The Festival in Mytholmroyd
Now that the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival programme is on the streets it's time to start checking out what's inside, and over the next month leading up to the Festival we shall be looking at various aspects of the collection of goodies that is in store for us.
Today we concentrate on one of the significant changes this year, which is the much greater involvement of Mytholmroyd. This is due in no small part to the efforts of some Mytholmroyd people who were determined that the town shouldn't lose out, and also to the recognition by the organisers that, whatever the merits of the "one town/two towns" argument, the very generous support for the Festival from Hebden Royd Town Council is underpinned by the residents of Mytholmroyd as much as Hebden Bridge.
The Festival in Mytholmroyd kicks off with an Art Exhibition featuring eighteen artists, both professional and amateur, based in Cragg Vale, Midgley and Mytholmroyd itself. Work will also be on sale at this event, which takes place on Festival opening day Saturday 19 and the afternoon of Sunday 20 June at St Michael's Church Hall.
One of the highlights of the 2002 Festival was the visit of Tashi Lhunpo Monks from Tibet, and the eagerly awaited return of their unique mix of music, dances and chants takes place at St Michael's Church on Wednesday 23 June at 8pm., as part of the Monastery Tour 2004. The previous Festival visit, to Heptonstall, sold out rapidly, so the advice is to book early.
The following week sees an Appreciation of Ted Hughes. This illustrated lecture features early days in Bankfields and an exploration of the poems in "Remains of Elmet". Donald B Crossley, Nick Wilding and Frank Woolrich will be presenting this glimpse of Mytholmroyd's poet laureate on Tuesday 29 June, starting 7.30pm at the Methodist Church in Scout Road.
In total contrast the following day (Wednesday 30 June) sees a rare opportunity to experience a wide variety of digital art forms, organised by Digital Arts (North) with support from University of Huddersfield and Yorkshire Forward. The programme includes "New British Video / Sound Art" and there is an exhibition from 6.30pm and screenings from 7.30pm onwards at St Michael's Church Hall.
Mytholmroyd also hosts an End of Festival event as local band the Detroit Spanners strut their stuff on the final evening, Sunday 4th July, playing Indie Rock songs from the 50s to the present day at St Michael's Church Hall at 8pm.
While that's all happening in Mytholmroyd itself, Mytholmroyd artists will be turning up elsewhere during the festival. Author Jill Robinson will be reading from "Sons and Lodgers", the sequel to "Berringden Brow" on Monday 21 June, 7.30pm at Canalside Gallery, Machpelah, Hebden Bridge. Meanwhile, 'Royd Wordsmiths - Poet Tony Langham and Storyteller Pete Keal - will be climbing the hill to the St John's Centre, Cragg Vale on Saturday 26 June for a performance as part of Cragg Vale Flower Festival, starting at 5pm.
Pete Keal, one of the Mytholmroyd organisers, said: "Some people in the village have complained that very little of the Arts Festival comes to Mytholmroyd. This year, thanks to the efforts of several village residents, we are putting that right. There will be a varied, high quality programme of Arts events in Mytholmroyd, which we believe will be popular and successful. When our neighbours realise just how much artistic talent there is in Mytholmroyd, they might just think again before knocking the place!" Whatever does he mean?