Thursday 14 April 2016


Bare Bones Marketing/Middlewich Town Council/Signal Radio

by Dave Roberts

Earlier this year Middlewich Town Council appointed BARE BONES MARKETING as the official marketing organisation for the town's FAB Festival, moving the event even further away from its Folk & Boat Festival origins and making clear its intention to once again use the Festival as a means of attracting people to the town.

The council took over the ailing festival in 2012, immediately changing the name from Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival to Middlewich FAB Festival and emphasising the Festival's community roots. 

The FAB Festival was to be regarded as a local event for the people of Middlewich, although visitors were, as always welcomed.

Now the emphasis is once more on promoting the Festival, and the town, far and wide, with new sponsors including Manchester Metropolitan University and Signal Radio stepping in as media partners.

One thing has not changed in all the years since the 'Folk & Boat' started twenty-six years ago; no matter who runs the festival, and no matter what its 'official' name may be, there's always someone ready and willing to express an opinion on the way it's run and promoted.

And sure enough, as soon as the 'Come To Your Senses' campaign started, using a stock image of a girl wearing reflective sunglasses - a favourite trick used by travel agents and holiday companies for many years - one local would-be expert couldn't resist telling us that to use such an image was inappropriate for 'a folk and boat festival'.

But Middlewich's annual summer festival hasn't been the 'folk and boat festival' for four years now; in 2012, when the Town Council took over the running of the event, its first move was to drop the original name in favour of the shorter 'FAB Festival' title. 

The letters 'FAB' no longer stand for the words 'Folk And Boat'.

This signified a break with the past and enabled the event's new organisers to broaden the appeal of the festival, introducing new types of music and activities which the original title would have precluded.

Of course, to some people, the event will always be 'the Folk & Boat'.

But, in its 26th year, Middlewich's original music festival has moved on.

Press advertising as featured in the Winsford & Middlewich Guardian

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