A North Yorkshire farmer is opening up his barn to members of the public for the seventh year running, to raise funds for Friends of The Friarage.
The annual Barn That Rocks event has become a labour of love for Peter Fall, 70, and wife, Barbara, who now combine the daily chores that come with running the Grazingnook Farm, near Patrick Brompton, close to Bedale, with organising an annual musical extravaganza.
The event, featuring live bands, a fully stocked bar and high quality, local food, has raised more than £30,000 for local charities in the past six years, including Great North Air Ambulance, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and local branches of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
And this year, on Saturday June 10, The Barn That Rocks, which attracted more than 800 people in 2016, is set to benefit The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, as profits go to Friends of The Friarage.
Peter explains how the idea for the event at the mixed arable and livestock farm came in solemn fashion – whilst at a funeral seven years ago.
“We were talking to friends who we met there and saying ‘isn’t it a pity we only ever see our friends at funerals?’ he said.
“From there the idea came to have an annual event featuring live music. Barbara and I like all music, from opera to heavy metal! We have a large grain store at the farm and we just decided to use it to put a bit of a night on.”
Eight weeks later, the first Barn That Rocks, in the form of a “sixties music night” took place at the farm, which has been in Peter’s family for three generations. It raised £3,800 and was quickly expanded so that it can now cater for more than 500 people.
This year, it has also gained sponsorship from Barkers of Northallerton and is being supported by staff from local branches of Barclays Bank.
Speaking of the secret of the event’s success, Peter said: “It’s a family event and there is something for everyone from the age of eight to 80.
“The bands play popular music from the last forty years right up to the present day – every song a hit – there is nothing obscure that you’ve never heard of.”
This year’s bands include Sugartown, 1Two3Four, and Stax soul and vintage R&B band. More details can be found on the event’s Facebook page.
Luxurious raffle prizes donated by local firms including Barkers of Northallerton, Sam Turner and Sons and Lewis & Cooper foods of Northallerton add to the attractions, including a barbecue worth £300, a garden seat worth £200 and luxury hampers worth £100.
The event has already been endorsed by nurses at The Friarage.
Peter explains that on his way out following a routine check-up after a hernia operation, a nurse stopped him in the corridor to ask whether the event would be back on this year.
“She told me that was the best night out her and her husband had ever had and said, “I started dancing at 7.45pm and I didn’t stop until after midnight when our taxi came for us!”
“We’re so pleased when we hear people enjoy the event as much as we do. Farming is quite a solitary existence and, despite the fact it’s hard work organising the event alongside daily farming duties, it does give us that one night of the year to enjoy ourselves and socialise.”
Peter is pleased to support The Friends of The Friarage – and his family’s local hospital.
He said: “It’s a great cause and we want to be able to help in whatever way we can.
“What’s so special is that it’s the Friends’ jubilee year and we’re proud to be holding this event for them in their year of celebrations.”
Dr Upendra Somasundram, chairman of The Friends of The Friarage, said: “We are over the moon that Peter and his wife Barbara are prepared to donate the proceeds of their spectacular event to The Friends of The Friarage in 2017 as we continue to celebrate our Jubilee year.
“We are looking forward to the event and hope that it will be enjoyed by hundreds of people from across the local area as in previous years.”
Tickets for the event, which runs from 7pm to 1am on June 10 are £12.50, available from the farm, Rhubarb and Roses, Bedale, Crakehall Filling Station, Andy’s Traditional Bakers of Leyburn, Inktoprint Northallerton, Food Weighhouse, Bedale and Corks and Cases Masham.