Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a celebratory event at the Royal Hall to mark Harrogate International Festivals’ 50th anniversary today (18 Feb).
During the visit Their Royal Highnesses met with Festival supporters, staff and beneficiaries and the event showcased the diversity of the Festivals’ programmes. HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of the Festivals.
Harrogate International Festivals has fired up hearts and minds since its inception in 1966, revolutionising the cultural landscape of the North Yorkshire spa town. A charitable organisation, its passion, ambition and innovative eye maintains its position as an arts organisation delivering Festivals of national importance, as well as a key cultural provider for the North throughout the year.
TRH were introduced to elements of HIF’s outreach and education work from Musical Mums – a singing group for young mums and their babies, and Kids, Spies and Private Eyes – a literary initiative with schools across the region.
Volunteers, supporters and Friends of Harrogate International Festivals enjoyed a recital performance from alumni of the Festival’s celebrated Young Musician’s platform including soprano Lesley Garrett CBE and clarinettist Emma Johnson MBE, introduced on stage by Julian Lloyd Webber. The Festival helped launch the early careers of all three musicians.
Vice-President of Harrogate International Festivals, Lesley Garrett CBE, said: “What is so wonderful about the Festival is its long-standing tradition of delivering such high standards in international music, but also its commitment to offering a platform to new young musicians and performers. I was one of them. Without these kinds of opportunities and the support of audiences, emerging young musicians are at risk. I was lucky to have the support of the Festival, who took the risk of investing in me when I was unknown.”
Fiona Movley, Chairman of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We were delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to Harrogate to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Harrogate International Festivals. We were especially pleased to introduce Their Royal Highnesses to the work we do with schools, young people and the local community along with our dedicated team. It was a most memorable and enjoyable occasion – Julian Lloyd Webber and Emma Johnson MBE are ‘Future 50 Vice Presidents’ alongside authors, business leaders, and philanthropists, who are backing the campaign to raise £1m to safeguard the future 50 years of the arts charity.
Emma Johnson said: “I wholeheartedly endorse the Festival Future 50 campaign and in these times of cuts to classical music provision, I hope people can give generously to help the Harrogate Festivals continue their excellent and pioneering work bringing the gift of music to young and old alike in the Yorkshire region.”
Lee Child, Val McDermid, Simon Theakston, Peter McCormick OBE, Dr Terry Bramall CBE and Liz Bramall and the Earl of Harewood are also Vice Presidents of the Future 50 campaign.
Over the last 12 months the Festivals have delivered over 300 distinct events and attracted over 90,000 people to its portfolio of activities.