Harrogate International Festivals’ 50th anniversary ball; Royal Hall, Harrogate

French pop band the Gypsy Queens were special guests at the ball

French pop band the Gypsy Queens were special guests at the ball - Credit: Archant

Friends of Harrogate International Festivals mark the charity’s half century at a glittering ball

More than 300 people attended Harrogate International Festivals’ 50th anniversary ball at the Royal Hall, Harrogate. The spectacular night included The Dream Engine heliosphere show with an acrobatic dancer performing above diners, and an exclusive performance from the Gypsy Queens, whose fans include Prince Harry and David Beckham.

The charity fundraiser was part of the festivals’ ambitious Future 50 campaign to raise £1m to safeguard its future. Guests included Future 50 vice presidents, bestselling author Val McDermid and Peter McCormick OBE, who co-hosted a glittery auction on the night.

Other Future 50 vice presidents attending were the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s title sponsor, Simon Theakston, Sir Gary Verity, Harrogate Advertiser editor Jean MacQuarrie, literary agent Jane Gregory, Dr Terry Bramall CBE and Liz Bramall.

The Royal Hall featured 25 12ft trees to mark the support of Bettys & Taylors, who along with Harrogate Borough Council, will plant 50 trees to create a festival forest in honour of the organisation’s half century.

Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said: ‘It was a simply remarkable evening, not just as a celebration of the festival but in helping us on our £1m fundraising campaign to safeguard the next 50 years of Harrogate International Festivals.’

Fiona Movley, chair of Harrogate International Festivals, added her thanks to everyone for their generosity and support. She said: ‘Only two per cent of our income is from public funds. It’s clear that Harrogate values the arts and knows our lives would be that much poorer without them. I’d like to thank everyone who attended and gave so generously to the cause.’

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The festivals deliver an annual economic impact of £8.2million in the region, and attract more than 90,000 people to a wide variety of year-round events.

The organisation has been credited with putting the town on the literary map by hosting the world’s biggest celebration of the crime writing genre. As well as high profile festivals, it also delivers outreach and educational work.