This year’s Festival runs from 13 to 22 October, with a small extension to embrace the Wetherby Musical Theatre Group’s Return to the Forbidden Planet.  Alongside the events listed on these pages, there’s a Scarecrow Festival – entry forms from the Town Hall, Library or Castlegate Stationers – and Fringe events. Don’t forget to visit Wetherby on Saturday 14 October to hear the Festive Peal of Bells from the tower of St James’ Church from 10am onwards. The three-hour peal is Holland Bob-Major, composed for the occasion.

13-15 October 2017

Friday 13 October 12 noon for 12.30pm, The Bridge Hotel, Walshford

Literary Lunch

Enjoy a three-course lunch with talks by dramatist and screenwriter Alice Nutter and novelist and biographer Richard Newman.

 

Having always believed she was a writer who ended up in a band, Alice Nutter left the political pop group, Chumbawamba in 2005. Since then, she’s had four plays staged at West Yorkshire Playhouse and written extensively for television.

Local author Richard Newman has published three novels but his greatest success is a biography of a living nun, Sister Agatha from the Bar Convent, York, whose story is stranger than fiction.

Tickets £28

Book Tickets

Friday 13 October 8pm, The Engine Shed

Double Bill: Kieran Hodgson and Ayesha Hazarika

Maestro

In 2003, Kieran Hodgson heard the music of Gustav Mahler and decided to write a symphony. He now tells his story about falling in love and attempting something far beyond his abilities. An epic hilarious hour about trying to find love when you’re the kind of loser who writes classical music instead of playing football.

The State of the Nation

Ayesha Hazarika, MBE, started as a stand-up comedian, then took what she thought was a natural diversion into the Labour Party as a Special Adviser. Since leaving front-line politics, she’s become a much sought-after media commentator. Ayesha lifts the lid on what life’s really like behind the scenes at Westminster with brutal honesty and humour, and asks: what’s next for British politics?

 

Tickets £18

Book Tickets

Saturday 14 October 7.30pm, Linton Memorial Hall

Ghost Story Evening

Join last year’s Literary Lunch guest David McIntee, author of a forthcoming book about the famed BBC Ghost Stories, A Haunted Corporation, for a ghostly storytelling circle and a chat about the history of the British ghost story. Enjoy a glass of something warming as your spine is chilled, and take the opportunity to tell your own favourite spooky stories.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Saturday 14 October 10.30am – 4.00pm, Wetherby Town Hall

Photographic Exhibition

The Wetherby and District Camera Club showcases its members’ work in its Annual Exhibition.

FREE

Saturday 14 October 7.30pm, St James’ Church

Leeds Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Martin Binks

A programme of music by Berlioz, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, with Artist in Residence Craig Ogden as soloist in Manuel Ponce’s Concierto del Sur for guitar.

Tickets £12.50 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Sunday 15 October 10.30am, Wetherby Town Hall Ballroom

Guitar Master Class

Watch and listen as Craig Ogden guides three talented young soloists and a guitar trio through a range of works for classical guitar. Master classes are fascinating experiences, as a virtuoso imparts a lifetime’s knowledge and experience in musical interpretation and performance to budding artists and the audience.

 

Tickets £7.50 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Sunday 15 October 1pm, Meet at the Town Hall from 12.45pm

Guided Walk – Wetherby’s Places of Worship

From an award-winning building to a 13th century cross, this walk encompasses fourteen current and historic locations of worship. Places of worship also fulfil the roles of art gallery and museum, and are a source of culture and local history in the town.

FREE – Family event suitable for all ages.

Sunday 15 October 2.30pm, Church Field behind the Mews Bar, Church Street

Medieval Combat

The Society for Creative Anachronism recreates a 14th century tournament with wooden weapons, a fencing duel and a mêlée. It fights freestyle – real blows and plenty of protective armour, the greater part made by them to historical patterns. Look out for close battles and tight corners, heralds, ladies, knights, squires, villains, heroes and maybe even a royal crown or two.

FREE – Family event suitable for all ages.

Unaccompanied children will not be admitted. No dogs other than guide/support dogs. Spectators are requested to follow all safety instructions given on the day and must remain outside the cordoned off area.

Sunday 15 October 3pm, St Joseph’s Catholic Church

Guitar Recital by Craig Ogden

A household name to listeners of Classic FM and Radio 3, with a string of No.1 CDs to his name, Australian born-guitarist Craig Ogden is one of the most acclaimed classical guitarists of his generation. He is the Festival’s Artist in Residence.  His recital programme ranges across four centuries, from the 1600s to today , and across continents with works by Dowland, J S Bach, Granados,  Villa-Lobos, Django Reinhardt and contemporary composer Gary Ryan.

 

Tickets £10 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Sunday 15 October 7.30pm, St James’ Church

Wetherby Silver Band – A Yorkshire Serenade

In this special Festival programme, devised by its Musical Director Derek Warley, Wetherby’s celebrated Silver Band performs music inspired by Yorkshire or written by Yorkshire composers. Established in 1878, the Silver Band has been performing in Wetherby for nearly 140 years, appearing at the first Wetherby Arts Festival, 40 years ago.

 

Tickets £7.50 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

16-18 October 2017

Monday 16 October 12.30pm, St James’ Church

Lunchtime Concert – Michael Payne (organ)

Whether you’re working or not, you’ll find physical and musical refreshment at our series of short lunchtime concerts through the Festival week.

The  St James’ organist performs works by Buxtehude, J.S. Bach, Percy Whitlock and Dan Locklair.

Food served from 12.30pm, music from 1pm.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Monday 16 October 7.30pm, St James’ Church

The Paul Mirfin Band plus Sarah Boyle, singer/songwriter

Enjoy foot stomping hoedowns with a touch of Yorkshire folk, as The Paul Mirfin Band come to the Festival following the release of their own version of This Train is Bound for Glory. The Paul Mirfin Band are a Harrogate-based group of acoustic musicians who, since forming two years ago, are fast gathering momentum as one of Yorkshire’s most talented producers of original folk rock music. With a unique sound, lyrics and mix of instruments including the Merlin, Shruti and Irish bouzouki, their distinct sound blends American Country porch music with folk rock and bluegrass.

Tickets £8 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Tuesday 17 October 12.30pm, St James’ Church

Lunchtime Concert – one piano, four hands

Whether you’re working or not, you’ll find physical and musical refreshment at our series of short lunchtime concerts through the Festival week.

 

Michael Payne and Martin Binks perform a programme featuring gems of the piano duet repertoire.

Food served from 12.30pm, music from 1pm.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Tuesday 17 October 7.30pm, Church Centre: Main Hall

Yorkshire’s Wild Beauty

Wildlife photographer John Gardner presents a talk that will appeal to nature-lovers and photographers alike. Yorkshire’s diverse landscape is home to a great many species of birds, plants and insects. This talk is lavishly illustrated with images of species from upland moors to lowland lakes.

 

Presented in association with Wetherby and District Camera Club.

Tickets £4

Book Tickets

Wednesday 18 October 12.30pm, St James’ Church

Lunchtime Concert – From Puccini to Leonard Bernstein

Whether you’re working or not, you’ll find physical and musical refreshment at our series of short lunchtime concerts through the Festival week.

Joseph Pratt (Tenor), Heather Jane Taylor (Soprano) with Martin Binks (Piano) perform a selection of popular songs from opera and the musicals.

Food served from 12.30pm, music from 1pm.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Wednesday 18 October 2pm, St James’ Church Centre: Church Room

Canute and the Waves

Sunday Times ‘Book of the Year’ novelist Justin Hill reveals how the 1066 Norman Conquest would never have happened without Canute. His lively and enthralling illustrated talk shows how historical fiction offers insights into the last years of Anglo-Saxon England.

Tickets £4

Book Tickets

Wednesday 18 October 7pm, Wetherby Golf Club

‘Salute to The King’ Elvis Dinner Dance

It’s 40 years since the death of Elvis Presley and this special dinner-dance celebrates his legacy with a performance from leading Elvis entertainer Eddy Popescu, finalist in The European Elvis Championship, 2016.

Dress Code: smart casual

 

Tickets £30

Book Tickets

Wednesday 18 October 7.30pm, St James’ Church

St Aidan’s Swing Band

Back by popular request, St Aidan’s Swing Band with its Director Vicki Elliot,returns to the Festival to play a range of music from classic big band hits to arrangements of modern pop songs and funk. The Band has gained recognition at many national and regional festivals and competitions. Last year they performed at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and have ventured as far afield as Canada, Austria and Switzerland, where they appeared at the 2013 Montreux Jazz Festival. You can be certain the evening will go with a swing!

 

Tickets £6 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

19-20 October 2017

Thursday 19 October 12.30pm, St James’ Church

Lunchtime Concert – Flutes and piano

Whether you’re working or not, you’ll find physical and musical refreshment at our series of short lunchtime concerts through the Festival week.

Hannah Dilworth and Catherine Wright (Flutes) with Martin Binks (Piano) play a  mix of flute solos and duets with piano, both classical and modern.

Food served from 12.30pm, music from 1pm.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Thursday 19 October 2pm, St James’ Church Centre: Church Room

Walking the Literary Landscape

Author Ian Hamilton takes you on a series of walks following in the footsteps of Arthur Ransome, the Brontës, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker and others. Whether a lover of books or lover of the outdoors – or preferably both – you’ll find plenty to inspire you to get on your walking boots.

Tickets £4

Book Tickets

Thursday 19 October 7.30pm, The Engine Shed

Wetherby Light Music Singers Annual Concert

Founded, like the Festival, in 1977, Wetherby Light Music Singers are a group of friends who enjoy singing together. They sing popular songs, old and new!

Tickets £6

Including tea and biscuits.
Book Tickets

Thursday 19 October 8pm, Wetherby & District Social Club

The Adventures of Andy Kershaw

Described by Stephen Fry as ‘The finest broadcaster bar none’, Andy Kershaw has had a weekly BBC radio show for most of the past twenty‐five years that pioneers extraordinary music from all over the world. He is also a serious foreign correspondent. Andy’s one-man show has become a hugely successful highlight of many literary festivals – including a sold-out appearance at Hay on Wye – and a popular draw at theatres and arts centres. Fascinating and often hilarious, the two hour audio-visual presentation treats audiences to recollections on a life spent on the front lines of rock & roll, and on the front lines of some of the world’s most extreme and dangerous countries.

Tickets £15

Book Tickets

Friday 20 October 12.30pm, St James’ Church

Lunchtime Concert – Adam Parrish (Organ)

Whether you’re working or not, you’ll find physical and musical refreshment at our series of short lunchtime concerts through the Festival week.

A young composer and keyboard player inspired by Rick Wakeman brings his own style to the organ.

Food served from 12.30pm, music from 1pm.

Tickets £5 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Friday 20 October 7pm, St James’ Church

St James’ Choir

An evening of sacred and secular music performed by the choir under their Director, Michael Payne.  Works by John Rutter, Gabriel Fauré, J S Bach and S S Wesley in the first half, then a rare performance of Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo by Joseph Horovitz, with words by Michael Flanders (of Flanders and Swann fame). Not to be missed.

Tickets £5, Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Friday 20 October 7.30pm, St. Joseph’s Church Hall

Call My Wine Bluff

This event, organised by the Wetherby Twinning Association, gives you an opportunity to taste six wines and have fun at the same time. Pit your taste buds and knowledge against those of our three ‘experts’ and see if you can tell who is telling the truth and who is lying. Bring a team of up to eight people or come on your own and join a team on the night. Prizes for the winning teams. French bread and cheese supper included.

Tickets £12

Book Tickets

Friday 20 October 8pm, Wetherby Town Hall Ballroom

Ceilidh with the FiddlersWreck Band

Dance the night away at a fun-filled evening for everyone. A ceilidh is an ideal way to have fun with your friends and let your hair down. Don’t worry if you think you’ve got two left feet. The music of FiddlersWreck will soon get your feet tapping, and their caller will walk you through the dances.

Tickets £6

Book Tickets

21-22 October 2017 & 25-27 October 2017

Saturday 21 October 7.30pm, St James’ Church

Spirit of Harmony Barbershop Chorus

Spirit of Harmony has been in the top five, out of 40, choruses at the British Association of Barbershop Singers Convention every year since 2006. Under their Director, Sally McLean, they will perform an entertaining programme, ranging from old-style Barbershop songs to modern classics and fun numbers. They are joined in this concert by the current British Youth Champion Quartet 4 On Demand and one of the UK’s top Ladies Quartets, SoundHouse. An exciting experience!

Tickets £8 Under 16 £2

Book Tickets

Sunday 22 October 11am. Meet at the Bandstand at The Wilderness Car Park from 10.45am.

Historic Wetherby Guided Walk

Join members of the Wetherby Civic Society for a 90-minute guided walk around the town to discover the fascinating history of Wetherby’s past.

 

FREE Family event suitable for all ages.

Sunday 22 October 3pm, St James’ Church

Festival Service

A celebration service on the theme Across the Generations. All are welcome. During the service, the Mayor of Wetherby, Cllr Norma Harrington, will announce the winner of the Scarecrow competition.

 

FREE Everyone welcome.

Sunday 22 October 8pm, Wetherby & District Social Club

Comedy Double Bill: Paul Sinha and Mitch Benn

Shout Out to My Ex

In 2015, Paul Sinha returned from the Edinburgh Fringe a contented man. He did two jobs he loved, enjoying parental approval, and was actually in a proper, grown-up, long-term relationship. The next day, his happiness had vanished.

Was this the end? The beginning of the end? Or the end of a beginning?

Don’t Fear the Reaper

It’s been a morbid time for ‘the country’s leading musical satirist’ (The Times); he’s turned 46 – over the hill by anyone’s standards – his personal life is in turmoil, and his childhood heroes are dropping like flies. At times like these, a man feels the Reaper creeping up on him… But is death anything to fear? And is it really the end? (Yes. Yes, it is, sorry!) Mitch Benn confronts his – and YOUR – mortality with hilarious (and tuneful) consequences. Join him! It’s time you’re not getting back!

‘Song after song of exquisitely crafted satire.’ The Scotsman

Tickets £18

Book Tickets

Wednesday 25 October 7.30pm, Wetherby High School

Return to the Forbidden Planet

The cult rock musical where Shakespeare meets rock and roll! A story of boy meets girl, intrigue, evil and unrequited love set on a spaceship crashing onto a mysterious planet. Be quick to buy tickets for Wetherby Musical Theatre Group’s spaceship and enjoy a journey of musical entertainment featuring songs like Good Vibrations, Great Balls of Fire, Only the Lonely and many, many more.

 Tickets £9

Book Tickets

Thursday 26 October 7.30pm, Wetherby High School

Return to the Forbidden Planet

The cult rock musical where Shakespeare meets rock and roll! A story of boy meets girl, intrigue, evil and unrequited love set on a spaceship crashing onto a mysterious planet. Be quick to buy tickets for Wetherby Musical Theatre Group’s spaceship and enjoy a journey of musical entertainment featuring songs like Good Vibrations, Great Balls of Fire, Only the Lonely and many, many more.

 Tickets £9

Book Tickets

Friday 27 October 7.30pm, Wetherby High School

Return to the Forbidden Planet

The cult rock musical where Shakespeare meets rock and roll! A story of boy meets girl, intrigue, evil and unrequited love set on a spaceship crashing onto a mysterious planet. Be quick to buy tickets for Wetherby Musical Theatre Group’s spaceship and enjoy a journey of musical entertainment featuring songs like Good Vibrations, Great Balls of Fire, Only the Lonely and many, many more.

 Tickets £9

Book Tickets