The first ever digital Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival has been hailed a great success, attracting thousands of viewers to the free programme of events.
The Festival, which this year was forced online due to the impact of coronavirus, attracted book lovers from across the UK to engage with writers, politicians, journalists and broadcasters in 17 digital events.
Although official viewing figures are yet to be confirmed, the event attracted viewers from across the country and the digital format brought new levels of accessibility for the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.
Just a few of the highlights over the long weekend included author Matt Haig exploring social media’s impact on mental health; Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason sharing the journey of her musical family, and various other conversations with novelists Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett, broadcasters Simon Mayo, Lloyd Grossman and Jeremy Vine, and Labour MP’s Jess Phillips and David Lammy.
Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, said
“The light of human stories and the power of books certainly shone through, breaking down barriers of isolation and reaching new audiences, demonstrating the importance of Festival in our cultural landscape.
“Ticket sales are normally a huge part of our income, but this year’s events were all free of charge. We thank those audience members who donated to our arts charity in lieu of tickets, helping us work towards bridging the financial gap, the first step to securing the future of Harrogate International Festivals.
“This was an extraordinary Festival for an unprecedented year, and whilst we celebrate the success of the event – taking Harrogate to the world – in order for our arts charity to survive we need to be able to welcome the world to Harrogate. Whether that will be possible in 2021 we just don’t know.”
Events originally streamed over the weekend will remain available for the next few weeks online allowing audiences to catch up on anything they have missed in the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.