A weather eye on Music in the Gardens

Fans enjoying the Music in the Gardens
Fans enjoying the Music in the Gardens

The weather can’t be worse than last year … can it?

A deluge meant the headlining 10cc concert in the Botanical Gardens last July was touch and go, while rain during the rest of the week hit attendances on the three other nights (although it was mainly dry during performances).

But Music in the Gardens went ahead thanks to a huge effort from the Rotary Clubs of South Yorkshire, who brought in an army of volunteers and laid tarpaulins and bales of hay on the grass courtesy of Bradfield dairy Our Cow Molly.

Working overnight, the volunteers ensured that the ground did not become too muddy. Many events that week were called off because of the heavy rain. It helped that the Botanical Gardens audience could use concrete paths, and there was no grass car park.

Next week sees the eighth series, with award-winning folk band Bellowhead (led by Sheffield-based singer and fiddle player Jon Boden) taking the limelight next Thursday.

Kicking off next Wednesday will be Bruce Foxton’s band, From The Jam.

Friday features a ‘salsa spectacular’ with Omar Puente’ and the series ends in traditional style with flag waving and fireworks as Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Dodworth Colliery Band take to the temporary stage.

The four nights are a big fundraiser for local charities.

Because only £10,000 was raised last year, compared with £57,000 in 2012, last year’s charities will also be receiving a share of this year’s proceeds

It’s to try to ensure that Safe@Last, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Sheffield Young Carers, Barnado’s Rotherham Young Carers and Breast Cancer Care do not miss out.

“The weather wasn’t their fault, and we felt it was unfair on them,” said event organiser Carly Whitfield.

Added to the list of beneficiaries this time are Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the Cathedral Archer Project and, a churches’ soup waggon. Music in the Gardens is designed to appeal to everyone, said Carly.

“When it started eight years ago it was a weekend jazz festival, two nights with local bands. Then it expanded to four days and we tried to get different genres of music to appeal to more people. We were trying to be a bit more adventurous.” So it’s fingers crossed for the weather. “We like to think it doesn’t put people off. People still came last year when it was awful weather. But we are much more likely to get people turning up and bringing their picnics if the sun is shining.” More than £100,000 has been raised for charity over the seven years.