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Affiliated to the British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech

Important Dates


1 March 2022 - Closing date for entries to the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts Speech, Drama and Music Festival 2022.

17th- 20th May 2022 - 2022 Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts Speech, Drama and Music Festival.

To celebrate the 70th festival in 1976 Robert Lantaff prepared a short history up to that date. A number of interesting events and developments have occurred since then which are well worth reporting and have therefore been included in this update (1996). Since the historical background obviously remains the same, I have merely included the original text with suitable amendments and additions.

In this series of articles, "I" refers to Robert Lantaff and the original copyright remains with him. These articles are repeated for anyone interested in the history of the Wharfedale Festival.


From 1921 to 1931 there was a flourishing section in which local schools and groups regularly competed. So successful was this activity that a separate festival under the auspices of the Wharfedale was held in 1930 and 1931.

The most famous adjudicator during this period was Cecil Sharp, whose visit in 1924 turned out to be his final public appearance, his death occurring a few weeks later. On the occasion of his previous visit in 1923, the Wednesday evening session was concluded with a sing-song ....

'Mr Sharp earnestly desires that everyone present will join heartily in the singing of the following folk songs: O No John, The Keeper, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale,
The Crystal Spring, Dashing away with the Smoothing Iron,
and The Keys of Canterbury'.

The country dances presented by competitors included:-

The Ribbon Dance, The Black Nag, Rufty Tufty. and Yorkshire Straight Sword Dance.

Robert Lantaff (C) 1976 & 1996

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General Secretary
Mrs Patricia Dibb
01943 865180


Speech & Drama Secretaries
Mrs Julie James
01943 433444

Mrs Elizabeth Whiteley
01943 830780

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Piano Festival Secretary


Piano Festival