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It’s on! Valley Gardens summer festival will happen - say organisers

NADV 1706121AM3 Gary Simmonds of Happygate Festival. (1706121AM3)
NADV 1706121AM3 Gary Simmonds of Happygate Festival. (1706121AM3)

The leading organiser of a popular Harrogate arts festival in the Valley Gardens says it will definitely happen this year.

Gary Simmonds said public confusion over Harrogate Borough Council’s policy on summer events in the park earlier this year had left some people with the wrong impression about this all-day feast of family entertainment which attracts crowds of 25,000.

H said: “Happygate is definitely going ahead this year. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that it’s not going to happen, but I had a meeting with Harrogate SAG (safety advisory group) which is made up of representatives from the emergency services and several different council departments.

“They raised no objections and the senior police officer present sang our praises.”

Run independently by unpaid volunteers for charity, what will be the third annual Happygate Festival is scheduled to take place on Sunday, July 8 from 11am to 9pm.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council, said it supported Happygate but a contract for this year’s event had yet to be signed and the situation was “provisional.”

Andy Carter, Harrogate Borough Council’s interim communications and engagement manager, said: “We’re very supportive of the festival but the event isn’t approved yet because neither a liability insurance certificate nor a performing rights licence have been supplied.

“It might be a formality, but as it stands, it’s provisional. We’re not in a position to draft the paperwork for the fees to be paid but the organisers are entitled to promote the event.”

Happygate organiser Gary Simmonds said the community event, which includes live music, art displays, children’s activities, food stalls and a liquid refreshments tent, was currently looking for sponsors.

He said: “I am confident that Happygate will go ahead and that it will again prove to be a fantastic success enjoyed by everyone just like the past two year’s events.

“Over the past two years we have raised thousands of pounds for some very deserving local charities by giving the good people of Harrogate a fun day out, which is not bad for a free festival.

“Harrogate council has informed us that there were 25,000 there last year, despite it raining quite a bit, and 26,000 the previous year.

“We are looking for a sponsor for Happygate this year as it is an excellent opportunity for a local company to help support it’s local community and secure great PR coverage.”

Unlike some events in Harrogate, the programme for the festival is made up purely of local talent.

In previous years, Happygate has raised funds for Ependymoma, a children’s brain tumour research charity set up in memory of Harrogate musician Chris Bramhall, and Craft Aid International, run by Susie Hart MBE, a Harrogate-based charity that enables, empowers and supports people with disabilities.

As well as sponsorship, organisers are inviting applications from bands or acts who would like to perform at this year’s Happygate.

Potential act or sponsors should get in touch via happygate.co.uk or email joinin@happygate.co.uk