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Each year, in early October, we troll up to Marsden for the Jazz Festival. Most years, the weather lets us down and this year was no different. It’s not a ‘big’ issue, as many of the bands are playing indoors, but there are many more outdoor activities that are spoiled by the weather.

However, one regular outdoor activity amused me this weekend.

We’d been joined this year by Martin and Lin (MJF virgins) along with Karen and Dave, old festival hands. On Jazz Weekend Saturday, at 12.00 noon, there is always a Jazz Parade with the Red Rose Brass Band. This begins at the top of Peel Street, where it joins the A62. We all sheltered from the rain inside the New Inn on Manchester Road, and waited for the parade to start. One benefit of this move was that they sell Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, my favourite draught beer.

Anyway, the parade got started just after 12.00 noon and folk started to move around Marsden with the band. They play a New Orleans type Jazz as they mozzie on down, followed by school children all dancing in some kind of synchronised rhythm. Onlookers also follow the parade all the way around the village, including me. The amusing bit came when the band took a wrong turning and instead of heading for the underpass, they headed for the A62.

Now, the A62 (Manchester Road) isn’t what it was before being replaced by the M62 about forty years ago but it is still a busy arterial road between Yorkshire and Lancashire – even on a weekend. After much debate, the young copper charged with traffic control had to step in and stop the traffic from moving along this busy road while the parade passed. It wasn’t planned and was all the more amusing therefore when some of those car drivers stopped (for about five minutes!) chunttered about it.

It took me back to France, where they close down whole towns to allow this type of thing to happen. Just this year, in Montbron, they had decided to have a night market and closed down all of the through roads to allow it to happen. Tough if you didn’t know your way around. As I say – tough.

The rest of the festival has proceeded in its musical, damp way. I’ve just dropped Martin and Lin off in Marsden. I’ll pop back in an hour with John and Carol and watch/listen to Backwater Blues at The Shakespeare Inn on Peel Street! We’re all back here for dinner tonight. 🙂

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