Revellers soaked up six hours of incredible vibes at the end-of-summer celebration with authentic world cuisine, quality drinks, live music and DJ sets.
Organised by Pontefract locals Hayley Pennock and Rachel Riley, Yonder’s remarkable debut brought together an exciting line-up of music artists with independent food trucks and artisan stalls at the historic venue.
As co-organiser of Pontefract’s popular annual Friarwood Festival, Rachel teamed up with sister-in-law and fellow food lover Hayley to create an exciting new social destination for adults in their community.
“The atmosphere was absolutely electric,” said Rachel. “It seemed like everyone experienced this phenomenal flow of positivity. No one wanted it to end.”
Tickets for the event sold out online hours before doors opened, with a small amount set aside for walk-ins. Guests and artists travelled from Essex, Guildford and Manchester to attend and one visitor to the region from Florida even snagged a ticket.
Danny Egan, aka Subject Citizen, opened for the acoustic acts inside the mill with crowd-pleasing folk punk. He was followed by breathtaking sets from emerging talents Kate Armstrong and Lisa Tho, while Castleford music sensation Jack Walton enthralled the crowd with a powerful acoustic and guitar solo to close.
Outside, DJs Baldeep Bassi, Chris Corless and Craig McDermot kept the decks spinning and revellers dancing from 4pm til closing, breaking only for sax player Charlotte Counter to show off her skills to thrilled guests.
Diners enjoyed stunning Indian street food from The Spicy Biker, delicious wood-fired sourdough pizzas from the Pizza Box Co and off-the-scale bakes and handcrafted soft drinks from famous Castleford bakery, Bake My Day.
Fizz and spirits served up by The Spirited Turtle truck included signature cocktails from a bespoke menu, included Yonder Sunset and a liquorice concoction honouring neighbouring Pontefract’s liquorice heritage.
Yorkshire Craft Beers and artisan coffee roasters Recent Beans, both based in the Queen’s Mill, took starring roles in the foodie line-up, providing quality ales and freshly roasted coffees.
“Everyone was so happy,” said Hayley. “It’s been a tough 18 months for us all but on the positive side, the pandemic has brought a new-found appreciation of our surroundings and community. Yonder is a celebration of that. It was time for the grown ups to unwind and celebrate the end of summer.
A Sunset Sellers Market themed around “Good Vibes and Positivity” gave visitors access to a selection of independent local makers and creators offering hand-poured luxury candles, gemstones, houseplants and jewellery.
Rachel and Hayley chose to donate a portion of ticket sales to Castleford Food Bank at the Link, raising £150 for the charity.
The backdrop to the event was once thought to be the world’s largest stoneground flour mill and has been painstakingly restored by Castleford Heritage Trust. The charity still oversees the staff and volunteers who keep the mill running.
“We love that by renting space from the Queen’s Mill Yonder is supporting another charity that gives directly back to the community,” said Rachel.
“This was our first event and we’re delighted with how it went down. We can’t wait to do it again.”
The pair hopes Yonder will take place at the Mill again soon and potentially at other locations in the area.
“We’re here for a good time, not a long time but if there’s an appetite for Yonder – and it certainly seems so – we’re up for making it a regular fixture in the Five Towns,” said Hayley.
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