8 from 10am to 4pm) and Your Future, which imagines the borough of the future (Saturday, September 9 from 10am to 2pm).

You can find out more about all these at the Your Oldham website at http://www.youroldham.coop

As part of the festival we’re also encouraging local communities to organise street gatherings with their families, friends and neighbours. To help, we’ve put together a free ‘Events in a box’ package containing everything you need to get organising. To find out more or download a pack please email policy@oldham.gov.uk or visit here

During the festival we’re also asking young people to write a ‘Dear Oldham’ letter telling us what their hopes are for the future. That could be about activities or facilities they want to see, or just simply what they want to be able to do here in years to come.

The deadline to enter letters and drawings is Friday, August 26 and you can find out how to get yours submitted here.

Winning letters and drawings will be published in a special booklet and on our social media channels.

The final day of the Your Oldham festival also coincides with the fantastic Oldham LIVE event which we recently announced.

This is a spectacular new free entertainment and music festival to be hosted in Parliament Square and is unlike anything we’ve ever put on in Oldham before.

If you’ve not already heard, it will feature pirate-themed fun for families and kids during the day from Noon until 4pm – all led by kids’ favourite Gemma Hunt from CBeebies’ Swashbuckle.

Live music will then take centre stage from 6pm onwards with a line-up headlined by The Farm, plus Stooshe, Kelly Llorenna (featured artist on N-Trance hit ‘Set You Free’), a Clint Boon DJ set and Nathan from Brother Beyond – all bands and names which should be familiar to many of you.

In next week’s blog I’ll be explaining more about our plans for this event and outlining the arrangements we’re putting in place to make this a fantastic day for everyone to remember.

In the meantime, you can find out more about it on our website here – including a video playlist of the artists appearing at Oldham LIVE, plus information about transport, and where to eat and drink.