Pilton let its hair down on Saturday at an emotional Green Man event that paid homage to some of the festival’s late greats.
Thousands braved the showers to support the annual festivities, held for the first time since the deaths of Albert Linacre, Dave Butt and Laurie Wedge, who have all played key parts in organising the festival over the years.
The traditional parade to Pilton from the Square paused outside Albert’s house to allow for rapturous applause and cheer in honour of the gone-but-not-forgotten trio.
Pilton Festival organiser Martin Haddrill said it was a day to remember.
He said: “This festival has been a real tribute to Albert, Laurie and Dave in its different ways; they saw it evolve into something which is a really special community festival.
“Unexpectedly, it’s been an amazing day because very often the rain dampens things,” he added.
“We thought this year’s numbers might be a bit less than last year, but actually they have been right up where they were so we’re really pleased.”
Alison Rickman, from Northam, who makes costumes for the event, said: “I came first in 1998 and love to make costumes so asked to join in, and have been coming now for 12 years.
“It takes me about an hour to put on my costume and has taken me a few years to make it.”
Duncan Walsh, a visitor from London, said: “Coming here – there’s no security, people just enjoying themselves, drinking in the streets; the atmosphere is amazing.”
“For a street festival it’s very busy, much busier than some of the festivals you get in London.”
The endless factory-line of musical talent in North Devon was showcased once again across three stages, with Tyler Prouse booming his voice from the bottom stage, and the Dambuskers keeping everyone on their feet on the top stage.
Molly Davies, who performed with her dad John on the bottom stage, said: “We had lots of fun even though it was raining and everyone was really welcoming.
“It’s such an individual festival and tight-knit community; it felt like everyone was connected when we applauded outside Albert’s house.”
Jennie Tomlinson, who ran the middle stage, said: “It’s gone very well – despite the rain everyone’s turned up, played exceptionally well, we’ve had a great crowd and as usual we’ve had a wonderful time.”
Stalls peppering Pilton Street and the Pilton House grounds included local charities, the Rotary Club, freshly baked cakes and cookies, ethnic clothing outlets, barbecue grills, and the brand new local authors’ book stand.
Michelle Woollacott, who initiated the idea, said: “We thought it would be more personal if our readers could come and talk to us; we’ve had a lot of interest and it’s been an interactive day.”
Ruth Downie, who has had numerous novels published in Britain and the USA, said: “This is the first time I’ve ever done a stall at Green Man and I’m so impressed.
“I would urge anyone who is thinking about starting writing to just have a go as you never know what could happen.”