Madame Butterfly at the 2007
A YORKSHIRE DALES music and arts festival is set go from strength to strength with the announcement of a major new sponsorship deal.
Skipton Building Society is to become title sponsor of the Grassington Festival of music and arts in the Dales in a minimum three year association, the first time the Festival has had a title sponsor in its 27 year history.
"We are so excited about this agreement," said Festival Director Amelia Vyvyan.
"It's not just about financial support; the Society is committed to helping us grow and develop the festival over the next few years in many ways.
"We are delighted and proud to be associated with a festival with such a great reputation for quality, diversity and attracting international artists," said Matthew Cox, events and sponsorship manager at Skipton Building Society.
"In the past two years we have begun to develop the Festival considerably," continued Mrs Vyvyan. "We are already recognised as the most successful rural arts festival in the region. We have our larger scale marquee performances, which allow us to attract even more household names like The Saw Doctors, Jo Brand and Hayley Westenra. Plus we've added more free events for the community, with our Scenes in the Square and Performances in the Pubs programmes.
"We are also expanding our visual arts programme with the Art and About trail and workshop series - and we've quite a few other ideas up our sleeves. The support of Skipton Building Society will enable us to realise our ambitions."
We are already recognised as the most successful rural arts festival in the region
Amelia Vyvyan - Grassington Festival
Skipton Building Society is keen to develop local youth involvement in the arts and is no stranger to supporting the arts in Craven. Alongside previous projects, it is title sponsor of the Skipton Building Society Camerata, a professional orchestra formed in 2004 which aims to bring classical music to the communities and especially the young people of North Yorkshire.
The Camerata is working together with Grassington Festival and Utility Opera company to present a unique performance of Puccini's Madame Butterfly at this year's festival, with professional opera stars singing alongside a chorus drawn from the local area and involving a series of education workshops.
"We are looking forward to working with Grassington Festival over the next few years and to seeing it develop," added Mr Cox. "We are committed to the Festival for the next three years in more than financial support as we will also support them through staff volunteering and advice - this is a true partnership. Grassington, Craven, North Yorkshire - it's where we're based and things that matter to the community, like this marvellous Festival, matter to us, too."
For further information see www.grassington-festival.org.uk