Macclesfield pub's charity music festival enters tenth year

By Alex Greensmith

31st Jan 2023 | Local News

Left to right: The Swan with Two Necks landlady Wendy Smith, Swanload Organiser Kiara Bailey (who also used to work at the pub), and pub manager Jenna Naylor. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)
Left to right: The Swan with Two Necks landlady Wendy Smith, Swanload Organiser Kiara Bailey (who also used to work at the pub), and pub manager Jenna Naylor. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

A Macclesfield pub have confirmed the return of their spring charity music festival.

The Swan with Two Necks have announced their line-up for Swanload 2023, which will take place on April 29 and April 30.

Despite a struggling decade for pubs, The Swan with Two Necks have gone above and beyond for others.

For the last decade they have ran Swanload, which raises vital funds for a different charity every year.

The festival will take place on a Bank Holiday weekend. (Image - The Swan with Two Necks)

Previous year's causes include Macclesfield animal charity Windyways and Lupus UK.

Other years include stroke and diabetes charities. But this year will see the Throat Cancer Foundation benefit from the pub's efforts.

We spoke to former organiser and current publican Wendy Smith, and Kiara Bailey about what to expect from this year's event.

"We're doing it for the Throat Cancer Foundation as my brother has recently been diagnosed," said Wendy.

This year will raise money for Throat Cancer Foundation. Previous festivals have raised money for causes like Windyways, who are based on the same street as the pub. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

"He found a lump, went to the hospital and had treatment straight away. So we want to do something to raise awareness for that. Hopefully he can come down for the event.

"We usually raise between £600 and £900 each year, so it must be close to ten grand in total over the years."

While not all the acts are revealed yet, the headliners include Manchester outfit VLKA, with sea-shanty-twinged metal music that will blow your face off.

Offering a more mellow and introspective take on the genre are Sunday's headliner Dystopian Sun, who will travel from Wales for their first Macclesfield gig.

They are one of the few pubs in Macclesfield to have their own house lager. It is called 'SW2N'. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

There will be two local cover bands, and other local talent is hoping to be added to the billing.

The festival benefits the bands as much as the charity, giving a headline slot in a packed venue for a good cause.

Aside Swanload have also held separate charity events throughout the year, from skydives to another fund-raising music festival called Keithstock (which will happen this weekend).

The family-ran pub is one of just two proper live music venues in Macclesfield.

Previous Swanload's have raised money for stroke and diabetes charities. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

"We believe it is important to do our bit for live music ", said Kiara.

"Over the past ten years the number of live music venues has decreased nationwide.

"We even did a virtual Facebook open mic during lockdown to support the bands that often play here during COVID.

"The community really pulled together and helped out during that.

Swanload aside, the pub are known for hosting events every day. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

"If people are willing to come and pay £90 to go to an arena concert, why shouldn't they be able to come to a much more affordable event on your doorstep?"

Money will be raised for charity from the sales from the Swanload wristband and merchandise.

There are also buckets around the pub during the two-day festival, and there will be a raffle which the pub are asking for Macclesfield businesses to donate to.

Wristbands can be ordered behind the bar from Monday February 13 at The Swan with Two Necks, with cash and card options available.

20% of the UK's small music venues shut between 2004 and 2019. But this Macclesfield pub and live music venue is still going strong, in part thanks to Swanload. (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

It costs £3 for a one-day ticket, or £5 for both days.

"I think it is important for pubs to support charities as we know they are suffering just like the hospitality industry," added Wendy.

"They don't get much support from the government and a lot of them rely on the public.

"We might not be raising millions, but it helps. We feel it is important to give back to the community."

Macclesfield: Do you have any memories of the charity music festival? (Image - Alexander Greensmith / Macclesfield Nub News)

Kiara concluded: "We would like to thank the people of Macclesfield their support over the years.

"I would also like to shout out my husband Josh Bailey and my very good friend Hannah Mottershead who have both previously worked at the pub in some capacity, and have both helped with Swanload for the last few years alongside me."

According to the Throat Cancer Association, 14,500 people are diagnosed with throat-related cancers in the country each year.

4,500 Brits will lose their lives various throat-related cancers. That's about one person every two hours.

The Swan with Two Necks is located on 65 Chestergate, Macclesfield SK11 6DG.

A spokesperson said: "The Throat Cancer Foundation works to reduce future cases of throat cancers. This includes; funding research into prevention and cure, advocating healthier lifestyles and campaigning for universal HPV vaccination".

 "It is not a cancer that is often spoken about; there are little to no national publicity campaigns and for that reason it does not attract funding like other cancers to help raise awareness and to allow major investment in vital and important medical research that would achieve improved treatment processes and achieve better survival rates".

Macclesfield: Listen to the headliners HERE and HERE.

Follow the west Chestergate pub on Facebook.

See Also: New Macclesfield store sells eco-friendly treats and gifts for dogs 

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