Bootle Rocks the Fells

Boo to a Goose rock the stage at Rock the Fells (Photo: D K Powell)

By Ken Powell


When I think of Bootle, the last thing I think of is a venue for Glastonbury-style rock concerts! Yet that’s exactly what’s been going on for the last couple of years.

Possibly Cumbria’s best kept cultural event happened on Saturday 22 July and, despite the morning rain which turned the field into a mudbath, it was really a terrific day. Everything from beer tents to face painting was on offer, making Rock the Fells a cultural event for the whole family; it was a joy to see.

With bands playing a variety of styles on the main stage and solo artists playing on the acoustic stage the event was a great showcase for up and coming individuals and artists to show just what they can do. Personal favourites for me were the band, Natterjack (with possibly the coolest looking bass player who had the funkiest licks), and Chloe Pinney who also features on the official Rock the Fells charity single. Chloe also fronted the band Boo to a Goose which, I confess openly, featured my own son. I know I’m biased but I think they were really very good.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Outside the main tents was a community stage where all sorts of things took place including a dance troop and a steel band. The whole event was certainly very odd. Rock bands, rock fans and beer normally mean, sooner or later, a bit of raucous behaviour. But Rock the Fells had more of the feel of a village fete. The whole thing was simply friendly. There wasn’t a hint of unruly behaviour to be seen anywhere. The day was fun, plain and simple.

Part of that is perhaps because Rock the Fells is a charitable event – this year raising money for the Bootle and District Community First Responders. Another is the wealth of local organisations – including pubs and church fellowships – actively involved in making the event happen each year. It’s clear this is a labour of local love.

Rock the Fells is a little Cumbrian gem which really needs to be better known. The bands were all excellent and while the audience were well appreciative of the music, there was room for more to come and listen. Go find Rock the Fells online and earmark the site for attending next year. I’m quite certain you won’t regret it, and with a bit of luck you’ll get more sunshine and less mud too!