Welcome to Blackpool

Durham University arrived in Blackpool for the 1965 Festival to find all the pitches were on parkland, none of them drained and most of them rutted. There were only twenty-five teams, all men’s, and each had to provide their own umpires. The ‘programmes’ consisted of a single sheet fixture list and the social scene was restricted to meeting in a local pub – The Golden Fleece – in the evenings. As students we wanted the cheapest accomodation we could find. This led to some of us having not only to share rooms but to share beds as well!

But no matter – we couldn’t wait to be back for Festival 1966. I suppose the fact that the left winger (me!) scored a bagful of goals added gloss to my view of the Festival, a first ever visit to the Pleasure Beach added even more gloss and a promise from Gypsy Rose Lee in her Golden Mile booth that I was soon to receive an unexpected large sum of money was the best gloss of all.

‘Blackpool’ was magic to a young lad still in his teens and every festival over the following forty-nine years has been just as magical.

I suppose my fiftieth attendance is some kind of achievement and a reason to mull over the countless memories I have. But the current committee’s five year plan to make each succeeding festival BIGGER AND BETTER and Blackpool the place to be for hockey afficiadoes is undoubtedly right on course. Last year a teenager was heard to say on his journey home, “The last five days have definitely been the happiest of my life”, and this was only one of many effusive ‘feedbacks’ the organisers received.

 ‘Music to our ears’!

This year you will find more than ‘fine tuning’ of the Festival. There is an extra grass pitch with a fine surface at the Cricket Club, and the festival headquarters plus much else is relocated from the Sports Centre to make the Cricket Club the Festival’s nerve centre.

The social events have amongst them some new ventures too. If you love hockey and love socialising then forget your hotel and forget your bed – we have non-stop 24 hour enjoyment
for you!

Whilst I welcome everyone to the sixty-third Festival I hold out a special greeting to the ‘first-timer’. I’m sure you’ll be back.

As they say these days – ENJOY!!

George Robson
Festival President and Chairman