CORONAVIRUS: Harrogate International Festivals cancel all the summer season

“Deep regret and sadness”: Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, announcing the cancellation of the 2020 summer season

THE Harrogate International Festivals summer season will not go ahead, a decision with “huge financial implications that place the future of the festivals at risk”.

The Coronavirus pandemic has put paid to the Harrogate Music Festival, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Berwins Salon North, Spiegeltent and Children’s Festival, as well as several outdoor theatre and community events.

Announcing the cancellation with “deep regret and sadness”, chief executive Sharon Canavar said: “This difficult decision was made after carefully assessing several factors, but most importantly the health and safety of everyone involved: our audience, artists, suppliers, partners, volunteers, staff and the wider community.

“Many months of dedicated work went into planning this exceptional season and we share in the disappointment that will be felt by the many writers, musicians, thinkers, performers and festival-goers who were set to join us in Harrogate.”

Her statement continued: “As a not-for-profit arts charity, we are reliant on our events programme and ticket income, alongside sponsor support and donor philanthropy, and so the cancellation of our main season has huge financial implications that place the future of our festivals at risk.

“But despite the unprecedented challenge we now face, our mission to bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible remains unchanged.”

Harrogate International Festivals will continue “our unparalleled celebration” of crime fiction with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020, alongside an extensive online programme of author interviews and more besides ahead of the award announcement in July.

In addition, the HIF Player will be launched to allow everyone a virtual festival experience at home. This free online hub will bring together archive event recordings, digital book clubs, learning resources for children and activities for little ones, and it will be updated regularly with new content to keep audiences entertained.

The chief executive’s statement continued: “Since 1966, we have proved an artistic force to be reckoned with and a key cultural provider for the North of England with a diverse year-round portfolio that celebrates world-class artists, champions new talent and plays a vital part in the community with education outreach and inspiring activities.

“Art and culture help us understand what it means to be human and how to make sense of life, and festivals are a vital part of this ecology. When this troubling time passes, we will need – more than ever – the transformative power of the arts to bring communities together, to inspire hope, to lift spirits and change lives. We thank you for your support.”

The festival website, harrogateinternationalfestivals.com, now carries the request Please Consider Making A Donation: “Support our arts charity in this challenging time”.

All quiet in the library but Explore York encourages Libraries from Home online opportunities. Here’s what you can do…

York Explore Library and Archive, the York hub of Explore York in Museum Street, York

THIS is the time to explore Explore York online, providing the Libraries from Home service during the Coronavirus lockdown.

“If you are confused or overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on offer, Explore can help,” says executive assistant Gillian Holmes, encouraging visits to the website, exploreyork.org.uk, “where it is simple to find what you need”.

This encouragement comes after all Explore York library buildings, reading cafes and the City Archives were closed to the public from 12 noon on March 21, in response to Government strictures.

“We are making it easy for people to find information and advice, as well as inspiration, as we all deal with the Coronavirus crisis.”

The Explore website has assorted useful links to help people cope during the coming weeks. “Some sites have always been part of our online offer and some are brand new,” says Gillian.

“We are also working with City of York Council and our many partners in York, so that our communities can join together and we continue to support their initiatives, just as we will when our buildings open again. 

“Organisations across the country are developing their online services in this challenging time. We are using our expertise to gather together the best offers and add them to the lists of sites we recommend.” 

Explore York will be developing online activities of its own, such as a Virtual Book Group. “We will be updating the website regularly as these new things come on stream and sharing on social media using #LibrariesFromHome,” says Gillian.

The York Explore building: Quiet in the library but still seeking to be busy online

What’s available online from Explore York:

Updates on how Explore is responding during the pandemic and updates about what’s new at https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

Information and support during the Coronavirus crisis from official sources at exploreyork.org.uk/recommended-websites/coronavirus-resources/ 

5000 Ebooks and audio books for adults and children free to borrow from the online library at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-books/ 

The chance to visit the new York Images site to explore the history of the city through photographs, illustrations, maps and archival documents at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/york-images/ 

The opportunity to start your family tree using Ancestry and Find My Past. The library editions are both free to use from home at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/

Reliable information about everything can be found on the Online Reference pages at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/ 

“Everything is free to access,” says Gillian. “All you need is a library card. You can get a card online and start using it immediately at exploreyork.org.uk/getting-a-library-card-or-yorkcard/.” 

Nothing happening in these long lock-down days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. Week two.

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether still together or in isolation, in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these further suggestions.

Compiling lists of best songs by favourite artists

THE Beatles, The Rolling Stones, solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Velvet Underground, solo Velvets, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, The Smiths, The Fall, whoever. Make a Top Ten or even Top 20, then send to friends to ask for their suggestions for the list and why they disagree with you.

You could also set up arguments: Kylie’s Top Ten versus Madonna; The Specials versus Madness; Holland Dozier Holland versus Bacharach and David; Rod Stewart versus Elton John; Abba versus Queen; U2 versus Coldplay. Any others?

Madness: More special than The Specials or is that utter madness?

Desert Island Slipped Discs

IF past editions of the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning staple have slipped your attention, it is never too late to discover the back catalogue at the Beeb online. You could pick a running theme, such as artists, musicians, poets, scientists, entrepreneurs, comedians, sportsmen, film stars, pioneers and church leaders.

Or, given the very necessary daily Covid-19 briefings from Number 10, how about politicians? Margaret Thatcher (1978); Edward Heath (1988); Enoch Powell (1989); Alan Clark (1995); Tony Blair (1996); Gordon Brown (1996); David Cameron (2006)…or, for a satirical variation, Spitting Image’s Peter Fluck and Roger Law (1987)?  

Picking his eight before making it to Number 10: Tony Blair on Desert Island Discs in 1996

Follow the advice of Stephen Fry

FOLLOWING up last Thursday’s 10 Things advice to make a timetable for the day, Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning interview on the Beeb with national treasure and former Cundall Manor prep school teacher Stephen Fry elicited one gem of a suggestion. Take time, take longer, to do things, whether cooking a dish from a recipe book, or even when brushing your teeth.

Fry, the president of MIND, also advocated taking up a new hobby, or re-discovering a craft, in his case, calligraphy. Further suggestions: learn a language; learn sign language; test yourself on road signs (when did you last do that?).

Meanwhile, Fry’s partner in comedy since Cambridge Footlights days, House doctor Hugh Laurie, says of Coronavirus: “We solve it together by staying apart.”  Couldn’t have put it better.

Time to take time: Stephen Fry’s philosophy for these Coronavirus clampdown days

Administer a spring clean

STUCK at home, as you really should be by now, key workers excepted, this is the chance to gut rooms; to go through files, drawers, cupboards; to work out what clothes to keep and which to donate to charity shops. Likewise, games; books; kitchen utensils. Update Christmas card lists and address books.

Make time for nostalgia

DIG out old scrapbooks (Leeds United, League Champions, 1973-1974; the Cardiff Candlewits revue show, The Rantings Of A Raw Prawn, at the 1982 Edinburgh Fringe; cookery crush Nigella Lawson’s recipes – more pictures than recipes, to be truthful – to give three Hutch examples). Ah, those were the days.

Likewise, take a look through old photo albums, sure to trigger memories and promote family discussions… and maybe even lead you to research your family ancestry in the manner of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?.

Scrapbook memories: Leeds United, champions, 1973-1974

Try to find good news

GREAT Yorkshire Show off. Ryedale Festival off. York Pride off. The Olympic Games off. The list of cancellations keeps growing. Against that backdrop, however, theatres, music venues and festivals are busy re-booking acts and shows for later in the year or next year.

Keep visiting websites for updates, whether York Barbican, York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House, wherever.

Look out too for the streaming of past shows. More and more theatres and arts companies are doing this.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, with a Piers Browne painting, before the Coronavirus shutdown

Online exhibitions

GALLERIES in York are going online to keep the art (and hopefully sales) going. Step forward Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, where owner Terry Brett has launched Strange Days.

This service is not only a website portal for works from this season’s Full Sunlight show, featuring Askrigg artist Piers Browne and Holtby sculptor Hannah Arnup, but Terry also is inviting the 144 artists from next month’s cancelled York Open Studios to show their work on there too.

One of Tom Wood’s paintings from The Abstract Crow, Lotte Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition

Anywhere else?

LOTTE Inch Gallery, at Fourteen Bootham, will host its first online-only exhibition, Yorkshire artist Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow, from April 17 to May 16.

“Known for his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting, Tom will pay homage to his love for the natural world in his new paintings,” says Lotte.

Venturing outdoors 

AMID the stricter Government strictures, aside from walking the dog and one burst of exercise a day, gardening looks the most fruitful way to spend time outdoors. The first mow of the season; buds coming through; plants to plant; garden furniture to varnish: ready, steady, grow. 

One to follow on Twitter: Reasons To Stay Alive author Matt Haig. Picture: MIke Tipping

And what about…

Podcasts. Books. More podcasts. More books. Season two of Liar on Monday nights on ITV. Noughts + Crosses on BBC One on Thursdays. Writing a 10 Things like this one. Reading the regular Tweets from Matt Haig, the Reasons To Stay Alive author with the York past. Drinking hot drinks, gargling regularly, and building up your zinc levels, as well as all that hand-washing.

See you later, self-isolator.

Copyright of The Press, York

York Pride 2020 cancelled but LGBT festival vows to be on parade next year

Parade halted: No York Pride celebration in 2020

YORK Pride 2020 on June 6 is off, the annual LGBT festival scuppered by the Coronavirus lockdown.

“Following the advice of the Government and Public Health England on mass gatherings and social events during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel York Pride 2020,” says event director Greg Stephenson, on behalf of the committee.

“This has been a heart-breaking call for us to make after all the work we have already put into this year’s event. However, we would never put the health and wellbeing of our pride-goers, volunteers, artists or traders at risk, or stretch the resources of our emergency services at a time when they are needed more elsewhere.”

Re-arranging the York LGBT Pride Festival 2020 has been ruled out. “York Pride takes the whole year to plan,” says Greg. “While we have been carefully considering all options, as it is unclear how long current measures will remain in place, or how the situation may develop, it is sadly impossible for us to reschedule for later this year.

“With so many uncertainties, we ultimately believe this is the right decision to protect our long-term future.”

Instead, the committee will concentrate all its efforts on “delivering you a truly amazing York Pride in 2021”.

“We’d like to say a huge thank-you to all our sponsors, stallholders and suppliers for their support this year,” says Greg.

“Thank you to all of you too for hopefully understanding why we have had to make this tough decision, because nobody is as disappointed as we are. In the meantime, please let’s all look after ourselves and our community.”

CANCELLED: .“This has been a heart-breaking call for us to make after all the work we have already put into this year’s event,” says York Pride event director Greg Stephenson

York Pride will email directly all those who have stall bookings and parade bookings and those who have agreed sponsorship for 2020.

For stallholders who have not paid yet, we will simply cancel the booking for York Pride 2020 and you will need to reapply next year for York Pride 2021,” says Greg.

“For stallholders who have paid, thank you for paying your invoice; it has been much appreciated.”

Greg outlines two options for those with a stalls invoice. “Our preferred option would be to carry your booking straight over to York Pride 2021,” he says.

“This cuts down admin work of processing refunds for our small team of volunteers. We’d imagine this is the best option for other community groups, charities and regular attendees at our event.

“If, later down the line you cannot make our 2021 date, we would of course offer a full refund.”

The second option is the provision of full refunds for those who require it. “These are difficult times and we understand that for many of our traders you will need these funds. We’d imagine this is the best option for food and beverage stalls who have paid larger pitch fees.”

Whichever option is chosen, stallholders are required to fill in a form on the York Pride website, yorkpride.org.uk.

York Pride wristbands

The committee has addressed the matter of parade applicants too. “Thank you to all those who have applied to be in our 2020 parade,” says Greg. “With the emergence of Covid-19, we took the decision not to invoice at the time we normally would. Should we be in the position to cancel, it was fewer refunds for us to process.

“You will need to reapply for York Pride 2021 when applications open later in the year.”

Greg thanked York Pride 2020’s sponsors. “We have been overwhelmed with the response. I will be contacting sponsors directly to discuss arrangements,” he says.

York Pride is making plans to re-book all acts for 2021. “We will also be making a deposit payment for those who wish to be re-booked,” says Greg. “We hope this small gesture will come in handy as many of our acts will be self-employed and suffer the most through the current situation.”

In a closing message to the public in York Pride’s official statement on the website, Greg says:We have taken steps to ensure our financial risks through cancellation are minimised.

“We have already ordered things such as York Pride 2020 wristbands. We will be looking to sell these for a suggested donation of £2 in the coming weeks and would appreciate any support you can offer at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone for your continued support. All the best and keep safe.”

No shows, no gigs, no ideas? Feeling listless? Here are 10 Things To Do At Home, courtesy of The Press, York

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

Exit 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether still together or in isolation, in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Compiling your Desert Island Discs

CREATE your own Desert Island Discs and accompanying reasons, should you ever be called to answer Lauren Laverne’s questions on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning staple. Cue Eric Coates’s opening theme, By The Sleepy Lagoon, then your eight music choices, one book choice, one luxury.

Then play your list, but cutting it down to eight will be much harder than you first expect.

Make a cut-out of Lauren Laverne and do your own edition of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs, suggestion number two

AND while you are about it, also take every opportunity to raid the Beeb’s Desert Island Discs back catalogue at BBC Sounds. Recommendations? Ian Wright, former footballer, turned broadcaster; Dr John Cooper Clarke, sage Salford stick insect and man of multitudinous words; Kathy Burke, Camden Town actress, comedian, writer, producer and director.

Make a timetable for the day

LIKE you would at work…though this timetable may not be possible, if indeed you are working from home.

Nevertheless, should the time need passing, allow, say, an hour for each activity, be it writing; reading; playing board games at the stipulated distances apart or card games, which can be done on your own, such as Patience; watching a movie, maybe a long-neglected DVD rescued from a dusty shelf; or whatever else is on your list.

“Puzzles are wonderfully relaxing yet keep the brain very active ,” says jigsaw enthusiast and York actor Ian Giles

Re-discover a childhood joy

PLUCKING one out of the air, how about jigsaw puzzles, a favourite of Mother Hutch and Granny Pyman before her.

“They are wonderfully relaxing yet keep the brain very active and there’s a feeling of creative satisfaction on completion,” recommends York actor Ian Giles, a devotee of such puzzle solving.

Singing

YORK singer Jessa Liversidge runs the Singing For All choir, as heard savouring I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing at Big Ian’s A Night To Remember at a packed York Barbican (remember those days?) on Leap Year Saturday.

Now, abiding by the Government’s Avoid Unnecessary Social Contact advice, to keep people singing, she is planning a range of online singing opportunities to suit not only her Singing For All and Easingwold Community Singers folks, but “any frustrated singers”. “Get in touch to find out how to join,” says Jessa, whose Twitter account is @jessaliversidge. She posts regularly.

Still on song: York singer Jessa Liversidge would like to reach the world to sing online

Lighting a candle

THE Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Dr John Sentamu, is asking us all to place a lighted candle in our window at 7pm this coming Sunday “as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished”.

Baking

ALL those cookbooks that you bought for the nice pictures, but have never opened since, are bursting with opportunities to try out a new dish…if the supermarket shelves have not been emptied by 10 o’clock in the morning.

Why not raid the store cupboard too, check the dates (and the dried dates from last Christmas) and see if anything may come in handy. The likelihood is more and more hours will have to be spent at home; this is a chance to stretch your culinary skills.

Candlelight: The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Dr John Sentamu’s Sunday request

Gardening

HOPEFULLY, going for walks, maintaining a safe, previously anti-social distance, will still be a possibility, as advocated by Prime Minister Johnson, until otherwise stated.

If not, or if isolation is your way ahead, spring is in the air, gardens are turning green, the grass is growing. Gardening will surely be one of the unbroken joys of the ever-so-uncertain path that lies ahead.

Should you not have a garden, windowsills are havens for green-fingered pursuits: the seeds of much content.

And what about…

Podcasts. Books. More podcasts. More books. Box sets (yawn). Discovering a new band online, or maybe an old one you had long neglected. Writing a 10 Things like this one. Reading Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan’s morning Tweets, or any time of day, in fact. Reading York musician and motivational speaker Big Ian Donaghy’s perennially positive thoughts for the day @trainingcarers, BIGIAN #DEMENTIAisAteamGAME. Watch Channel 4 News, especially Jon Snow, one bright-tied 72 year old who should defy the imminent Government “curfew” on the over-70s. (UPDATE: 19/3/2020. Or maybe not. Tonight he broadcast from his central London home.)

Poetry in motion: Ian McMillan’s joyous Tweets from his early-morning walks

And finally…

PLEASE stop flicking through social media at every turn…except for displays of the ever-so-British black humour in response to the new C-word.

Any suggestions for further editions of 10 Things To Do At Home And Beyond are most welcome. Please send to charles.hutchinson104@gmail.com

Doors shut on York Open Studios as Coronavirus scuppers artist showcase

The brochure cover for the now cancelled 2020 York Open Studios

NEXT month’s 20th anniversary York Open Studios has been called off and will not be rearranged for later in the year under the ever-darkening shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Launched in 2001, when only 20 artists took part, Britain’s longest-running Open Studios event was to have showcased 144 artists and makers in 100 studios and workplaces over two weekends, April 18 and 19 and April 25 and 26.

The York Open Studios logo

Event chair Beccy Ridsdel says: “It’s been a very difficult decision to make, but the safety of visitors and participating artists is our priority, and with Coronavirus advice currently changing daily, we have sadly decided we are unable to proceed with this year’s event. However, York Open Studios will be running in 2021.”

Now the focus turns to still highlighting the work of the 144 artists, makers and designers, whose full details can be found at yorkopenstudios.co.uk and in the newly redundant 2020 brochure that can be found around the city.

“It’s been a very difficult decision to make,” says York Open Studios chair Beccy Ridsdel after Coronavirus forced the cancellation of next month’s event

“These small creative businesses are in need of support during these volatile times, so please take time to take a look at their work, websites and social media pages and contact them directly to purchase works,” advise the event organisers.

On show and for sale would have been ceramics, collages, digital works, illustrations, jewellery, mixed media, paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, textiles and wood works.

CORONAVIRUS: Pocklington Arts Centre closes doors but will return “stronger and more vibrant” in 20th anniversary year

Janet Farmer: director of Pocklington Arts Centre

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is closing its doors to the public with effect from today in response to the Government’s Coronavirus measures, but vows to re-emerge “stronger and more vibrant than ever” in its 20th anniversary year.

A statement released by director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy  this morning said: “In the light of the Government’s latest advice for people to avoid non-essential contact, we have taken the decision to close PAC to the public as of today (Tuesday, March 17).

“The health and safety of our staff, visitors, artists and volunteers is of utmost importance to us and therefore we do not feel it is prudent to remain open to the public at this time.”

Their statement continues: “We don’t know yet how long this closure will last, but this will be at least until Easter 2020 [mid-April]. Further updates will be announced in due course.

“During this period, it is critical that we continue to support our staff, artists and creative partners. We will be working closely with our peers across the region and indeed the country, and we are determined that PAC will emerge from this challenge stronger and more vibrant than ever. We will be publishing more on this in the coming days.”

Anyone who has booked a ticket or is due to attend a public event at PAC will be contacted by the box-office team over the next few days to organise a refund and/or discuss the cancellation.

Robert Plant: booked to headline this summer’s Platform Festival with his new band Saving Grace

“Tickets can be refunded but we would ask you to consider supporting the venue and artists by not accepting a refund, if you are able to afford to,” suggested the statement. “We will of course try to reschedule events, but this may take some time, so please bear with us in these very challenging times.”

Pocklington Arts Centre will be setting up a crowdfunding page later this week. “We’ll publish details of this on our social media accounts,” said Janet and James. “If you feel able to donate to this, your support would be most welcome to help secure the long-term future of the venue.”

The statement concluded: “Please visit our social media channels and website [pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk] for daily/weekly updates and as to when PAC will reopen.
“Many thanks for your understanding. We very much appreciate your patience in this unprecedented situation. Take care and keep safe.”

Pocklington Arts Centre’s spring and summer programme to mark the East Yorkshire venue’s 20th anniversary was launched on March 6 with a party night of New Orleans Mardi Gras jazz by the New York Brass Band.

Planned as the epicentre of the celebrations is the fifth Platform Festival of music and comedy, hosted by PAC at The Old Station, with the headline attraction of Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant’s new project, Saving Grace, on July 10.

Full details can be found at platformfestival.net and pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Thought for the morning after…Was this the day the music died?

Just what exactly did happen yesterday?

HAS there ever been a more cynical, anti-arts, pro-insurance industry posh pals statement from Prime Minister Johnson than yesterday’s first Coronavirus daily briefing?

For one so notoriously careless with words, despite his love of a luxuriant lexicon, his careful avoidance of enforcing a shutdown of pubs, clubs, theatres etc, in favour of merely recommending “avoiding unnecessary social” interaction, effectively amounts to washing his and his Government’s hands of the future of one of the power houses of British life: the entertainment industry.

No formal closures means no chance of insurance pay-outs. In an already increasingly intolerant, Right-veering Britain, with its Brexit V-sign to Europe, could it be this is another way to try to suffocate and stifle our potent, provocative, influential, politically challenging, counter-thinking, all-embracing, anti-divisive, collective-spirited, often radical, always relevant, life-enriching, rather than rich-enriching, font of free expression, protest and empowerment?

Was this the day the music died?

History shows that the arts, the pubs, the theatres, the counter-culture, has always found a way to bite back, to fight back, often at times of greatest repression and depression. No Margaret Thatcher, no Specials’ Ghost Town.

We and our very necessary social interactions shall be back, hopefully after only a short break. Meanwhile, we are all in the hands of science, that equally progressive bedfellow to the arts.

All you need is extra tickets and a new venue for music film-maker Tony Palmer’s Harrogate Film Festival event

Film-maker Tony Palmer with The Beatles’ John Lennon

A RUSH of ticket sales has prompted a change of venue for The Rock Goes To The Movies evening with BAFTA-winning filmmaker Tony Palmer next month in Harrogate.

This exclusive Harrogate Film Festival event on March 12 will switch from RedHouse Originals art gallery to The Clubhouse at Cold Bath Brewing Co, on Kings Road, only five minutes from the original location on Cheltenham Mount.

“The evening sold out all its stickers at £12 a pop so quickly that we’ve have had to move to a bigger location,” says Harrogate Advertiser journalist and Charm event promoter Graham Chalmers, a stalwart of the Harrogate music scene, who will be hosting the Q&A with the legendary film-maker, now 77.

“That means extra tickets have been put on sale and are available via the box office at Harrogate Theatre.”

All existing tickets are still valid for the new venue for the 7pm event that will combine a film screening with the Q&A session about Palmer’s work with The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, Rory Gallagher, Cream, Frank Zappa, The Who, Donovan and many more.

The London-born film-maker and cultural critic has more than 100 films to his name, ranging from early works with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher (Irish Tour ’74) and Frank Zappa (200 Motels), to his classical profiles of Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn, John Osborne, Igor Stravinsky, Richard Wagner, Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and more besides.

Over the past 50 years, Palmer has received more than 40 international prizes, including 12 gold medals from the New York Film Festival, along with numerous BAFTAs and Emmy Awards.

The Beatles: rare screening of Tony Palmer’s film of the Fab Four will be a highlight of the Harrogate Film Festival event on March 12

Palmer, who served an apprenticeship with Ken Russell and Jonathan Miller, made the landmark film All My Loving, the first ever about pop music history, first broadcast in 1968.

He was responsible too for the iconic live film Cream Farewell Concert, shot at the supergroup’s last-ever show at the Royal Albert Hall: a memorable night with Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in 1968.

Harrogate Film Festival founder Adam Chandler says: “Tony Palmer’s glittering career deserves such an event, so we can’t wait to welcome him. We’re delighted this film-making legend is so popular and are grateful to our venue partners, Cold Bath Brewing Co and RedHouse Originals, for enabling this exciting event to happen.”

Host Chalmers says: “Palmer is the greatest arts documentary filmmaker Britain has produced in the past 50 years and personally knew most of the greatest figures in the classical music world, as well as rock music.

“The fact he’s making the journey to Harrogate as a stand-alone event shows how highly regarded Harrogate Film Festival is nationally and shows that Harrogate, despite appearances, is a town with a genuine rock’n’roll pedigree.”

RedHouse Originals gallery previously has played host to Pop Art doyen Sir Peter Blake and still will be involved in next month’s event, hanging classic 1960s’ artwork and photography at The Clubhouse and curating the music playlist for the after-show party.

The sleeve artwork for All You Need Is Love, Tony Palmer’s 1977-1978 series on The Story Of Popular Music

Presented by Chalmers in conjunction with Harrogate Film Society, Rock Goes To The Movies will feature a rare screening of Palmer’s film about The Beatles that featured in his All You Need Is Love TV series, with a script by Fab Four insider Derek Taylor, plus clips from Palmer’s Cream Farewell Concert film.

Tickets available from harrogatetheatre.co.uk, on 01423 502116 or in person from the Harrogate Theatre box office. More information on the 2020 Harrogate Film Festival at harrogatefilm.co.uk.

Any profits from the evening will go to Harrogate Film Society and Harrogate Film Festival.



Tony Palmer’s ten music films
1. All You Need Is Love,1975-1976,17-part series on the history of American Popular Music from Bing Crosby to The Beatles.
2. Bird On A Wire, 1972, featuring Leonard.
3. All My Loving,1968, including The Who, The Beatles and more.
4. Cream Farewell Concert 1968.        
5. 200 Motels – Frank Zappa,1971.
6. Rory Gallagher – Irish Tour,1974.        
7. A Time There Was, 1979, profile of composer Benjamin Britten.
8. Tangerine Dream – Live In Coventry Cathedral,1975.
9. Ginger Baker In Africa,1971.
10. Wagner – By Charles Wood, music conducted by Georg Solti, photographed by Vittorio Storaro; with Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave and Laurence Olivier,1983.

Anyone for Dennis? Jorvik Viking Festival makes plans with storm sequel brewing

Storm brewing but the Vikings can handle a little disturbance at the upcoming festival

JORVIK Viking Festival is to launch on Saturday with new venues to avoid Storm Dennis, the all-too-soon sequel to Storm Ciara nightly, daily and nightly again.

In keeping with the Vikings knowing where and when to anchor their boats and pitch their tents on their world travels, this weekend’s Norse invaders of York will be tweaking their plans slightly in the face of Storm Dennis being expected to unleash its fury over the next few days.

Festival manager Gareth Henry, of York Archaeological Trust, says: “We breathed a sigh of relief when Storm Ciara missed us, but it seems that Thor has taken a leaf out of his trickster brother’s repertoire and is throwing Dennis our way for our opening weekend.

“Thankfully, the Vikings are a hardy and adaptable bunch, so we’ve managed to rearrange most of the most exposed parts of the festival to alternative, sheltered and indoor locations for the first few days, and we hope to have everything back to normal from Tuesday or Wednesday, weather permitting.”

The biggest changes will be to the Viking encampment, normally sited in Parliament Street.  From Saturday to Monday, however, it will be relocated to the Undercroft at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, where entry will be free on all three days. (Usual admission applies to other parts of Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.) 

Many events planned for the St Sampson’s Square stage and Parliament Street marquee temporarily will be relocated to Spark: York – the venue for Viking Crafting for Kids – on Piccadilly on Saturday and Sunday, including Saga Storytelling and the festival’s newest event, the Viking Costume Competition, on Saturday at 3pm.

Have-a-go Sword Workshops will take place in DIG: An Archaeological Adventure on St Saviourgate from Saturday to Monday, hopefully returning to St Sampson’s Square on Tuesday, February 18 for the rest of the festival run. 

The Nine Realms Bar will operate as normal in Parliament Street for the festival’s duration, within the Parliament Street Tent that also will host Viking Crafting for Kids during the weekdays. The Festival Information Stand can be found in the Parliament Street Tent on Saturday to Monday but should move outdoors to St Sampson’s Square on Tuesday. 

At this stage, the only events to have been cancelled are the city tours, taking place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting instead on Tuesday.  Thankfully, flooding has only affected riverside areas accustomed to high water levels each year, and the vast majority of the city remains unaffected and open for business, including the Jorvik Viking Centre in Coppergate. 

“We’re confident that visitors can still enjoy an amazing Viking experience despite these changes,” says Gareth. “But we hope that the good people of York will consider offering a poem or two to Thor – as Norse explorer Thorhall did in the Saga of Erik the Red – to bring this weather chaos to an end ahead of our second festival weekend, when hordes of warriors will once again descend on the city and march through our historic streets.”

Festival visitors are advised to keep an eye on social media and the festival website, jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk, for the latest news and any other scheduling changes.