Last week we attended the launch of the Harrogate Fringe Festival. After a general intro from the Harrogate Internation Festival (proper) Director, Graham Chalmers of Gig Scene was introduced. He gushed the passion, like only he can, about how good this thing could really be. There’s so much creativity in this town and so much creative appreciation of off mainstream stuff that – the feeling seems to be – it really could be the start of something quite special.
There’ll be the widest of sub spectrum acts ‘flown in’ , playing at a host of some old – some new Harrogate venues. A secret venue for instance and “The Harrogate Club” which I’d never heard of but someone told me it’s a lovely Victorian chamber down Victoria Avenue.
There’s a day of more home grown acts – mainly Harrogate and Leeds based bands (including an after party by us lot (FIRE) ‘v’ Bottom of the Bottle. whilst the North Yorkshire Hardcode Punk lot make some noise in Crabtrees ) This is billed as “Festival Fringe Crawl Indie Rock Day” but I much prefer the title “Harrogate Fringe Fringe”.
As it’s the first year, its a bit ‘suck it and see’ but the organisers don’t seem to have used that as an excuse in any way for falling short. The Fringe highlight for me would probably be Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band) and local boy Karl Culley – both geniuses in their own right. A brilliant pairing who ever came up with that idea. Field Music (they don’t sound like they’re from Sunderland but they are) who this time last week I’d never heard of, who since have featured heavily on my spotify playlist – quite refreshing stuff. The Rothko v Stockhausen guy Mark Stubbs will be doing some kind of lecture by the look of things – could be interesting. As a package, it’s not (I’m glad to report) billable as ‘something for everyone’ as that often means ‘something quite mainstream’ – which this seems proudly not, I’m glad to report.
The thing about a good fringe festivals is, it’s not necessarily the acts you ear mark to see before hand that leave the lasting memories but the magical unexpected moments you stumble across that make them special. This fringe looks like it’s got stacks of ammo in the unexpected department.
Harrogate Fringe line up (or ‘highlights’ )
An evening with Bob Harris, Jackson-Webber & Special guest
July 14 Harrogate Theatre
Robin Williamson (ex Incredible String Band) plus Karl Culley
July 15 St Peter’s Church
Poems, Prose & Pints, Creative Writing Workshop & Guest Writer
July 17 & 21 – The Harrogate Club
(Run by Eirene! contact us for details) – July 17th – Hornbeam Park
Codebreakers The Story of Enigma
July 17 Harrogate Theatre
Showstopper! The improvised Musical
July 17 Harrogate Theatre
RedHouse presents Music To My Eyes: A Rock n Roll exhibition
July 23 – 25 108 Fine Art Gallery, Crown Place
Kamaca’s Tribute to Gershwin
July 23 Harrogate Theatre
Alex Wilson Salsa Con Soul
July 23 Royal Hall
Fear of Music with David Stubbs of The Wire/Uncut magazines.
July 24 The Harrogate Club
John Otway: Making Success Out of Failure & Chris Simpson of Magna Carta reads Fields of Eden
July 25 The Harrogate Club
Alrnias: Anthropology/art music with Phil Legard.
July 25 Secret Harrogate Location
Esoteric Electronica with Primate Engineer.
July 28 The Harrogate Club
An Evening with Field Music
July 29 Harrogate Theatre
July 31 Harrogate Theatre
Festival Fringe Crawl Indie Rock Day
July 31 Monteys / Blues Bar / Rehab / Crabtrees / St Peter‘s Church
As soon as I know about booking info, I’ll post it up here – at the moment, unless someone cares to correct me in the comments, there’s no news. Stay tuned!