Swaledale Festival organisers plan to spread events across year

Photo: Guy Carpenter.

Organisers of the Swaledale Festival say the 2021 event will go ahead, but with events spread across the year rather held over a fortnight.

The event was cancelled in 2020 but festival bosses say it will go ahead in 2021, albeit with a different format.

The festival has received a grant of more than £50,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, administered by Arts Council England, to enable it to continue during the pandemic.

Artistic director Malcolm Creese said: “It has been a difficult year for Swaledale Festival, as it has for the whole world.

“Having to cancel the 2020 festival was hugely disappointing, but thanks to the generosity of our ticket buyers, festival friends and angels, and the recent news that we have received this grant from the Culture Recovery Fund, we are now in a relatively secure financial position to move forward.

“We’re also able to keep our excellent team of part-time professionals together and working.”

Organisers say the festival is planned well in advance and a full programme for 2021 was completed months ago.

However, they say that given the current coronavirus restrictions and the uncertainty of what the country will be faced with next May, next year’s festival be different.

Malcolm said that Instead of grouping a large number of events into a two-week period in May/June, the festival planned to offer a series of individual events throughout the year.

“We feel this is our best chance of providing high quality music, arts and guided walks in the region, whilst helping to minimise the risks and lessen the burden on local people and infrastructure.

“The safety and well-being of ticket-buyers, volunteers, staff, performers and local people will, of course, be paramount.”

The festival is also planning a programme of projects and performances for local schools and care homes, providing music, arts and entertainment to some of those who are in particular need of cultural activities.

Chairman Dr Susan Miller said: ‘Looking optimistically a little further forward, we are already working on a fantastic programme for May/June 2022 when we will celebrate Swaledale Festival’s 50th anniversary.

“We thank you for your continued support.”

Organisers say details of festival activities in 2021 will appear on their website www.swalefest.org soon.