The Cuckoo Festival takes place in the village of Marsden, several miles outside Huddersfield (on the A62 to Oldham) every April and it has become an important event in recent years.
According to tradition, the people of Marsden noticed that the arrival of the cuckoo always brought good weather. They didn’t want the spring sunshine to end, so they built a wall around the cuckoo’s nesting place, reasoning that if they kept the cuckoo, they’d keep the weather, too. But just as they thought the wall was high enough, the bird flew away.
“Oh!” they said. “It were nobbut one course too low.” (for those of you of the “Southern” persuasion this means they didn’t build it quite high enough).
Marsden is a village in a steep-sided Pennine valley southwest of Huddersfield, and in these more sophisticated days, the villagers celebrate the legend with a weekend of festivities in the Marsden Cuckoo Festival. There’s a colourful procession through the village, a craft fair, a maypole and Morris dancing, street entertainment, duck races, storytelling, and lots more free events. There are also guided walks that relate the legend of the cuckoo and take you up on to the surrounding hills and moorland.
This year we were blessed with glorious weather, blue skies and cotton wool clouds and a tremendous number of people who turned up to support the event. Taking part were various morris dance troupe including The Hill Millies, OakenHoof (they even let this lot in from over the border in Lancashire!!!!), The Thieving Magpies (with blacked up faces, no PC nonsense around here) and one I think called WayzeGoose. Add to this music from the eccentric Frumptarn Guggenband as well as the Marsden Silver Prize band and you have a wonderful day of music making.
The festival concludes with a parade through the village of the “cuckoo” followed by the bands and all the dance troupes, children carrying paper cuckoos and generally anyone who wishes to join in.
If you wish to see the English, particularly us northerners, at our very eccentric best, then you should come and visit the cuckoo festival…………..its crackers, but wonderful.
Photographs (c)Kindadukish 2017