Festival is all ears for music from
the Gambia, Russia . . . and Scotland

“It’s a lovely record, really lovely!” says Stuart Maconie. But how do you describe a repertoire that takes in echoing tales of milkmen, mining, heatwaves, dads, voices found, death by shanty, industrial manoeuvres, 9/11 and the late great Ronnie Barker?

Festival-goers will have the chance to find out when The Ian McMillan Orchestra brings Sharp Stories to the Hebden Bridge Picture House on July 6.

Poet, broadcaster and comedian Ian McMillan dances with composer and accordionist Luke Carver Goss of Szapora in a performance that blends Yorkshire words and European music.

This year’s Festival offers jazz, classical, folk and some surprising combinations.

On July 5, for example, The Argentinian Landscape Project presents a unique blend of tango and contemporary jazz, inspired by musician Ninon Foiret’s first visit to Buenos Aires.  

World-jazz fusion group Tongue and Groove return to the Festival on July 1 with highly acclaimed Cuban violin player Omar Puente.

Hebden’s Restaurant on Hangingroyd Lane presents Le Hot Club de Hebden – a fortnight of jazz with a late bar, free snacks and, they claim, the best jazz for miles. On July 3, it’s an evening with Elements, a quartet featuring four of the North’s most in-demand performers. On July 9, it’s the turn of Bossamba, playing Latin and jazz standards. And on July 10, it’s Ruby Wood with the Dave Nelson Quartet.

Dance enthusiasts are catered for too with a Breton dance workshop and ‘fest noz’ on July 6 at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. Ker Brize play traditional dance music from Brittany with the help of Yannick, who will be calling the basic steps of these Breton circle dances as well as singing traditional Breton songs.

Pianist Margaret Bruce gives two recitals at Walshaw Lodge in Hardcastle Crags. The first, on July 7, includes Scarlatti, Chopin and Janá?ek – as well as a delicious tea. The second, on July 8, is a morning recital with tea and pastries.

Heptonstall Parish Church is the acoustically perfect venue for The Hepton Singers on July 7, a lunchtime recital by guitarist Noel Billingsley on July 8 and The Music of the Prophets, performed by the Siena Ensemble, on July 10.

Heptonstall is also the venue for Partita’s performance of mediaeval, renaissance, and baroque music on July 11, and traditional music with a modern twist from The Outside Track on July 13 – five youngsters from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick who are quickly earning themselves a reputation as one of the most exciting new bands on the traditional music scene. On July 14, the lunchtime recital – Sound World – features a wide range of styles of music and instruments from throughout the world. 

The Tannahill Weavers, at the Trades Club on July 7, play Scottish traditional music at its best, summoning rock ’n’ roll intensity or haunting introspection. Mojo Magazine described them as "…world class musicians with passion and a healthy sense of fun, keeping alive and making accessible the very heart of the tradition itself”.

And, on July 15, the Svetilen Ensemble brings the hauntingly beautiful choral music of Russia to Hebden Bridge.  They perform spiritual music of the Russian Orthodox Church and sacred Russian folk songs. Their idiomatic choral arrangements, traditional costumes and accompaniments (which include such exotic instruments as gusli, koliosnaya lira, dudk and hatamba) are a rare delight.

Seikou Susso and the Allah Lake Mandinka Band are at the Trades Club on July 14, playing traditional African roots music whilst exploring more contemporary upbeat West African styles.

Hebden Bridge Arts Festival runs from June 30 to July 15 with a full programme of music, theatre, street entertainment, comedy and more.

Postal bookings opened on Monday, May 14 and programmes are available at libraries, tourist information centres other public venues, plus countless cafes, shops and pubs. The box office opens on June 16.


Saturday June 30
Sunday 1 July
Monday 2 July
Tuesday 3 July
Wednesday 4 July
Thursday 5 July
Friday 6 July
Saturday 7 July
Sunday 8 July
Monday 9 July
Tuesday 10 July
Wednesday 11 July
Thursday 12 July
Friday 13 July
Saturday 14 July
Sunday 15 July

Open Studios
Open Gardens

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Programme PDF

Booking form