Fun for all ages at town festival

Ampthill Festival.
Ampthill Festival.

Ampthill Festival broke all records at the weekend with an estimated 15,000 people attending the three-day event.

Nearly 5,000 turned out for the Happy Mondays on Friday night, surpassing last year’s record of 3,300. More than 2,000 attended the Proms on the Saturday evening, whilst a further 7,000 were at Sunday’s free Family Gala Day - with the Literary Festival also being hailed a great success.

Happy Mondays Mark Barry - Bez - on the right, after Amprocks.

Happy Mondays Mark Barry - Bez - on the right, after Amprocks.

Richard Benson, chairman of the Wells and Young -sponsored festival - a not-for-profit event organised by volunteers for the local community - said: “It has been incredible. We say it every year but this year really was the best-ever. The weather was magnificent, every single act and performer excelled. We had record numbers on all three days - we couldn’t have asked for more.”

Madchester legends Happy Mondays headlined Friday’s AmpRocks sending the sell-out crowd wild by performing a string of hits including their classic singles Step On and the mesmerising Wrote for Luck.

Iconic Mark Barry, better known as Bez, took a break from his dancing and maraca-playing to tell revellers: “I had a top night at AmpRocks and wanted to continue the party in Bedford - power to the 

Bez carried on partying afterwards, visiting nearby Ampthill Town FC’s clubhouse before the dance legend paid a visit to Bedford High Street nightclub Hi-Fi.

AmpRocks’ Mark Frary said: “Bez was so taken by the warm welcome he asked us if we could take him to Bedford to carry on the party. We were only too happy to oblige.

“The guys at Hi-Fi were great. The highlight was when two police officers asked to have their picture taken with him.”

The party ended at 4am when Bez returned to 
Ampthill’s Prince of Wales for the night.

Paul Kelleher, who travelled from Belfast to see the band, said: “The Happy Mondays were brilliant, and so was AmpRocks. I’ve been to a few festivals and this is up there with the best of them. I’m definitely coming back next year - even the local beer was good!”

Trade spiked in the town with shops noting a rise in takings.

A spokesman said: “There were no arrests.

“A big thanks to everyone for making it the best 
AmpRocks ever.”

Darren Johnson, owner of dr barbers in Dunstable Street, said: “It has been an absolute shot in the arm for Ampthill – pubs were packed solid and many shops had a great three days.

“The feedback has been 100 per cent positive.”