STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) from Harrogate International Festivals
It is with deep regret and sadness that Harrogate International Festivals has taken the decision to cancel this year’s Summer Season due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes the Harrogate Music Festival, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Spiegeltent and Children’s Festival, as well as several outdoor theatre and community events.
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.
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.
We will continue our unparalleled celebration of crime fiction with the prestigious Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020, alongside an extensive online offering of author interviews and much more ahead of the announcement in July.
We also launch the HIF Player to allow everyone a virtual festival experience at home. This free, online hub is packed with archive event recordings, digital book clubs, learning resources for children and activities for little ones. It will be regularly updated with new content to keep audiences entertained.
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 of 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.