Words by Heather Kincaid
For anyone who’s ever experienced the magic of the Moseley Folk Festival, it won’t be too much of a stretch to imagine Tolkienesque creatures emerging from the greenery around the festival site. So what better place to host Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films, with one adventure screening each day from 8th to 10th September.
Screenings will start at 7pm each day, with the films being show in order across the weekend: The Fellowship of the Ring (Fri 8th Sept), The Two Towers (Sat 9th Sept), The Return of the King (Sun 10th Sept). Adult tickets are priced at £23 per day or £60 for the weekend, with concessions for children over and under 12 years old. For direct event info, including venue details and online ticket sales, click here.
So why Moseley Park? Nestled behind an unassuming row of shops and cafés, the beautiful, eleven-acre urban oasis is sheltered from the Birmingham traffic by lush foliage. Steeped in 300 years of history, it feels almost as relaxed and picturesque as Bilbo Baggins’ beloved Shire, particularly when kitted out with the rainbow colours, floral displays and quaint and quirky crafts that accompany the festivals that take place on the site.
A peaceful lake is packed with fish and waterfowl, with a Grade II listed ice house that once served the Moseley Hall Estate built into a grassy hill in the heart of the park (rumoured to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s hobbit holes). Add to this the author’s well-documented Midlands connections, and it’s perhaps a wonder a Lord of the Rings-themed event didn’t happen here sooner.
There’s perhaps a good reason for this, however. Along with Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul, the Moseley Folk Festival is currently one of only two major commercial events happening in Moseley Park, both from the same festival organisers.
Run by a charitable trust, the park initially opened itself up as an event space to the Mosley Folk organsiers with some pretty stringent conditions attached – hoping they could protect the concerns of local residents whilst building on the foundations of the L’Esprit Manouche jazz events previously held there. Luckily the Moseley Folk team have done a good enough job keeping trustees happy to be permitted to expand activities there, albeit under the new, rather apt name of ‘Ice House Pictures’. Could the formation of the Ice House Picture be the beginning of a new series of outdoor screenings?
Either way, this weekend brings the event that the local LOTR fan community have been waiting for in all its glory: a three-day movie marathon scheduled to coincide with the Middle Earth Festival at the nearby Sarehole Mill, making for a veritable extravaganza for all die-hard Ringers.
Alongside the films, with high quality audio delivered via radio headsets, there’ll be live music from the Central England Camerata as conducted by Louis Clark Junior – plus storytelling, folk dance, children’s games, costumed actors, wandering minstrels and more.
So don your walking gear and prepare for the long hike out to Mordor and back – bearing in mind there’ll be prizes for the best costumes every day. While you’re around, why not check out the re-enactments, living history camp, weapons displays, costume pageants, medieval traders and more at the Middle Earth Festival at Sarehole Mill, Hall Green (9th to 10th Sept) where Tolkien lived and played as a child.
A word of warning though, if on your travels you happen across any mysterious jewellery or treasure hoarding beings… it’s probably best to steer clear.
For more on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Film Screening, visit www.moseleyfolk.co.uk/LOTR
For more information about Moseley Park, including news and event listings, visit www.moseleypark.co.uk