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Meet the man behind Tameside’s biggest ever music festival


Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Atmosphere. It’s Tameside’s first music festival.

Neither Dave Hulmes nor his brother Harry has organised a festival before, so you’d think they’d be happy to settle for local bands.

But no. The line-up boasts Scouting For Girls, A Certain Ratio, Cast, Bez and many, many more, which suggests this isn’t going to be a one-hit wonder.

I asked Dave how on earth someone who has not only never organised a festival before, but has never even been to one, has been able to put together such a bill.

What do you think makes your festival special?

For a start we’re a family friendly festival. We’re putting on fairground rides, a wide variety of foods, it’s going to be disabled friendly, there’s face painting and what will be a very good selection of ales courtesy of Joseph Holts. Everyone is catered for. We’re just trying to keep everything reasonable and to keep the prices as close to local prices as possible. We want everyone to have a good time and from that we’re going to grow it. We’ve gone as far as asking Northern Rail to extend the last train to four carriages so people don’t get ripped off in taxis and they’ll get a seat.

Given the line-up, I can’t believe that this is your first ever festival. How did it come about?

It started off a couple of years ago when I put bands on at Uppermill Civic Hall in Oldham. That started growing but I always wanted to go bigger but I was restricted due to size, venue and things like that. I decided one night, ‘right let’s put on festival in our home town.’ Then it was just a case of calling in a few favours in via agents, friends networks stuff like that.

You make it sound simple. Are you nervous?

Do you know what, I’m not. I’m excited. Once the wheels are in motion you’re a slave to what’s going on. I’m really, really looking forward to it to be honest. It’ll be what it’ll be.

How long did it take you to plan something like this?

Originally I was going to do it in August last year to coincide with my birthday. But it just didn’t work out, which was for the better as it gave us longer to plan this festival and gave us that little bit of extra time. What I think we’ve managed to put on is phenomenal. I’d pay to go to this festival personally.

What are you looking forward to most about it?

Different things, I suppose. The main would be just people absolutely going for it, having a good time. Two to three thousand people jumping up and down. I can’t wait. There’s so much to look forward to. When it’s all over and everyone’s gone I’ll be looking forward to a right good drink.

Do you think you’ll do it again if it goes well?

A million percent. Whatever happens it’ll be on next year. I’m already planning it. We’re always aiming to go bigger, possibly to go over a couple of days. We have the perfect venue and I reckon we could easily rival Heaton Park. You just need the acts.

Who chooses the acts? Do you take requests or is it you both cherry picking who you want?

We discuss the bands with each other. There’s a couple of locals bands on there as well which is really good. We like giving a spot to up and coming acts. We have the obligatory Oasis tribute band, of course. To be fair the lead singer pretty much told us he was playing.

How did you decide on where and when to put the bands?

A few bands have requested they go on at certain times. We’re obviously going to finish with the two big headliners, Cast and Scouting for Girls. Then the DJs are there to fill that lull when musicians are changing kit and stuff.

Any more surprise acts?

The bill is set in stone now and has been since the beginning of December. We’ve had to turn down hundreds upon hundreds of bands, but we’re going to keep them on file for next year’s festival. I’m gutted having to turn bands down, but it’s nicer to be able to turn bands away rather than to be scrabbling for them.

Final question. Why the name Atmosphere?

Simple. It’s my favourite Joy Division song.

Atmosphere is on Saturday 26th May 2018 at Seel Park, Mossley. Tickets are £35.


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