Solardo, Gisburne Park Pop Up

HAVING spent most of the past six months cooped up at home, working hunched behind a laptop in a back room, I was more than ready for some festival fun.

Now this is 2020, so forget everything you might have learnt or experienced at festivals BC (Before Coronavirus).

Gisburne Park Pop Up kicked off back in July, with an eight-week programme of events that was extended into September due to its success.

I pored over the photos and videos that showed a stage set back, across a river, and individual hexagons with a parasol and chairs for groups of up to six people.

What will the atmosphere be like? Will it feel strange? Will people socially distance? Portable toilets in the middle of a pandemic? Is this a good idea?

Driving through the stunning Ribble Valley on Saturday, the glorious September early evening sun beaming down, it felt like a magnificent idea.

Before March, Gisburne Park was primarily a luxury wedding venue set within 1,000-acres of idyllic Ribble Valley countryside.

Now it is a place where people can go and enjoy a night of music and a mini taste of freedom, albeit with track and trace, social distancing and hand sanitiser galore.

A chipper security guard gave us a safety pep talk as we made our way down the dusty track to the sold-out gig.

Lancashire Telegraph:

It did not feel crowded and 100 friendly staff kept the site ticking over, bringing drink orders over to our pitch at the wave of a flag.

Now to the music, which was provided by the excellent Manchester house music duo Solardo.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The last time I saw them was at The Beat-Herder Festival in 2017, shoulder to shoulder with other revellers in the thronging Fortress.

This was a very different experience but none the less enjoyable as the pair brought their usual enthusiasm and epic tunes – including Move Your Body and XTC.

The chance to have a dance in the open air after such a long time was a real treat, especially as we find ourselves heading into lockdown part II.

After 11 weeks, this weekend will see Gisburne Park Pop Up’s closing parties – in line with Government guidelines.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Symphonic Ibiza will play Friday night, Sam Divine and the Shapeshifters on Saturday night and Steve Harley Acoustic Band on Sunday.

If you want one (socially distanced) last dance, this is the place to do it.