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

Secretary’s Report to the AGM on the 114th Year (2020) of the WFPA

Zoom Meeting held on 27/1/21 at 2pm

Thank you all for being available for this Zoom AGM.

 In common with everything which happened to us all in this last festival year of 2020, nothing has been at all usual. In fact, the last normal event we experienced was probably our AGM for 2019, followed by the Management Meeting, both held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Mrs Wailes in Harrogate on March 2nd 2020. At that time we were looking forward to a May festival to be held that year in the final week of April, a July Special Needs Day and a Festival of Piano in October at Christchurch. That would have marked the end of our 2020 as the Dance Championship was no longer in operation due to difficulties in staffing.

Following the meetings, with deposits paid for May to retain performance rooms as well as accommodation for the adjudicators at the Craiglands; deposits for the July event at the King’s Hall and money to Christchurch to hold the relevant spaces for October, things seemed to be on track for a successful festival, our 114th. Little did we know what was to happen to the world due to Covid.


By April a Federation Forum at Darfield on the 23rd had been cancelled and our May festival was postponed but we had still hoped to be able to run the Special Needs’ events in July. The closure of schools and the lockdowns lasted longer than we had anticipated however so that we had to cancel, knowing children would not be able to practise and in any case, the King’s Hall was no longer open to audiences and group activities.

The deposits we had paid were held over until 2021 for use in our 115th festivals. At this stage, there was still a hope that we might be able to continue with the October Festival of Piano with Dame Fanny Waterman as our honoured guest for the second year running but as the effects of Covid increased it became clear that we would have to cancel that also. The deposit paid to Christchurch was similarly held over to this next year. Sadly for all of us, Dame Fanny died during the year, a great loss to us and to everyone in the world of music.

Our meetings for the rest of the year have been by email or Zoom and as Secretary, I have kept in touch with the Federation of Festivals by accepting their invitations to join their own Zoom AGM in December as well as two other Zoom meetings reporting on how other festivals were managing the situation and trying to stay afloat, in some cases by running online festivals. I then circulated the ideas from these meetings to our committee.

Despite the difficult year, the Wharfedale has been blessed in the support it has received from sponsors and friends, as well as performers who having paid to enter, generously donated their fees instead of being reimbursed when the events were cancelled. We were also grateful to our adjudicators who waived the fees due to them when the festivals were cancelled and they could not then work.

In finishing this brief overview, I would like to thank our festival organisers for all their hard work in not only preparing the syllabus and programmes but also for the entire organisation needed to contact performers and schools whilst still being unsure as to what might be possible for performance in the months ahead. We are very lucky to have such a reliable and conscientious team who are so committed to offering children of all diversity the opportunity to gain confidence and advice by performing in public.

 Looking forward it seems that, yet again, the May festival will have to be postponed due to lockdowns and school closures leaving no time to polish performances so we must look towards the end of the year. Let us hope that we may experience a more settled 2021. We are planning to be able to run the Festival of Piano in October 2021 providing we are not limited by Covid restrictions. The syllabus will be online by April 1st and we will make a decision about its feasibility by the beginning of July. Please look to the website for updates.


Pat Dibb, General Secretary   WFPA (27.1.20)


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Festival Secretaries

General Secretary
Mrs Patricia Dibb
01943 865180


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Mrs Julie James
01943 433444

Mrs Elizabeth Whiteley
01943 830780

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Piano Festival Secretary

Mrs Evelyn van Terheyden
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Ilkley. LS29 9RE

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