Plug is pulled on Headstock music festival

HAVING A GREAT TIME -- a scene from last year's Headstock music festival, which brought Newstead to life.
HAVING A GREAT TIME -- a scene from last year's Headstock music festival, which brought Newstead to life.

THE spectacular Headstock music festival in Newstead has been cancelled this year, organisers have announced.

The festival was launched in 2010 amid a blaze of glory as part of an ambitious bid to regenerate the former mining village.

The brainchild of the not-for-profit voluntary organisation, Newstead Enterprise, it was held at the newly-created Newstead and Annesley Country Park.

Thousands of music-lovers from across the country flocked to the site over the last two years to see dozens of live acts, including chart-topping bands such as Ash and The Lightning Seeds.

But now organisers have revealed that Headstock will not go ahead this year. Instead Newstead Enterprise says it wants to concentrate on completing an eco-friendly visitor centre and other attractions at the country park.

Julie Thistleton-Smith, of Newstead Enterprise, said: “We have a huge amount of work still to do to complete our sustainable business, including finishing the park’s eco-build visitor centre and opening our angling lakes.

“As a group, we’ve decided that, regretfully, we can’t give Headstock the focus it needs this year.

“We want to thank all our supporters for helping us put on Headstock, for attending and making it so special.”

She added: “Of course, we are gutted, but Headstock is still very much part of the future of Newstead.

“We are committed to it going ahead next year.”

Headstock came about when Newstead Enterprise was given a grant of £433,140 from the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with BBC TV.

The scheme was part of a TV programme entitled ‘Village SOS’, which was fronted by presenter Sarah Beeny and broadcast last September.

The money was used to launch the country-park project and the music festival. But that funding has now come to an end

Headstock, which was initially a one-day festival in September 2010, became a three-day event last year. It was dubbed Newstead’s answer to the world-famous Glastonbury Festival and was nominated for ‘Best New Festival’ at the UK Festival Awards in its first year.

The 230 acre-Newstead and Annesley Country Park is on the former Newstead Colliery site. Its central feature is the eco-friendly ‘earthship’ education and visitor centre, with walls created from 1,500 donated vehicle-tyres.

The associated angling lakes will be used by several groups, including the Cornerstone Angling Skills Training (CAST) organisation, which steers young people away from anti-social behaviour by getting involved in fishing.

Money made from Headstock and the country park will be ploughed into future regeneration of Newstead

Mrs Thistleton-Smith said: “In an ideal world, we would want to stage Headstock this year. But sometimes, you have to take tough decisions.”