A year in the life of a Wigan folk-rock band

A new documentary gets close up and personal with popular local band Merry Hell
A new documentary gets close up and personal with popular local band Merry Hell

A Wigan folk-rock band is putting its life in music and touring on the screen with a new documentary - and launching it with a high-profile event in the town.

Merry Hell, who have become popular on both the local and national scenes with their four albums, are the subject of the film A Year in the Life of Merry Hell.

And the result will be unveiled at The Old Courts with well-known radio personality Mark Radcliffe coming to Wigan to host the Q&A after the screening.

The film promises to show what it is really like to go out on the road in the 21st century music scene and gives fans unprecedented glimpses of life behind the scenes with the band.

In a statement the group said: “If life is a journey, ours has been more of a mystery tour wrapped up in an adventure that we really want to share.

“Wherever we go, we feel love and togetherness between band members and the people we meet.

“It’s a real privilege to be part of that, so we want to give our audience a deeper sense of who we are, where we come from, where we’ve been and where we’re going.

“We took our new camera behind the curtain, into our dressing rooms (when we had them), into our homes, on the road, to the soundchecks and service stations - and, along the way, into our thoughts, dreams and concerns.

“We hope that you’ll enjoy a peek into our experience of being a band - and into the joy of being Merry Hell, in what was a fabulous year for us.”

Originally founded from the ashes of The Tansads, Merry Hell is now an eight-piece consisting of vocalist Andrew Kettle, singer and guitarist Virginia Kettle, guitarist John Kettle, mandolin player Bob Kettle, keyboardist Lee Goulding, fiddler Neil McCartney, bassist Nick Davies and drummer Andy Jones.

The group has racked up considerable acclaim, both in Wigan and further afield, for its songwriting, lyrics and for the energy and enthusiasm of its live shows.

In an indication of the group’s hard-touring schedule, Merry Hell will actually be rushing back to their hometown for the film screening having played a festival in Oxfordshire on the Saturday night.

The group recently made an appearance on home soil by headlining Wigan Pride, a festival which has adopted Merry Hell’s song Lovin’ The Skin You’re In as its anthem.

After the documentary has been screened to a sold-out audience at the Crawford Street arts hub there will be the chance to quiz the band for around an hour.

The group hopes the film will further cement the close-knit relationship between the musicians and their large and loyal fanbase.

The documentary will be screened on September 1 at 1pm. For more information about the band visit www.merryhell.co.uk