About us

As Festivals North we are working to raise the profile of our festivals, contribute to their long-term sustainability and raise the bar in terms of programming.

We aim to work with companies and organisations with an international reputation for excellence, to bring work to North Yorkshire the like of which has not been seen here before, and to make it accessible to the widest possible festival audience. We want to strengthen our festivals, inspire our audiences and attract new ones. This is a great opportunity for us to work with experienced cross-artform companies with this ambitious short and long term initiative.

Festivals North were identified through a selection process aimed at festivals interested in working with other festivals and taking part in an ideas-led project. All four festivals currently deliver quality, high profile artistic programmes and have a clear economic and social impact on their local communities. Working in England’s largest county (geographically), our work is diverse and we programme in a variety of venues and spaces, for example the Scarborough Spa, an underground car park, a reservoir, the Harrogate Royal Hall, remote country churches and beautiful historic houses.


We recognise we are stronger working together, are committed to developing the arts and recognise and aspire to meet the needs of diverse audiences. By working together it is important to us to develop our individual artistic programmes and ultimately enable us to work towards our shared ambitions and aspirations which are:

  • To raise standards in festival management and artistic programming and to act as a model of good practice and inspire other festivals
  • To increase community engagement in the arts and develop new audiences: local, UK and international
  • To improve the festival product
  • To increase the economic impact of the Key Festivals and to increase tourism in North Yorkshire
  • To encourage partnership working among North Yorkshire festivals
  • To work towards sustainability for the Key Festivals
  • To increase opportunities for people working locally in the creative industries
  • To influence policy makers and develop working partnerships with tourism agencies

Achievements to date

  • 5 jointly commissioned bespoke productions at the 5 key festivals
  • Work created for 131 Artists and engagement with 1146 audience members
  • 5 new writing commissions and 10 new music compositions
  • Economic impact – Direct Spend £88,013 / Induced Impact £131,161
  • A step-change in ambition, programming and commissioning
  • Raised festival profiles and diverse audiences
  • National press coverage
  • Strengthened partnerships, good group dynamics and reinforced core values
  • Festival Boards have made a step change in their visions
  • Purchase of 3 touch screen kiosks for evaluation / Purchase of lighting equipment
  • Guardian media campaign