Press Release,
Tuesday, June 17, 2003


Don't know much about art? Never really taken an interest? Limited experience of looking at pictures, listening to music, watching plays, hearing poetry? The next fortnight is the perfect opportunity to expand your artistic horizons as the 2003 Hebden Bridge Arts Festival hits the town.

The eighty two events on offer over the two week period include 13 exhibitions, 10 classical music concerts, 5 big shows in the Picture House, 15 performances of poetry, storytelling and book readings, 7 events especially for children, around a dozen modern or ethnic music shows, 8 dramatic performances and many events which either cross over these boundaries or can't easily be categorised. Add to this list fifty open gardens and studios and these bare facts tell us little of the huge variety of artistic experience to be found over the two-week period of the festival. If ever there was "something for everyone" this is it.

When the experiences available range from storytelling on a horse-drawn barge to a wall of sound in the Picture House, from a show of hand made hats to "Horrid Henry, the world's naughtiest child", when the music is from Bach to Brecht  and beyond, not forgetting Britten and Breton folk songs, and when the programme notes include such oddities as "the morning from Hell with a colander" and "staff manipulation with magical glo-balls, direct from Glastonbury" then you can be sure that this year's Festival is up there with the best! Big name experiences appear on a daily basis from the off, beginning with Blake Morrison (missed him, that was last night) comedian and broadcaster Linda Smith (tonight, Friday), and Pink Floyd (tribute band) tomorrow Saturday. Next weekend has Clive James and Pete Atkin together again, as well as Doris and the Dinner Ladies whilst the final week-end features the Commitments in film and impersonation.

How can I begin to tell of the other delights in store, and why should I when all you have to do is call into the Festival office on Albert Street (tel 842684, open daily 10 till 5) pick up one of those little black and yellow programmes (cool dude, shades, motorbike, sax - also available from shops libraries and tourist offices, remember?), clear your diaries for the next two weeks, take a fortnight off work, and discover the centre of the artistic universe. A separate leaflet gives details of all the gardens and studios, including a map. So, come rain or shine, day or night, (check out the late night events!) week day or week end, get to whatever takes your fancy and, above all, enjoy!

The Arts Festival Box Office reports that advance ticket sales for pre-bookable events are going well, with one or two events already sold out. It should be possible to get in most shows at the door, (even that sell-out certainty Doris usually has a few cancellations and returns on the night) but the organisers advise that advance booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. Book by phone (01422 842684) or in person at the Box Office on Albert Street.

HB Arts Festival