Marsden Cuckoo Festival takes place each year on a Saturday in April when the village celebrates the coming of Spring.
Many years ago the people of Marsden were aware that when the cuckoo arrived, so did the Spring and sunshine. They tried to keep Spring forever, by building a tower around the Cuckoo. Unfortunately, as the last stones were about to be laid, away flew the cuckoo. If only they’d built the tower one layer higher. As the legend says, it “were nobbut just wun course too low.”
Marsden Jazz Festival
The Marsden Jazz Festival has taken place each year since 1991 over a weekend in October. In addition to the headline acts performing in the Mechanics Institute, the village pubs, clubs and other venues host a wide range of musical events.
Imbolc was a Celtic Fire Festival to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring.
The Imbolc in Marsden was first established in the mid 1990’s and takes place on the first Saturday in February on alternate years. The next one will be in 2018.
Over the last few years thousands of spectators have gathered outside Marsden railway station to follow a torch-lit procession along Reddisher Road to Tunnel End where the festival takes place.
Onlookers, waiting outside the Tunnel End Inn, are aware of the procession’s approach when they hear the drummers which accompany it along the road. Soon the flicker of burning torches carried by strangely costumed individuals heralds the arrival of the procession which slowly makes its way to the area outside Standedge Visitor Centre.
As the spectators move slowly into position, they are entertained by fire performers and jugglers. The highlight of the evening is a contest between Jack Frost by the Green Man – larger than life figures which come together against a fiery backdrop accompanied by the rhythmic drumming and the enthusiastic cheers (and boos!) of the crowd. Jack Frost’s ultimate defeat is followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
View a local photographer’s excellent Imbolc slide show on Flikr