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Bingley's Robertshaw Festival’s 80 years of success
Bingley’s Robertshaw Festival celebrated its 80th year with hundreds of entries in various categories.
Held at Beckfoot School over the first two weekends in March, the festival ended on Saturday with the music performances. The previous weekend saw youngsters compete in the speech and drama categories.
A highlight of Bingley’s arts calendar since 1933, the festival’s goal is to introduce young people to the world of competitive arts.
It attracts entrants from across the county and this year had competitors from Lancashire competing with schools and music clubs from West Yorkshire.
Although the festival remains one of the premier events in the area, the number of young people taking part was down on previous years, and organisers say will have to do more to promote the event.
Last weekend there were 250 entries in the speech and drama competitions, which include categories such as newsreading and memorised prose, while this weekend there were 120 entries in the musical categories, including barbershop and 19th century German song. Kevin Hickey, one of the festival’s organisers, said: “It has been a very enjoyable festival this year. We had a lot of singers and piano players in particular.
“Entries have been down this year. In the future we need to encourage more people to enter – make more music teachers aware of the festival.
“A lot of people don’t know about it, and musicians have a lot of other commitments and concerts to go to.”
One of the success stories from the festival were the pupils from the Lower Sixth of Bradford Girls’ Grammar School, who swept the field in various public speaking categories.
Sophia Akhtar gained a high distinction and first place for her humorous talk on ‘How to Write a Speech’, Mariya Shah, came second and Amirah Nazir achieved Third Place with Distinction. Hours after the festival finished 220 young people from across the district took part in two musical concerts by Bradford Council’s Music and Arts service.
Groups involved in the concerts, also held at Beckfoot, included wind bands from Ilkley and North Bradford music centres, Rock School and classical guitar from Ilkley Music Centre and a Bradford percussion group.