Festival for the senses
MARKET FORCES: Looking for a relief from the identikit British high street? Why not take a stroll through Wetherby says Chris Berry.
HEY’RE all the same these days. It doesn’t matter where you go now every town and city has the same shops, the same high street names, where has all the individual character gone that made these towns individual?
Fortunately we wise folk in Yorkshire haven’t succumbed as readily to this kind of criticism with our lovely market towns. Take a trip around Northallerton, Yarm, Skipton, Ilkley, Otley, Beverley and many more and you will find plenty that’s different and unique.
Wetherby fits the criteria better than most with an abundance of great smaller independent retailers, pubs, coffee shops, restaurants and still retains its one screen cinema. It’s a town that attracts day visitors along the beautiful stretch of the River Wharfe where you can walk alongside from parkland and marvel at the weir. It’s also still very much a market town hosting a regular and extremely popular weekly market day every Thursday and Wetherby Farmers Market on the second Sunday each month, so it’s on tomorrow!
One of the delights during the summer is the weekly afternoon brass band concert held at the bandstand in the Wilderness car park right next to the bridge every Sunday from 2.30pm and run until the end of September. Bands heading to Wetherby in the coming weeks include those from Drighlington, Thurlstone, Honley and Kippax. Tomorrow it’s Shepherd Group Concert Band.
Wetherby Races start its new jump season on Wednesday, October 14 having added flat racing to their calendar for the first time earlier this year, but there’s another event that is set to see thousands descend on both the racecourse and the town in September when the dance music event Mint Festival takes place bringing some of the world’s leading DJs. This was held at Lotherton Hall and the Lincolnshire Showground previously.
Organisers of this year’s Wetherby Arts Festival will be hoping their line-up in October will once again appeal to all ages. The annual literary luncheon includes authors Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess featured on ITV’s The Dales; historic fiction writer Tim Leach; and north-east novelist Debbie Taylor who wrote Herring Girl. It takes place at the Bridge Inn in Walshford. Other highlights currently include concerts by the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, St. Aidan’s Swing Band, tribute band Beatles For Sale, Leeds Male Voice Choir and a Fun Dog Show.
The festival starts Friday, October 16 and runs for just over a week. Having seen how hard the small committee works on this event to bring it together bi-annually, with a smaller version in the intervening years – and having attended numerous of the events, as well as being one of the past literary luncheon authors I would thoroughly recommend that you look out for the full programme.
If you’re a history lover Wetherby never disappoints either. Take a look at the plethora of blue plaques around and you get a feeling for what the town must have been like in its early days. There was once a castle here and the town was the final resting place for the Parliamentarians before they took to the battlefield of
BACK IN TIME: Some of the sights that can be seen on a walk by the River Wharfe at Wetherby