Holiday travel woes may be causing much heartache but the situation could mean a boon for live entertainment in Harrogate in the weeks ahead.
After an absence of two years during lockdown, Harrogate’s annual celebration of the arts promises Shakespearean performers, famous crime authors, talented classical and chamber musicians and one of the best-known names from the Manchester rave scene.
All that, plus the return of the magical Spiegeltent and a colourful street carnival.
Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals chief executive, said: “Two years ago, Covid shut the events industry down overnight - and our future was left hanging by a thread. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we are to announce our Summer Programme.”
The whole shebang gets off to an exhilarating start with DJ Graeme Park on Thursday, June 30 in the Spiegeltent, the quirky travelling performance venue which has become synonymous with HIF’s Music Festival.
The summer programme boasts many strings to its bow, with five key strands - Harrogate Music Festival, Spiegeltent, Berwins Salon North, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, and Harrogate Carnival.
After two tough years for the arts, Mrs Canavar says she is proud that the line-up offers not only old favourites but exciting debuts.
“The Spiegeltent has always been a popular performance venue. Harrogate doesn’t really have a sticky-floored jazz club, so this is our
equivalent,” she said.
“Our top picks over the nine days of the Spielgeltent include our Silent Disco, a revival of Jimmy’s Nightclub and, of course, DJ Graeme Park.
“But, as well as welcoming back a number of summer festival regulars, we are also delighted to introduce a host of new names to the Festival.”
Perhaps the biggest old favourite making a return is Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
Now Europe’s largest event dedicated to the celebration of crime fiction, it was first launched by HIF in 2003.
“The line-up for this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival is literally to die for,” said Sharon.
“For four days, lovers of crime fiction will be able to hear from some of the biggest and names in the industry bar at the Old Swan Hotel.”
With the brilliant Oddsocks company bringing back their unique interpretation of Shakespeare to RHS Garden Harlow Carr and Berwins Salon North feeding the mind with enlightening discussion, there will be no shortage of stimulating things to do in Harrogate for those who choose not to risk a holiday abroad this summer.
Of all the many gems in the HIF summer programme, it’s the final event, Carnival , held on Saturday, July 30 with the support of Harrogate Borough Council, which is getting organisers most excited.
First held in 2019, it is now back after the Covid delays.
“Carnival is an all-day, free family event which will bring the world to Harrogate as we celebrate a wealth of different cultures through dance, music and food,” said Sharon.