Arts festival is ready to bounce back in 2021 in Harrogate district

One of the Harrogate district's finest arts festivals - and one of the best regarded in the whole of the north - looks set to return this year after Covid.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 12:02 pm
Leading music festival, Northern Aldborough Festival, which is based at Aldborough Church, was forced to cancel last year because of the pandemic.

Leading classical, jazz and blues music festival, Northern Aldborough Festival was forced to cancel last year because of the pandemic.

But its Harrogate-based director Robert Ogden said things were now looking good after the announcement of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown to bring back real events to the lovely village of Aldborough, located seven miles north-east of Knaresborough near Boroughbridge.

Mr Ogden said: "We are reasonably fortunate that the bulk of our programme is after the Government's date for ending lockdown on June 12.

"We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to continue with our festival in 2021 and we will have a very exciting programme to launch.

"How much of it is in person and how much streamed depends on how the road map pans out over the next couple of months, but we have the artists lined up and ready."

The four-stage plan to return to normal allows arts venues such as museums, cinemas to reopen from May 17.

Commercial art galleries will be permitted to reopen sooner, from April 12 along with non-essential shops.

Live venues and in-person events are still likely to be among the last sectors of society to re-open fully this year.

But the Government’s new roadmap out of lockdown in phases see no major loosening of social contact rules indoors until the third stage on - provisionally - May 17 and, even, then there will be social distancing rules in place and capacity limits.

Bringing world-class musicians to intimate venues, along with renowned authors and leading personalities, Northern Aldborough Festival has built up a nationwide reputation since it was first launched in 1994 to raise funds for the restoration of the organ in Aldborough Church.

The festival has witnessed significant expansion in subsequent years, under the stewardship of subsequent artistic directors Martin Dreyer, Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred and Robert Ogden, and while it no longer raises money for the church specifically, it continues with a core aim of bringing exceptional music from world class performers to new audiences, in rural locations where it wouldn’t normally be heard.

The current organising team of Festival Director Robert Ogden and Festival Coordinator Philippa Abrahams reports to the Festival Board chaired by Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred.

The Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018.

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