Harrogate International Festivals Announce First Names for HIF Weekender

HIF Weekender 2020

Harrogate International Festivals have announced the first names for its new HIF Weekender. A free, virtual festival that brings world-class culture to everyone at home.

From 23 to 26 July, the HIF Weekender will present a celebration of the arts. It’ll feature performances and interviews with internationally acclaimed musicians, best-selling authors and innovative thinkers to coincide with what would have been the legendary long weekend of Harrogate’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.

HIF Weekender 2020

“Begins with a bang”

And the HIF Weekender begins with a bang. A crowning of the winner of crime fiction prize – Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year will happen in a virtual ceremony recognising the best of the best. The celebrations continue with crime writing royalty Ian Rankin, interviewed by N.J. Cooper about Rebus, writing and Rankin’s ‘lost’ festival year. Lee Child is another highlight, and Steve Mosby will be joined by AA Dhand, Emma Kavanagh and Amanda Jennings.

Val McDermid will be joined by journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson to unpack the heritage and impact of her infamous New Blood panel. And this years formidable debut talent will come to the virtual stage in the shape of Deepa Anappara, Elizabeth Kay, Jessica Moor and Trevor Wood.

Music is high on the agenda too. Composer David Lancaster has been commissioned by the Festival following the cancellation of the Summer Season to write a new piece. Inspired by the pandemic, Lancaster’s music for brass band Eclipse was scored in just five days and represents the darkness and danger facing the arts at this time, with an invitation to remain hopeful until the light returns.

HIF Weekender 2020

“Exciting young musicians”

Jazz maestro Mischa Mullov-Abbado is welcomed as a guest curator for the festival weekend. And Mullov-Abbado has handpicked some of the most exciting young musicians to join the line-up. Included in that list are BBC Young Jazz Musician of The Year finalists Sean Payne and Noah Stoneman.

There will be a host of further classical performances too. An impressive list of artists include Steven Isserlis, Navarra String Quartet, Tasmin Little, and Mahan Esfahani.  A raft of emerging artists such as George Harliono, Silas Bassa, and Abigail Hammett will also be on the bill.

For folk fans BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award nominees Granny’s Attic are on hand to entertain. Or if house music is more your scene, Graeme Park – the legendary Hacienda DJ will be on the decks.

HIF Weekender presents a series of cultural conversations with some great names too. Celebrated conductor Ben Palmer talks, as does theatre maker and co-director of the Fun Palaces campaign, Stella Duffy.  Newsreader John Suchet will reveal the man behind the music with his compelling biography of Beethoven; and one of the UKs most prolific and successful writers – Anthony Horowitz – will be sharing  anecdotes from his career.

HIF will also be providing TED-talks, and things for the kids too.

HIF Weekender 2020

“An artistic force to be reckoned with”

Since 1966, Harrogate International Festivals has proved an artistic force to be reckoned with. Presenting inspiring and ambitious cultural experiences in the most interesting spaces across Harrogate and the region, it remains dedicated to its charitable purpose of ensuring as many people as possible have access to the arts. This commitment now takes the Festival to a digital doorstep. But for those unable to connect HIF has created a CD version of the weekender available to the public.

Sharon Canavar, CE of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “Out of crisis comes creativity. And Harrogate International Festivals is delighted to present a world-class line-up for our first virtual HIF Weekender. Bucking the trend, we have opened our digital doors and wallets to fund artists and commission new work, knowing the transformative value that the arts bring in supporting communities – both locally and for our international audience.”


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