THE Ilkley Arts Festival enjoyed high attendances for its 2018 events.

The festival, organised under the auspices of the Ilkley Arts Federation, brings together concerts, lectures and other events arranged by many the clubs and societies in the town.

In excess of 2,500 people visited or performed in the 18 events. In only one event was the attendance disappointing and this was due to very poor weather on the day.

The high attendance at the final event in the Clark Foley Centre was particularly gratifying for organiser. This was the concert given by New Horizons Orchestra with number attending some 75 per cent greater than the corresponding concert in 2017.

The free lectures were also a great success and member societies reported that attendance in each was much higher than had been predicted.

Members of the Ilkley Arts Festival committee attended all events in the programme and reported that the quality of the events was high thus giving those who attended in Ilkley a great deal of enjoyment.

A festival spokesperson said: “Our accounts for the 2018 festival show that approximately 90 per cent of the revenue (graciously given by Ilkley Town Council and the Round Table of Ilkley) in support of the festival was used to help member organisations to provide the wide range of events.

“A total of 14 participating organisations received financial backing for their involvement.

“Printing costs and postage costs were kept to a minimum and all other work in preparation for the 2018 festival was undertaken by voluntary work of the committee and member organisations.

“The objectives of the Federation are to sponsor and promote the maintenance, improvement and appreciation of the Arts in Ilkley.

“The 2018 festival has certainly fulfilled these objectives. The committee has plans to extend the range and scope of the festival in 2019. With appropriate financial backing, it is confident that this will prove to be the case.”

The Festival began on November 2, with a free lunch-time organ recital at St Margaret’s Church by resident organist Christopher Rathbone.

It ended in style on December 21 with a “Musical Christmas Carol” at 2pm at Clarke Foley.

In between there was a full programme featuring lectures on art, culture, history, civic affairs, photography and recorded music, all free to non-members of the organising societies and guests.

Many events were free to enter and offered free refreshments as well.