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Today the Festival is held over a two week period at the start of October in this miniature Victorian spa town at the foot of Ilkley Moor - surrounded by beautiful countryside – but only fifteen minutes from Leeds Bradford airport and a stone’s throw from Haworth, Harrogate, Leeds and Bradford.
The Festival is supported by Arts Council England and Bradford Metropolitan District Council with The University of Leeds as Higher Education Partner. Major supporters include The Grammar School at Leeds, Bradford Grammar School and Spellman Walker. A range of other business and educational partners supporting specific events.
Each year more than 200 events take place in a variety of venues across the town, from a well equipped modern studio theatre for 150 at Ilkley Playhouse, to the large function rooms at the imposing Craiglands Hotel and the ornate Grade 2 listed early nineteenth century King’s Hall, with its gilded boxes and balconies, seating 500.
The Children’s Festival has a home at All Saints C of E Primary School and other events take place at St Margaret’s Church Hall, Otley Courthouse Arts Centre and the Education Room of the Manor House Museum.
There are projects and residencies involving local schools and community organisations across the town and a lively Fringe that squashes into any venue it can find.
As J.B. Priestley said, when he wrote in support of the very first Festival: ‘Ilkley is the right size for a Festival town…large enough to provide various amenities and small enough to stroll around and run into everybody.’