Headstock key to village’s future

HEADSTOCKERS -- chilling out in the muzica tent at the festival are (from left) Paddy Scott, Georgie Grainger, Anna Scott and Ben Wright -- DISPIC NHUD11-2359-2
HEADSTOCKERS -- chilling out in the muzica tent at the festival are (from left) Paddy Scott, Georgie Grainger, Anna Scott and Ben Wright -- DISPIC NHUD11-2359-2
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THE HEADSTOCK music festival has a key role to play in the continued revitalisation of Newstead, organisers have declared.

The extravaganza, combined with its venue, the newly-created Newstead and Annesley Country Park, have come about through the efforts of a dedicated band of volunteers.

Dust is now settling after the second annual Headstock, which attracted crowds totalling 3,000 over three days and featured headline acts the Lightning Seeds and Echo and the Bunnymen earlier this month.

But those behind the venture are convinced that the festival — along with other projects — can help fuel the village to a bright future.

Julia Thistleton-Smith is one of the driving forces behind Headstock and regeneration projects at the country park, including a groundbreaking, eco-friendly visitor centre.

She told the Dispatch: “This is all for the village, by the village. In terms of regeneration, Headstock, the visitor centre and the country park are vital to help create jobs.

“Things are going to be tough. We need more volunteers and we are looking at other funding sources. But the volunteers we have are amazing.

“If someone had asked if we could change the image of a village in a year, I would have said no way. But we have.

“It must be said that the seeds were sown before Headstock was even thought of.”

Headstock and the country park are run by the Newstead Enterprise organisation, which has just achieved charitable status.

It works with partners including the Cornerstone Angling Skills Training (CAST) fishing project, Future Newstead and Rural Community Action Nottinghamshire.

The bulk of funding to get the music festival and the country park visitor centre off the ground came through Newstead being selected to feature in the Village SOS scheme backed by the BBC and the Big Lottery. This earned more than £400,000.

Money raised through initiatives such as Headstock will be ploughed back into the regeneration of the village which, some would say, has never fully recovered from the devastation of its colliery in 1987.

Work has already started on next year’s Headstock and it is hoped one of the new fishing lakes at the country park will be opened before Christmas.

It is planned to open the visitor centre next spring.