Didsbury Arts Festival

Didsbury Arts festival is a volunteer led multi arts festival celebrating creative culture in Didsbury, through working with local, national and international artists. 

We are a biennial festival. The next edition will take place from 24th June - 2nd July 2017. The festival theme will be Roots. If you would like to join the 2017 team, please get in touch.

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The Loneyby Andrew Michael Hurley
The Loney is not just good, it’s great. It’s an amazing piece of fiction.’ Stephen King

Conventional religion clashes with something darker and far nastier in Andrew Michael Hurley’s best-selling, debut novel.

Set in the seventies, Hurley’s deeply unsettling tale belongs to the British folk horror tradition of the same era, with its echoes of the nightmarish paganism of The Wickerman. The Loney of the title refers to a bleak stretch of the East Lancashire coast, ‘a wild and useless length of English coastline. A dead mouth of a bay that filled and emptied twice a day and made Coldbarrow a desolate spit of land a mile off the coast – into an island.’

It is here that the devoutly Catholic Smith family make their annual Easter pilgrimage with neighbours and their new parish priest, a jovial Irishman who is regarded with disapproval by his grim-faced flock. Their intended visit to the Loney’s holy well is the latest attempt to achieve a miracle cure for young Hanny Smith, born with learning difficulties.

Told in a series of flashbacks by Hanny’s (now adult) brother, a sense of impending doom hangs over the novel from the first page. Hurley’s evocative use of landscape and nature enhances the story’s creepiness, while the narrator’s encounters with hostile locals and a pregnant teenager, in the dubious ‘care’ of menacing adults, do

nothing to dispel the gloom. As gruesome effigies appear in the woods and weird objects are found closer to home, the novel edges towards its horrifying conclusion.

DAF is fortunate to welcome Andrew before he heads off for Moscow, one of the many countries which have published The Loney in translation. Andrew has also been busy completing a second novel, Devil’s Day. Set in the Briardale Valley, this not-so everyday tale of farming folk is also likely to keep you up at night. You have been warned!

THE HAUNTED NORTH, Thursday 29 June (7.30 pm), Didsbury Baptist Church, School Lane/Beaver Road corner, £5

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Review by Deborah Grace