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Galtres Festival Coming to Helmsley

Galtres Festival 2011-366

11:59am 22nd February 2013

Duncombe Park at Helmsley will host this year's Galtres Festival, it was revealed today in a surprise announcement ending months of uncertainty.

Sites in York and Huby near Easingwold have also been under consideration for the August Bank Holiday event, but organisers have opted for the stately home venue on the edge of the North York Moors.

"It's a truly fabulous and spectacular location, and perfect for our festival," said organiser James Houston. "There is spacious grassy parkland, woodland, beautiful riverside camping, the fabulous backdrop of a stately home, and fantastic access roads all around the estate. 

"What we also deeply value is the warm welcome we have received from people here - the estate owners, the local traders, the town council - everyone. It's clear they appreciate the quality of our event, and the value of the benefits it will bring to Helmsley and to the region."

Hotelier Chris Parker, a town councillor and member of trade association Helmsley In Business, said "We welcome the Festival coming to Helmsley in 2013. It has been proved with other events that Helmsley has the capacity and ability to add to the visitor experience and it is hoped that Galtres Festival goers will visit the town where a unique shopping experience is guaranteed."

He added: "Naturally any supplies that can be provided by local businesses will benefit the local economy where 'sticky pounds' are always a welcome commodity."

Duncombe Park also hosts an annual motorcyle rally, a steam fair, a country game fair, horse racing and craft events - all of which bring visitors to the town. "The people here seem very pragmatic," explained James Houston. "They welcome events and the visitors they attract as the lifeblood of the local economy. We pledge to respect the town and its residents, to minimise disruption and to maximise benefit."

As well as the town centre's shops and facilities, Helmsley's attractions include the castle, nearby Rievaulx Abbey, and a falconry centre within Duncombe Park. A craft festival is also taking place in the stately home over the August Bank Holiday weekend. "We don't think our festival visitors will ever want to go home," said James Houston.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the regional tourism agency, added, "We have supported Galtres Festival for some years and are sure this move will be a great boost to the festival and the local area. The reputation of the event goes from strength to strength bringing great music to a spectacular location."

James Houston added that while very excited by the Duncombe Park opportunity, his team remains committed to running events at both Rawcliffe Country Park in York and at Folly Wood in Huby. "Both are excellent venues in very different ways," said James. "We've spent a lot of time talking to and listening to the people who live around those sites. While there are concerns about holding events there, there is also much support. Our plan is to run smaller events to start with - perhaps a beer festival or a one-night concert - and then to build on those with the growing trust of the local communities. Galtres Festival is all about working in harmony with people, developing high quality events which people enjoy and which have minimal impact. We're grateful for the support we have been shown in York and in Huby and hope to be issuing news about these venues very soon."

Galtres Festival began in 2005 at the Durham Ox, Crayke, and this represents the sixth move in nine years, as the event has steadily grown. The event was hosted at Sutton Park Stately Home in 2006, and the move there helped grow the audience by nearly double. "You might think going to festivals was about getting away from the formality of the Establishment," said Mr Houston, "but you'd be wrong. We British just love our stately homes! Give us a fine tune, a glass of something nice to drink, a big posh house and a country view, and we're the happiest folk in the world."

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