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Halifax Festival of Words


Friday 22nd October

11am Halifax 1842, A Year of Crisis. The Book Corner, The Piece Hall –  Free entry. A great strike of all trades took place across England in 1842, reaching it’s zenith in the industrial towns of the north. Here there was organised agitation for social reform. Come and join author Catherine Howe to find out what happened in Halifax

1pm Official opening with the Town Crier & Nicola Mills. The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market – Free entry.

1.30pm Map Making Workshop with Christopher Goddard.The Book Corner, The Piece Hall –  £17.

Local cartographer and author of The West Yorkshire Woods and The West Yorkshire Moors leads a creative workshop to inspire you to produce your own personal style of maps. Weather allowing, most of the workshop will be outside. Please bring your own notebook, paper, pens or pencils. Approx 90 minutes.

2pm   David Glover – The Cragg Vale Coiners: “Clipping, Forging and Retribution – Making Money, Doing Murder and Hanging High – the Calder Valley way”. The Grayston Unity. Tickets  £5 (Available from Grayston Unity)

3.30pm A Harp & A Monkey, Temperance Movement. Free entry.

Award-winning northern song and storytelling trio Harp & a Monkey specialise in poignant and melodic short stories (original and traditional) about everyday lives. Their work has been described as “bold and brilliant” by The Observer, “fantastic” and “fascinating” by Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2, “inventive” by Mojo, and “excellent” by The Guardian.

6pm Bridging The Publishing Gap: Fox and Windmill In Conversation With Award Winning Bluemoose Books.The Book Corner, The Piece Hall –  £8.

The founders of Fox and Windmill Books will be chatting to FESTIVAL PATRONS Kevin and Hetha Duffy, founders of Bluemoose Books about the world of independent publishing. They’ll be talking about why they started their indie press and how they will be doing things differently to help bridge the diversity and accessibility gap in publishing. Approx 90 minutes. Tickets available in store.

6.30pm Welcome To Yorkshire, Temperance Movement. Free entry.

An evening of multi-lingual poetry and spoken word from local writers and performers, plus special guests. Presented by St. Augustine’s Centre in partnership with Platforma 6. Part of a Yorkshire-wide project led by poet Khadijah Ibrahim, produced by Counterpoints Arts.

7.30pm. Julia Bardo + Pale Blue Wyes,  The Albany Arcade,  Halifax Borough Market.

Live in the Albany Arcade of the town’s Victorian Borough Market as part of The Halifax Festival of Words. Tickets from See Tickets/The Grayston Unity and Revo Records. £8 adv/£10 on the night. BAR inside venue. 
Fads will come and go but phases blur edges and present limitless possibilities. For singer Julia Bardo, her current Phase marks the evolution of a free spirit, driven by wild ambition. Facing her fears and throwing caution to the wind, Julia’s first EP builds upon her bold strides from Italy to England and presents a personal quest to make music that’s nothing if not entirely authentic.
“It’s like, whilst you walk on your path, you pick up something from the ground and put it in your pocket,” Julia describes of the happenings shaping her latest EP. “As you go further you look in your pockets and see lots of different things. These things make you; you want to pick up more because it is good, and you never want to stop. There’s never enough stuff; you’re rich with experiences you meet on your road.”
Self-taught on guitar, for a time she provided the chugging post-punk as a member of Working Men’s Club; curious beyond her comfort zone, for new paths of sonic discovery. Emerging as a learned musician, Julia’s solo outstepping saw her play live on BBC radio, perform in a museum, and enchant audiences at Manchester Psych Festival, Neighbourhood, Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape. And her first-written song became debut single ‘Desire,’ its flickering video playfully teasing at the romance of a bygone era.

7.30pm Roger McGough ‘Safety In Numbers.’ Square Chapel Arts Centre. £ Please check with Sq. Chapel box office 0343 208 6016

Safety in Numbers is a new collection from the nation’s favourite poet. Traversing rocky terrain with the assurance of a poetry Rover on Mars, McGough brings down to earth the strangeness of a year that was almost lost. Staycations, ghosts, gamblers, hurricanes in a hurry and small kindnesses. Unexpected voices, a nature trail, adultery in lockdown, time to stand & stare The third Halifax Festival of Words will take place from the 22nd to 24th October 2021. Presented by two local independent businesses, The Grayston Unity and The Book Corner, it will run across the town and feature readings, live music, spoken word and DJ sets. Full programme details at and how to write verse about Liverpool. This is an evening of poetry and love and intimacies and daffodils. You Have Been Warned

8pm. Happy Heads DJ set – The Grayston Unity – Free entry.

Saturday 23rd October

Damian Morgan

10.15am Storytime With Grandad Wheels. The Book Corner Free entry.

Join Brian Abram as he reads from his books and holds a drawing competition to design him a new, futuristic wheelchair. Approx 30 minutes.

11am Chris Dyson – Beer and blogging. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

Renowned local beer and music blogger talks about all things beer, pubs and music.

12pm Illustration Workshop With Chris Mould The Book Corner. £10

If you’ve never picked up a pen in your life or if you want to pursue an already keen interest in the arts, come along and join in with Chris Mould, scribbler of The Iron Man, The Truth Pixie and many other characters, who will take you through a whole host of handy hints to help you on your creative path. All ages, genders and sizes welcome. Approx 90 minutes. Tickets available in store.

12pm Damian Morgan Q&A, manager of Orielles. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.
Damian, born and raised in Manchester, has worked in the music industry for over 25 years. He has worked as a booking agent and manager, representing members of Happy Mondays, The Smiths, Oasis and The Specials and acts such as Matt Berry & Dodgy . He currently manages Heavenly Recordings signees, The Orielles, and Julia Bardo (Wichita Records).

He is also part of the management team at BIMM Manchester. He oversees their liaison with the wider music industry, providing links to external music business & events professionals, sourcing career opportunities, internships and placements. He is also responsible for events strategy alongside the events coordinator, booking of masterclasses & guests, and BIMM Manchester’s program of Artist Development.

Julia Bardo
The Orielles

1pm The Orielles in conversation. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

The rise and development of The Orielles is a delight to see. Come along to hear the band talk all things music and more and to get a glimpse of future plans.

Defiant in the face of existential dread, The Orielles were always going to approach their second album with nothing but stellar levels of intent. Disco Volador sees the 4-piece push their sonic horizon to its outer limits as astral travellers, hitching a ride on the melodic skyway to evade the space-time continuum through a sharp collection of progressive strato-pop symphonies. 
“Its literal interpretation from Spanish means flying disc but everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party,” suggests bassist and singer, Esme. “But it is an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.” 
Voyaging through cinematic samba, 70s disco, deep funk boogies, danceable grooves and even tripping on 90s acid house, Disco Volador is set to propel The Orielles spinning into a higher zero-gravity orbit. Written and recorded in just 12 months, it captures the warp-speed momentum of their post-Silver Dollar Moment debut album success; an unforgettable summer touring, playing festivals like Green Man and bluedot, and deepening their bond whilst witnessing the sets of their heroes Stereolab, Mogwai, and Four Tet. Disco Volador’s library catalogue vibes stem from a band lapping up and widening their pool of musical discovery whether nodding to Italian film score maestros Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliani, or the Middle Eastern tones of Khruangbin and Altin Gün. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” tells drummer, Sid. “This is the sound of where we are at, right now.” 
Returning to Stockport’s Eve studios where the band cooked together, went swimming, took walks, and relaxed in the soundwaves of an occasional gong bath, Henry, Sid and Esme called a family reunion under the watchful whisker-twitching of studio cat, Adam (“He was probably a producer in a past life,” they say). With keysman Alex now adding texture through his classically trained know-how, they re-joined engineer Joel, and producer Marta Salogni (Liars, Björk, The Moonlandingz) whose vast expertise of drones, delays and mad effects were so intrinsic to their Disco Volador vision – sketched out by the band in Sharpie doodles on the studio wall. “Marta is so positive, she has a great way of getting the best out of us,” guitarist, Henry tells. “Marta is the 5th Orielle,” affirms Sid. “Because we’d worked together before, we were even tighter; it’s a shared mind-set.” For Marta, the feeling is mutual; “It’s sonic tidying really, the band just do their thing and I work with that.” 
Built from instrumentals around the concept of “boogie to space, space to boogie,” Disco Volador’s energy comes from the melodic fission of tension and release. Recurring motifs explore space, not only of earth’s celestial atmosphere, but also what happens within the gaps and how sound manipulation has the power to carry, or displace, its listener. “We like throwing in wide curveballs by taking the music somewhere different then figuring our way back… like jumping off,” says Henry. “Jez from ACR taught us about pauses and that’s massive on this record; space can be the most beautiful part of a song.” In fact, by unleashing the tension with their own smattering of esoteric noise through delay pedal fuckery, the layered poetics on ‘Whilst The Flowers Look’ and ‘Memoirs of Miso’s saxophone stylistics (loaned by Glasgow band Lylo’s Iain McCall), filling voids is exactly what gives the album its magic. “Those unplanned moments are great,” Sid says, “mistakes can become something special. For these next shows we’ll have to change our tech spec up so much!” 
At times haunting and unsettling, Disco Volador’s film-like structure flows from fact to fiction. Its tales are culled from waking life as easily as they become a soundtrack for lucid dream sequences. Watching Foley-inspired 70s thriller Berberian Sound Studio whilst recording may account for the album’s dynamic sound effects – created with Eve’s array of instruments plus Henry’s flexatone – a Secret Santa gift from Esme. Lynchian outros capture the album’s thematic dread as they spiral into infinity and pave the way for potential loops, imitating the fades between the songs of the band’s summer DJ sets. Brian Eno-inspired dreams about a rocket-fuelled mission may or may not have inspired ‘Rapid’ or ‘Come Down On Jupiter’ after ideas sunk deeper into their subconscious. “I’d been reading about phenomenology and Czechoslovakian writer Milan Kundera’s ideas about existence; the weight of your own body, what you feel and how that interacts with your surroundings,” hints Esme, at possible inspiration behind the lyrics. 
Whilst the future of the world and its current cosmic wasteland might be up in the air, The Orielles’ new album has its feet beating out a much-needed four to the dancefloor. Welcome to Disco Volador; time really does fly when you’re having this much fun. 
Support from Cheap Teeth.
Tickets from See Tickets on in person from The Grayston Unity or Revo Records.

1.45pm Commoners Choir (1st show). The Temperance Movement (outdoor). Free entry.

2pm A Life In Record Shops With Nick (Revo Records) & James Endeacott. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

Nick Simonet, owner of Revo Records and James Endeacott in conversation, hopefully to be joined by another Halifax record shop legend!

2pm Keiron Higgins , ‘The Bard of Halifax On Tour”
Free entry. Starts 2pm, The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market.

2.30pm Harveys of Halifax (Commercial St Halifax HX1 1LJ)

3pm Disco Kitchen (George Square HX1 1HA)

3.30pm The Temperance Movement.

2.30pm Roy Of The Rovers With Tom Palmer. The Book Corner. Free entry.

After a dramatic last season things were looking bleak for Roy and his teammates. A fresh season brings fresh hope, but things aren’t about to get any easier both on and off the field. Come and chat football with author Tom Palmer. Approx 45 minutes.

2.45pm Commoners Choir (2nd show). The Grayston Unity (outdoor). Free entry.

3pm Gareth Scott & Band. The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market. Free entry.

Commoners Choir
Keiron Higgins

4pm Indiana Bones Storytime With Harry Heape. The Book Corner. Free event.

Indiana Bones is a shaggy dog with a difference. He’s got superpowers and can sniff out criminals and – with his young friend and owner Aisha – solve mysteries that would flummox the world’s more expert detectives! Approx 30 minutes.

4.30pm Yucatan live at The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market. Free entry.

Finishing off an afternoon of music, spoken word and more. Free entry. Bar inside the Arcade.
Irish Times: ”Music as beautiful as this doesn’t need words.”
Echoes and Dust: ”Yucatan may be the most essential band on the planet.”
Gigslutz: ”This is melancholy as a force of rejuvenation.”

Finally awake. A glimpse through gaps in the curtains reveals the all-conquering splendour of nature, a totem for the poetry within and a beacon of insurmountable awe. As winter mist rolls away from the summit, the residue of the morning lingers lightly on leaves and the elegantly solemn sound of Yucatan begins to play. A soundtrack to the movie of each and every day, each beat the step of fragile human feet beneath the magnificence of that which cannot be created, nor destroyed.

Uwch Gopa’r Mynydd (Above the Mountain Summit) is the third release from Yucatan, first released in the UK on Recordiau Coll in summer 2015, and follows their praised, debut album, Yucatan (2007) and standalone EP Enlli (2010). The band, made up of itinerant multiinstrumentalists, Dilwyn Llwyd, Alex Morrison, Gwyn Llewelyn and Osian Howells, is led by Llwyd’s profound, quiet artistry on the edge of Wales’ Snowdonia National Park. Produced in partnership between the band and fellow Welshman, the Mercury Prize-nominated producer, David Wrench (Jungle/FKA Twigs) in North Wales, the album’s sweeping instrumentation achieves cinematic, emotional weight with the most delicate of touches.

Storm clouds occasionally gather over gently flowing streams, as chiming guitars become distorted to meet primitive drum beats. Shade then gives way to glinting light as perfectly placed hand bells toy with Llwyd’s penetrating vocal. Yucatan’s sound, drawn from influences as varied as Radiohead, Hans Zimmer and Burt Bacharach, owes as much to the imagination as it offers in return, drawn equally from life in at the edge of Wales’ mountains as the vibrant streets of Barcelona and the glowing skies of Reykjavik.

Yucatan Press Shot - Large (cred. Dewi Glyn Jones)

Equally a people’s band and musicians’ band, Yucatan receives the continued support of TheCharlatans’ singer, songwriter and author, Tim Burgess, having supported the legendary band on their UK tour in late 2015. Burgess is effusive when asked about Uwch Gopa’r Mynydd, saying:
“Such a good album. There’s a magic to Yucatan’s music. A kind of uplifting melancholy that takes you to beautiful places.”
Entering a second year of touring, Yucatan has become an identifiable feature of major festival lineups in the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Wight Festival, Festival Number 6 and Kendal Calling, expanding their reach to once again include wider Europe during 2016, recalling the warmth of audiences in Poland, France and others on previous

5.30pm An Intimate Evening With Jill Liddington: All You Need To Know About Anne Lister. The Book Corner. £6.

Come along and ask historian and Anne Lister expert Jill Liddington all your Anne based questions. Approx 60 minutes. Tickets available in store.

7pm The Orielles + Cheap Teeth live at The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market. SOLD OUT

Live in The Albany Arcade of the town’s Victorian Borough Market.
Defiant in the face of existential dread, The Orielles were always going to approach their second album with nothing but stellar levels of intent. Disco Volador sees the 4-piece push their sonic horizon to its outer limits as astral travellers, hitching a ride on the melodic skyway to evade the space-time continuum through a sharp collection of progressive strato-pop symphonies.

7.30pm Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli:’The Amazing Bio Musical’. Square Chapel Arts Centre. £ Please check with Sq. Chapel box office 0343 208 6016

10pm till late:  James Endeacott & Sybil Bell Dj Set & Orielles After -Party at Meandering Bear. Free entry

Sunday 24th October

11am Dragons Of Wainhouse Tower Storytime. The Book Corner. Free entry.

Join Sarah Stone and Sue Cordingley for some interactive story telling. Dragons are welcome.Approx 30 minutes.

1pm Dr Simon Warner & Heath Common ‘Beat Raps And Rock Roots From Kerouac & Ginsberg To Dylan & The Beatles’. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

Beat Generation historian and rock lecturer Simon Warner talks to poet and musician Heath Common about the 1950s novelists and writers who shaped 1960s musical counterculture.

1.30pm Bess, What A Mess! Storytime. The Book Corner Free entry.

Come and meet Cathy Oakley Calvert and the star of her book Bess. Bess likes to help Saturday continued… her brother, Ned, but can she find his favourite fluffy yellow duck without getting too messy? If you are lucky you might also get to meet Ned, star of Ned, Go to Bed! Approx 30 minutes.

2pm The Landlubbers SquareChapel Arts Centre. Free entry.

2.30pm The Landlubbers Meandering Bear. Free entry.

2.30pm Bob Stanley & Tessa Norton. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

Bob Stanley & Tessa Norton talking about their book about The Fall entitled ‘Excavate’

3-4.30pm The Alchemist’s Kitchen: A Writing Workshop With Gaia Holmes. The Book Corner. £17

The alchemist’s kitchen is full of bottles containing strange, glittering, whispering potions. Join Gaia Holmes as she explores the art of transforming the mundanity of the everyday into something magical with the power of your pen. Tickets available in store.

3pm The Lovely Eggs + Bingo Harry. The Albany Arcade, Halifax Borough Market. £14 ***SOLD OUT**

In the Albany Arcade of Halifax Borough Market.
Bar inside courtesy of The Grayston Unity.
For the last two years The Lovely Eggs have sat back and watched England and the rest of the planet slowly eat itself. Their Number One Official UK Independent selling album “I am Moron” is the result of their observations, a relentless analysis of a modern culture that is bringing the world to its knees.
“I am Moron”, bears the fruit of The Lovely Eggs second collaboration with Grammy award winning producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Mogwai, MGMT, Tame Impala) at his studio in upstate New York. It captures the zeitgeist of post Brexit Britain and mysteriously seems to point towards the unimaginable future we’re now living in. Many songs on the album are about isolation and living a new way in a different world.
Even the artwork and album title reflect this, with inanimate objects drifting through space and a title which sums up the inherent stupidity and selfishness of the human race. Who would have predicted that on album release day people would be fighting in the streets for toilet roll. When The Lovely Eggs made “I am Moron” it was like they had a crystal ball.
Inspired by their own self imposed isolation living in Lancaster and operating resolutely outside the mainstream music industry, “I am Moron” took influence from the Mars One Programme, a global project which aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Applicants are offered a one way ticket- never to see earth again. This fascinated Holly and David who drew parallels between this mission and their own isolation as a band.
Sonically, the album brings with it a mix of heavy psych, pop and strangeness. Some songs flicker between an earthly realism and the otherworldly loneliness of a one way space mission. Insect Repellent launches a gonzo-style attack against the comfortable middle class lifestyle and Bearpit questions the essence of working class freedom.
Upon its release “I am Moron” went straight to Number One in the UK Independent Album Charts. It also took the Number One spot in the UK vinyl charts as well as the UK Independent Album Breakers Chart.
Debut single “This Decision” unfurled a seething two-minute-and-fifty-seconds of rage, reaching Number 1 in both the Official UK Physical and Vinyl Charts, with follow up single “Still Second Rate” ironically reaching Number 2 in the UK Official Physical and Vinyl charts.

3.30 pm Ben Graham talking about his book ‘Fogbound in Paris, the story of the Krumlin Festival. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

3.30pm The Landlubbers Temperance Movement. Free entry.

4.30pm Dave Simpson – Northern Music Correspondent for The Guardian .. The Life & Times Of A Northern Music Journalist. The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

5.15pm The Landlubbers The Grayston Unity. Free entry.

6-7.30pm Reading The HeedingWith Rob Cowen. The Book Corner. £10

A year of looking, listening and noticing across four unique seasons and thirty-five beautifully illustrated poems. Come along and hear Rob Cowen #readingtheheeding or possibly read one of his poems yourself. Tickets available in store.

7pm Turn The Page ‘Open Mic’ Poetry Night. The Village LGBT Bar. Free entry.

7.30pm An Evening With Reece Dinsdale. Square Chapel Arts Centre. £ Please check with Sq. Chapel box office 0343 208 6016


The Lovely Eggs (Photo by Darren Andrews)