SLIDESHOW: Fantastic fun at the Harrogate International Festival

Title sponsor Simon Theakston with author Lee Child and CEO of Harrogate Festivals Sharon Canavar
Title sponsor Simon Theakston with author Lee Child and CEO of Harrogate Festivals Sharon Canavar

It’s been a resounding success for Harrogate International Festivals’ month long Music Festival, which embraced the theme ‘Generations’.

Throughout the Festival, hosted across the month of July, over 6,000 tickets were printed, with 28 events taking place in 8 venues and featuring 316 performers.

Star acts included Sir Bryn Terfel and The John Wilson Orchestra.

Four talented young performers appeared as part of the Festivals’ Young Musicians Series, a performance by BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists was recorded live at the Royal Hall and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and almost 500 people of all ages attended a Family Concert with the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra.

Harrogate International Festivals’ outreach delivery - a programme of pre-concert talks, workshops, community and creative learning events – also featured strongly.

As well as continuing its legacy of supporting Young Musicians and new audiences, over 550 adults and 600 children, attended or participated in its free events.

Author Mari Hannah, the Festival’s Reader in Residence, hosted The Big Read engaging readers with free books and reading workshops in libraries across the North. The Big Sing, a free event at St Peter’s Church, saw multiple generations of people come and sing together.

This was led by Christopher Monks, director of the internationally acclaimed Armonico Consort who were also the Festivals’ Artists in Residence.

The Big Write, the largest free children’s literacy workshop in the UK, engaged 600 primary school children, delivered by education experts, Pobble, in partnership with Ashville Harrogate Prep School. Hosted at the Royal Hall, it featured poet, Ian McMillan.

Brian O’Regan, Music Manager at Harrogate International Festivals, said: “It’s part of our ambition to champion new artists and audiences, and engage local communities, as well as showcasing the finest international acts, so we’re really thrilled with what we’ve achieved.

"The arts enrich our lives. From our Family Concert, and pre-school music and storytelling workshop, to Songs and Scones for older audiences, we’ve really worked hard to engage all generations. The arts are a universal and unifying force that brings us all together.”

Alongside the Music Festival, Harrogate International Festivals also delivered its world-famous Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

This year’s event sold-out with 16,500 individual tickets over four days. It reached over five million Twitter users, with 15 million impressions during the week of the Festival.

The event is famed for its no barriers approach, as fans, fledgling writers and established superstar authors mingle in the hotel bar, bookshop and papakata tents in the hotel grounds.

It attracted enormous media attention for the town, with film crews from Sky News, BBC Inside Out, and ITV Calendar. Press in attendance also included the Novel of the Year media partners the Mail on Sunday, alongside other national newspapers.

Victoria Ibbertson, Literature Festivals Manager, said: “The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival really puts Harrogate on the literary map. 2017’s Programming Chair Elly Griffiths put together a world-class programme of events, including titans of the genre Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, and Dennis Lehane, as well as an exclusive Vera and Grantchester TV panels with actors Brenda Blethyn and Robson Green. Advance hotel bookings for 2018 at the Festival venue, the Old Swan Hotel, are almost sold out already!”

July also featured Berwins Salon North, a TED-style night out with leading experts, which continues in September.

The next major Festival in its annual delivery is the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival in October, featuring a stellar line-up of literary stars, including Martin Sixsmith, Dame Jenni Murry, Joan Bakewell and Victoria Hislop.

Harrogate International Festivals also presents an evening of entertainment with House of Burlesque & Silent Disco on Thursday 21 September at the Royal Hall.