A MONTH of arts, entertainment and celebration began yesterday (Friday, August 1) as the annual Ilkley Summer Festival got underway.

Starting with Yorkshire Day festivities, the festival is back in town once again this year and offering all kinds of music, entertainment and treats for both townspeople and visitors to Ilkley.

As always, the festival began with the Yorkshire Day festivities - this year with the declaration being made at the bandstand on The Grove.

Bigger events and concerts are taking place every weekend, and highlights this year include a studio theatre being set up on The Grove, as well as the return of favourites such as the continental street market on The Grove.

Other events include the cricket school taking part at Ben Rhydding Cricket Club next week, and Heritage Guided Walks taking place throughout the month.

Also coming up this week will be This Concert Needs You - a nostalgic concert of music popular in 1914, on the eve of the outbreak of the First World War. This will take place at St Margaret's Church, Queens Road, on Saturday, starting at 7.30pm.

The continental street market will be back on The Grove from August 8-10.

The Dolce Vita cabaret weekend will see Dominic Halpin and the Honey Bs return to The Grove for a concert on August 16, supported by the Tre Tenori, The following day, family fun and sparkling entertainment will be on offer in the form of top tribute band Take That 2, and Robbie

Festival director, Anne Hawkesworth, said: "Last years matinee with Abba Revival was such a huge success that it was decided to repeat the event with Take That 2 plus Robbie. It will be another "family friendly" afternoon with family tickets available. Also on the bill will be local support act 5 Dollar Shoes. They will be kicking off at 2pm, giving all the opportunity to have their picnics and get into the mood."

From August 22 to 25, the studio theatre on The Grove will play host to musicians playing a variety of genres.

Nostalgic music from the past will lead up to a 60s night featuring The Pepper Hearts on August 22. August 23 will be a folk day, with Houghton Weavers performing in the evening.

Sunday will be international day, featuring Hindi drummers, Flamenco and Latin American music, before Dominic Halpin takes to the stage for his second performance of this year's festival, with country, rockabilly and rock 'n' roll band The Hurricanes.

Bank Holiday Monday, August 25, will be jazz day at the studio theatre.

Acts include Ben Lowman Django Project, New York Brass Band - New Orleans-inspired music from the mean streets of York - and Beverley Beirne's Stripey Animals, playing tunes from a mixture of genres that they interpret into the jazz idiom, and originals.

A full day ticket costs £10.

The festival finale will the Ilkley Parish Council-organised Concert on The Grove, featuring Last Night of the Proms style favourites.

For full information on festival events, and to book tickets, visit Ilkley Visitor Information Centre, Ilkley Town Hall, or call (01943) 602319.