Hebden Bridge is the place to be as arts festival nears

Free street theatre was very poular at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival. Picture by Craig Shaw/blu planet photography

Free street theatre was very poular at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival. Picture by Craig Shaw/blu planet photography

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Organisers of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival are hoping this year’s event will be a huge boost to the town.

The festival, which will run from June 26 to June 5, promises to be a feast of creativity, showcasing all that is great about Hebden Bridge and the surrounding area.

Now in its 21st year, the event is one of the longest running arts festivals in Yorkshire with a reputation for delivering big names in the stunning Calder Valley setting.

And organisers say that the festival, which is months in the making, can play a vital role in drawing thousands of people into the area and adding to the local economy.

Helen Meller, festival director, said: “It’s all about showing how much Hebden Bridge has to offer – the people, the landscape and the artists.

“Having a programme with a diverse range of events is really important in bringing people from inside and outside the town in.

“We are hoping we have the right kind of rhythm to keep people coming. The festival does give a boost to the area and now that businesses want to work with us year on year, it’s a chance for them to do something a bit different.

“They are really really supportive with what we are trying to do and we are trying to support them.

“We need reasons for people to come and spend their money, it’s about getting that footfall and making sure people are going away with the thought of coming back next year.

“The longer people stay, the better it is and across the four weekend days we have got stuff going on all day and there’s a real mix of events to encourage people to do that.

“We want people to have a reason to visit. The idea is people who come will stay for a long weekend and having a two-weekend festival is the ideal opportunity for that.

“We design it so people can stay in the area and see it as a trip and we do suggest to people where they can stay and things they can do in the area.

“We’re trying to encourage lots of different ways of appealing to people. It’s not just about selling tickets, it is part of it but there’s lots of different things going on.

“You are guaranteed to have a good time and we are always looking at doing these events year round.

“It’s a way to send out the message that there’s so much going on so people come back to see what else is happening - it’s a great place to visit any time of the year.”