A few words from Rick Holden, Buckfest mastermind and the “one who cracks the whip!”
I started Buckfest in 2009 to tie in with Buckden Feast Week. There were always things happening on the field on Feast Day, but it all ground to a halt at 5pm. I felt that if we put on a mini music festival then people would stick around longer and continue enjoying the day. It went really well, better than I could expect and soon people were asking, “Are you going to do it again next year?”
The following year Feast Week was no more, so Buckfest filled the void with a borrowed stage, PA System, 5 Bands and a wing and a prayer. We started at 2pm and went through until midnight. I quickly realised that this was something that should be held annually and that it would be a vital revenue stream for Buckden Village Club.
In 2012, myself and Scott Kitson decided to operate two stages in an all-day event. Over 500 people attended, and this showed us that we were on to something really good.
2013 was our first year to put both stages outside. We had around 700 people attend, and since then we have never looked back. We are now, in my opinion, the best small music festival in Cambridgeshire, and we continue to go from strength to strength with a volunteer committee who spend much of their spare time putting the festival together over many months, and a small army of volunteers who help us setup and run the event in July.
This year we will have 20 bands spread across 3 stages, a dance tent and 2400 people attending the festival and tickets generally sell out within 24 hours of going on sale. Buckfest doesn’t just showcase local bands and artistes, we donate the majority of our profits to local charities and good causes, £75 000 so far.
Buckfest is a family friendly festival with entertainment for the kids, festival goodies from local traders and fantastic food and drinks sourced from local suppliers.
Each year from 2016 to 2021* we have been voted Cambs best festival in the East Anglian Festival Network (EAFN) online poll, and in 2021 we were voted their best festival in East Anglia – this is an amazing achievement and it just goes to show how far we’ve come.
There are too many people who have helped us over the years to list here, whether it be sponsoring, volunteering, providing and donating services or just offering advice, you know who you are and I, and the rest of the committee, will forever be in your debt.
*There was no EAFN vote in 2020 due to COVID-19