Dear Reader: Let’s drink to a Harrogate independent food & drink festival

Graham Chalmers.
Graham Chalmers.

Column by Harrogate Advertiser’s Graham Chalmers

Is Harrogate finally turning into a great place for a pub crawl?

It might well be, for Leeds’ popular North Bar looks set to open in town.

If it does, it will join the growing list of ‘craft beer’ bars and ‘real ale’ pubs in the district which has seen the likes of Ten Devonshire Place, Harrogate Tap, Major Tom’s Social and Knaresborough’s Half Moon join older pioneers such as The Old Bell in Harrogate, Blind Jack’s in Knaresborough and The One Eyed Rat in Ripon.

When you throw in a plethora of independent cafes and restaurants popping up everywhere, it’s eminently possible that independent is now becoming the mainstream.

Perhaps it’s time the Harrogate district had its own independent food and drink festival?

l There I sat in the cloistered hush of St Andrew’s Church near Boroughbridge listening to the glorious playing of Maxim Rysanov (viola) and Ashley Wass (piano).

The Northern Aldborough Festival is a minor miracle - world class musicians performing in intimate venues in a tiny but picture perfect Yorkshire village.

It’s like having Placido Domingo sing in your living room.

But even paradise has its troubles.

While talking to some of the festival’s volunteers before the concert, I learnt that in the past six months or so every single flyer or sign put up to promote events in the village had been taken down within hours of being put up.

The perpetrators didn’t discriminate, they added, no local group or local event was immune from these strange disappearances in leafy Aldborough.

For anyone who’s ever read the detective novels of Dorothy L. Sayers, it’s the perfect scenario for a Lord Peter Wimsey story.

The mystery of the missing signs.