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Wonderful family fun at Rochdale Feel Good Festival

28 June 2019

A child operating a machine.

There's going to be more than ever before for children at the 2019 Rochdale Feel Good Festival.

The events Family Zone will return this summer, sponsored by Hopwood Hall College and produced by Link4life in partnership with Without Walls – the national touring network.

Supported by Arts Council England National Lottery funding The Esplanade and gardens in front of Rochdale Town Hall will be transformed into a Festival Square for youngsters and their families between 11am and 5pm as part of the event headlined by indie/rock band The Coral on Saturday, 10 August 2019. Just like the rest of the festival, admission is free and no tickets are required.

Activities and shows will include: The Bewonderment Machine - a cycle-powered carousel, sculpture and a magical journey for small children. Visually, a quirky dreamscape, combining objects, puppetry, machinery and music, it's also a miniature theatrical flight of the imagination.

There'll be a Virtual Reality Playground, where you'll be able to put on a headset, jump on a swing and be transported inside a virtual reality ride mechanism, chosen from the growing collection created by the world's only Thrill Engineer, Professor Brendan Walker and his team. One of the swings will be accessible for wheelchair users too.

The members of Dip in flight.

Look out for the aerial 'Dip' trampoline show, featuring breath-taking air twisting tricks, music and comedy as a trio of multi-talented performers bring new life to everyday objects and instruments, exploring relationships, co-operation and serendipity.

'A day of magic, fun and laughter'

Bees!! The Colony promises to be a fascinating multi-sensory experience, where you'll be able to wander amongst a honey-perfumed bee colony, viewing and interacting with 6 hives, each with a surprising twist to challenge, charm and confound expectations. The surreal and wonderful experience has gained 5 star reviews and proved a huge draw across the UK.

2 beekeepers with smoke dispensers.

Another highlight will be The Playground of Illusions - a place to explore, play and discover incredible wonders that have to be seen (or heard) to be believed. Visitors will be able to play with intriguing interactive giant toys – illusions that reveal the unexpected, the unimaginable and sometimes the unexplained! Pull levers and turn wheels to explore the realms of the impossible made possible. Look out for the Magical Miniaturising Mushroom, The Ultimate Mirage and don't miss The Incredible Spinny Thing.

A performance of Hold On.  

Circus theatre artist Stefano Di Renzo will present his live show – 'Hold On' where gravity, counterweight and centrifugal forces are tested to new limits.

You'll also be able to get up close and personal with a dinosaur, finding out new things about how they lived and why they disappeared. Dinotopia will be walking around with adventurer Captain Jon Voyage, making friends and posing for selfies as Rochdale looks forward to the visit of 'Dippy', the Natural History Museum's Diplodocus, coming to Rochdale in February 2020.

Appealing to all ages, the Family Zone will also feature performances from local groups including Skylight Circus. There'll be other fun activities from Link4life including an inflatable assault course, balance bikes and tennis. Touchstones Rochdale will be hosting lots of feel good creative activities all day, including dhol drumming workshops, yoga, mindfulness, meditation classes, henna and a performance by the Women in Touch Community Dance Group.

Mr Bloom and his band will open the main stage - the CBeebies favourite will be joined by his 4-piece band for a free lunchtime show guaranteed to get families dancing and singing. Their set is set to feature all the musical hits from his television shows as well as numerous cheeky covers.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture said the Family Zone will be a day of magic, fun and laughter:

"Our Family Zone will have lots of amazing activities to keep the kids busy and parents are welcome to join in too. Thanks to our partnership with Without Walls and support from the Arts Council England National Lottery funding, there will be more for children and their grown-ups than ever. We've got a superb programme, engaging with families in new and creative ways."

Rochdale Feel Good Festival will include live music across indoor venues, a main stage against the backdrop of the town hall sponsored by The Flying Horse Hotel, plus quality food and drink.

The festival is funded by us together with sponsorship from local businesses, including digital media partner O2 Rochdale, The Flying Horse Hotel, Premier Kia, Recycle for Greater Manchester and Metrolink