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

Important Dates


 7th-10th May 2019 - The Speech and Drama section of the Wharfedale Festival will take place at either The Craiglands Hotel, Cowpasture Road or The Kings Hall, Station Road, Ilkley.

16th August 2019 - Closing date for the Piano Festival section of the Wharfedale Festival section.

15th-17th October 2019 - The Piano Festival will take place in the Christchurch Sanctuary on The Grove.

2nd-3rd, 9th-10th November 2019 - Advance notice of the Wharfedale Festival's Dance Championship including our heat of Miss Dance 2019 to be held in Guiseley Theatre, Guiseley.


Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts Report on 2017 Speech & Drama FestivalWhat a wonderful week!  The 111th Festival has just finished and been declared a resounding success by adjudicators, performers and audiences who were lucky enough to be able to attend it in any of the Ilkley venues.

The week started with Speech and Drama - a feast of poetry, prose and characterisation from performers coming from all over Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. The Craiglands Hotel was packed with audiences of excited youngsters and supportive adults as groups of children awaited their moment of stardom.
Winning entries for the Poetry Writing Class were read by Mrs Elizabeth Sharp who was herself presented with a bouquet of flowers by Blanche Woollin, Chair of the committee, in recognition of her service to the Wharfedale Festival before she stepped down last July and to add, in this way, to the farewell gift made then.

The regular "Music Makers" morning for children with Special Educational Needs was again a delight and rounded off by a picnic lunch in the Conservatory at Craiglands before they returned to their schools. YAMSEN co-ordinator Diane Paterson said “This class was the best I have seen for quite a few years. Thank you all for being there to encourage the children”.

One of the more interesting areas of the Speech and Drama is the Public Speaking class where Dhruv Patil, a schoolboy from Idle spoke warningly about the "Death of the Rainforests" to be followed by a 13 year old Jamie Lynch from Guiseley powerfully exhorting the audience to beware of the dangers of Social Media. All this was followed by Choral Speaking classes where among others, a group of mature ladies won the Vogue Players’ Trophy when they spoke in unison, and very amusingly, about the ‘Women’s Institute Calendar’. This whole section of the Festival was brought to an end by scenes from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ performed by the WASP Theatre Group.

Children from schools all over the Bradford area joined Cathy Roberts in her final Choirs’ Workshop at the King’s Hall as she retired from her 20 year career to move on to other projects.  Accepting flowers from children on behalf of the Festival team, she said it was a privilege to be in Ilkley again and thanked them for making it possible. She left the stage telling the children to keep singing and with the sound of their cheers heard outside the building.   The day finished with 5 school groups of Samba and Steel Bands:  58 children produced music which made the audience feel like dancing; even the King’s Hall staff were clapping along. The Adjudicator, Margaret Smith, reminisced that she had played her first piano competition on that stage and said she had enjoyed a “most spectacular evening”. She then stayed on in the audience to relax at the final day of the Festival.

Choirs and their popularity were very much the theme of the day on the final morning where eight Junior Choirs did battle for trophies. This really was a day where the King’s Hall needed extra seating as ticket sales had to be suspended and many people could not get in. Those who did hear schools from Wakefield, Giggleswick , Bradford, Keighley, Fulneck and ,of course, Ilkley left urging the organisers to “keep it up, keep on going” and saying “what a wonderful day”. The overall Craiglands’ Trophy was presented to Moorfield School by Maj Hussain, the Operations’ Manager at the Craiglands Hotel.

Changing venue again, the Parish Council Evening Celebration Concert was held at Christchurch where Trophies were awarded for outstanding performances. The audience also enjoyed a Barbershop Class, the Shipley Musical Union Male Voice Choir and music from pianists and singers, who had excelled in the Piano and Song Festival in October. As he left Brian Mann, the retiring Chair of the Parish Council said he thought that the Festival had been "revitalised".

The Committee would like to thank all those volunteers without whom we could not have made the Festival possible. Our next event is the Special Needs day on July 19 at the Kings’ Hall and audiences will love it!

Pat Dibb
General Secretary, WFPA
24 May, 2017


Search the Wharfedale Festival

Festival Secretaries

General Secretary
Mrs Patricia Dibb
01943 865180


Speech & Drama Secretaries
Mrs Julie James
01943 433444

Mrs Elizabeth Whiteley
01943 830780

Piano Festival Secretary

Piano Festival Secretary

Mrs Evelyn van Terheyden
11, Oaklands,
Westwood Drive,
Ilkley. LS29 9RE

Telephone: 01943 600470
Mobile: 07951 533653


Piano Festival

Dance Championship


Mrs Ivy Wailes
Highfield House
184 Walton Park
Harrogate HG3 1RJ

Telephone: 01423 870616
Mobile: 07503150502 


Dance Championship

Latest News

Duke of York Community Award

The Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts has been awarded the Duke of York Community Initiative Award for our work with Special Educational Needs children/young people.

The Duke of York Community Initiative Award