OPINION: Celebrating the return of live events - Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals

Where has the summer gone? It feels like it went in a flash.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:02 pm

The grim rain of August has disappeared and as we head back on the school run the sunshine has come out! Remind me to book this week off next year.

I do love a new term. I feel like I need a new pencil case and trainers for PE too.

It certainly feels like a new term here at HIF Towers, some semblance of being able to plan, perhaps build the team again and even start to make some exciting events happen.

The Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival is our next big event on the scene.

We will be back to live events at the Crown Hotel with a host of speakers including Ed Miliband MP teaching us how to fix the world, Channel 5’s Graeme Hall, the ‘Dogfather’, will be teaching us how to train a happy, healthy dog or in my case try and get my pandemic pooch to actually listen to any sort of instruction.

Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York will be with her co-writer Marguerite Kaye to talk about her latest addition to ‘Bridgerton lit’ and the QI Elves will be ensuring we know all the answers to life’s oddities including why spiders can’t get out the bath!

There’s more too.

Historian Dr Kate Vigurs will be returning to her home-town of Harrogate to tell the amazing story of the women of the SOE; artist and activists Led By Donkeys will be spilling the secrets behind their night time guerrilla poster campaign and Dr Waheed Arian will be sharing his journey from Afghanistan and shining a light on the extraordinary contributions refugees can make to the host communities that welcome them.

Comedian Robin Ince will share why scientific wonder isn’t just for the professionals and Dr Alastair Santhouse will teach us how our emotions are inextricably linked to our physical wellbeing.

2020 Costa Book of the Year winner Monique Roffey will be at the festival to talk about her award- winning book; explore What’s Next with our panel of experts including Newsnight’s Gavin Esler; and as Cop 26 approaches we’ll be discussing climate change with Code Red For Humanity and a host of experts and tackling the topic of how museums should adapt to the modern world.

We know that festivals are more than what takes place inside a venue and we believe they should always be a great celebration of place.

That’s why we’re delighted to tease you with some extra special events as part of this year’s Festival.

We’ll be working in October to bring you the Stop Me & Book One with projector bikes across town, along with the opportunity to pick up a free book of your own.

We are also incredibly proud to share just a few details of a new commission working with sound artist Dan Fox and lighting expert James Bawn to create 1571 The Waters That Made Us on Crown Place in Harrogate over the week of the festival.

The installation will feature and celebrate the waters during their heyday using sound and light on the cobbled street around the Pump Rooms.

We’re excited, nervous and more than a little proud to have worked with a fantastic range of partners, sponsors and stakeholders to create a new temporary artwork that celebrates the great history of our town and adds a new tourist attraction to the town during October.

Please come and support us as we start to open our doors again and celebrate live events in Harrogate, we can’t wait to see you.