Ilkley Summer Festival organisers are planning to ‘go for it’

Wharfedale Observer: Some of the performers at last year’s Ilkley Summer Festival Some of the performers at last year’s Ilkley Summer Festival

A 200-seater studio theatre will be set up on The Grove this August as Ilkley Summer Festival vows to “go for it” in the wake of Tour de France celebrations.

Organisers of the month-long festival have had to contend with Bradford Council spending cuts and fewer pots of funding for major events in recent years.

There were worries the town could be suffering “festival fatigue” following the Tour de France visit this July.

But organisers have decided against making this year’s festival lower-key.

Festival director, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, said: “I have been concerned that the public could suffer from festival fatigue due to the high profile of the Tour de France, but in the end decided to build on the success of last year and go for it.”

A new attraction planned for this year is a 200-seater covered studio theatre on The Grove, linked with the bandstand. This will be set up over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Morning, matinee and evening events are planned at the temporary venue.

Four-piece York band Pepper Hearts will play 1960s music from The Beatles and other artists on Friday night, August 22.

An evening of folk music and comedy is expected from Houghton Weavers the following day, and The Hurricanes will play a mix of original and classic county, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll on Sunday August 24.

Bank Holiday Monday will be Ilkley Jazz Day. Acts are yet to be announced.

It is hoped the studio theatre will also give the chance for local producers and businesses to run masterclasses or demonstrations.

Festival organisers will this year also have to contend with the potential loss of one of its major event venues, as the King’s Hall is expected to be closed for maintenance in August.

The Friends of the King’s Hall have instead opted to stage an “Overture” to the festival in July, inviting Tod Miller and the Joe Loss Orchestra to perform a show on July 19. Tickets for the concert are expected to sell fast. The festival will again see the return of the three-day Continental Street Market on The Grove, starting August 8, and the Dolce Vita open-air cabaret on The Grove, on August 16.

Discussions are still taking place about Yorkshire Day celebrations on August 1. Events are likely to be focused on the Ilkley Bandstand or the Clarke Foley Centre.

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