Filling the Gaps Others Can’t Reach…

Festivals… you’ll have often see me talk about how they fill the gaps in the town, they create community, produce events that are unique and are built around the area in which we live.

We have form with this. We are not just events from a stage. From setting the Valley Gardens on fire with Carabosse in 2016, to the oddly ethereal interior of a bouncy castle with Luminarium, to the moving In Memoriam on the Stray as a commemoration of those we had lost during the pandemic – we hope that the Festival hits the right spot at the right time.

This Autumn season we have had lots of fun with the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival. Yes, a host of entertaining, challenging and thought-provoking speakers have been on stage but we have also created an exciting programme in the streets across Harrogate.

We took projector bikes to the town centre with 300 families and various projected crabs, dinosaurs,

caterpillars and polar bears all moving across the walls and floors of Harrogate. We saw Copthall Tower in a whole new light and the projections across the side of St Peter’s Church brought excited screams of delight from kids interacting with a full size moving polar bear.

From projector bikes to animating one of the most beautiful streets in the town.

Crown Place, the beautifully cobbled street between the Crown Hotel and the Pump Room Museum was the host for a light and sound installation called #Harrogate1571. With 2021 being the 450th Anniversary of the discovery of the waters in Harrogate, we felt the time was right to celebrate.

We commissioned artists in Dan Fox who came to town and recorded the waters bubbling up from the springs beneath the ground who partnered James Bawn to create a beautiful feast of watery light across the front of the Crown Hotel and down Crown Place which became the home of instagrammers looking for the perfect back drop and children with their glow sticks across the 9 days the event was on.

Despite high footfall events like this don’t attract huge ticket sales. They’re usually free or at a nominal cost to the audience. We want to try and keep it this way. Why shouldn’t Harrogate have experiences that usually belong in a city or as part of a significant cultural celebration. We’re able to do this thanks to a host of sponsors and supporters who support us both across the year and for specific projects.

We’re lucky that Harrogate has philanthropists at every level. Has commercial sponsors that want to ensure the town in which they work, employ and trade has a cultural offering and it is thanks to them that we are able to produce work that delights all ages and given the last 20 months puts a smile on people’s faces.