"A gem of an arts festival” - Marcus du Sautoy

The magic of Swaledale Festival has finished for another year!  We had classical guitar masters, champion brass bands, award-winning folk, cutting-edge saxophones, outrageous Celtic Gypsy Klezmer, comedy, theatre, film and stunning solos, duets, quartets and orchestras.  

We were treated to vihuelas, accordions, marimbas, harpschord, harp, kora and quanun - not to mention the theorbo (a lute so long it needed a special vehicle of its own!).  We featured national and international artists from Syria, Senegal, China, Australia, Latvia and Venezuela.  And in amongst it all were quoits, impromptu clog dancing and a series of sensational art exhibitions by local artists.

Bach’s Goldberg Variations featured in outstanding concerts by pianist Angela Hewitt and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, as well as in mathematician Marcus du Sautoy’s Reeth Lecture.  It also made a surprise appearance in Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita’s enchanting performance of Bach to Baisso where world music met classical.

Participatory events were stronger than ever: from printmaking with artist Chris Moss, to fell-running with local historian Heather Hodgson, to Janet Seymour’s School of Theatre Dance - where twenty-five young dancers from the local community dazzled with ballet, jazz and folk moves.  In one special Festival moment, audience members at The Young’uns sell-out concert stood up to join in with a haunting chorus they had learned at the singing workshop that day.

Thank you as ever to all our supporters: audience members, Festival Friends, Angels, Sponsors and of course our volunteers who were recognised with the most prestigious accolade – the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.  

Artistic Director Malcolm Creese is already working hard on next year’s programme.  The dates are 25 May to 8 June.  See you there!

The Festival is extremely grateful for the generosity of our sponsors, funders, donors, legacy givers, Festival Friends and Angels, as well as the tireless work and dedication of our loyal volunteers, our staff, and members of the Festival Board. Swaledale Festival receives support from Arts Council England and from generous sponsors including  Sherwoods (Vauxhall) of DarlingtonHandelsbanken, Latimer Hinks Solicitors, Kenneth Easby Accountants, T&R Theakston Ltd, Purple Creative StudioTennants Garden RoomsMillgate House B&B in Richmond, the Burgoyne Hotel in Reeth and the Bridge Inn in Grinton. We are also supported by a number of Local Businesses shown here.

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, international harp and kora stars, who performed in Grinton Church on Monday 28 May 2018

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