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Freddie Mercury tribute act booked for Ilkley Summer Festival
A feast of music, entertainment, heritage and art is about to begin as the eighth Ilkley Summer Festival comes to town.
Another mix of free and tickets-only events for local families and visitors of all ages is promised in the festival programme, which runs throughout August.
Long-established local events, such as Ilkley Flower Show on Saturday, August 7, are lined up for coming weeks, alongside festival favourites, including the three-day Continental street market on the Grove and the Last Night of the Proms concert.
The festival will again play host to some high profile performers, with comedy icon Ken Dodd topping the bill as he brings his already sold-out Happiness Show to the King’s Hall this Wednesday.
The free Picnic and Party at the Riverside events on August 14 and 15, will bring premier rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll musician and singer Mike Sanchez to Ilkley, and Queen fans are in for a treat with a performance by Freddie Mercury tribute singer and lookalike Steve Little, AKA the Great Pretender.
A big top will be set up at the Riverside Gardens for the family weekend, and there will be children’s fairground rides on offer.
The festival traditionally begins on Yorkshire Day August 1, but this year, it gets an extra day into the bargain, with events starting on Saturday, as part of an extended Yorkshire Weekend.
Drawing up the programme has involved tying in regular – and popular – summertime events run by local organisations, as well as working to organise additional events. Festival director, Ilkley ward councillor Anne Hawkesworth, said: “I always feel excited on the first day, breathe a sigh of relief on the Sunday after the last night, and hope most people have enjoyed the events. Here’s to the next one.”
The festival has been watching its purse strings for several years, and with public cutbacks set to continue, the festival will be looking for help and ideas in the years to come.
Coun Hawkesworth is keen for local people to start considering offering their skills to help run the festival next year.
She is giving festival-goers the heads up to watch out for some razzmatazz at the Dolce Vita Cabaret this year.
The open air cabaret event, to return to the Grove on Saturday, August 21, will feature music from Dominic Halpin and the Honey Bs, and Tre Tenori with some light opera.
Once again, the event will raise money for breast cancer charities. The cause was chosen by Coun Hawksworth following her own battle against breast cancer.
Another of the large-scale festival events will be the ever-popular Continental Street Park, on the Grove for three days, from next Friday to Sunday.
The market is again expected to offer tasty treats and goods from the continent and beyond, as well as closer to home, accompanied by music at the bandstand.
One of the central features of the festival, and part of the annual event since it started in 2003, is the cricket school for children at Ben Rhydding Cricket Club, starting on Monday.
For the first time, festival-goers will be able to drop into the elegant refurbished surroundings of the Winter Garden, Station Road, for afternoon tea on Sundays, accompanied by relaxing live background music. Bradford Theatres is opening up the building, with its reconstructed Edwardian spa lantern roof, every Sunday in August, between 11am and 3pm.
Although the Ken Dodd Happiness Show tickets have already been snapped up, there are still some tickets left for other big events of the festival.
Tickets for seats and tables at the Dolce Vita Cabaret on August 21, the Summer Festival Tea Dance on August 26, and Last Night of the Proms, on August 28, are available at Ilkley Tourist Information Centre, Ilkley Town Hall, telephone 01943 602319.
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