There is some good news. Our wonderful Swaledale Festival is going ahead this year. It will run over a 6 month period, and be a different format with fewer events, as there is still uncertainty about how the situation regarding restrictions will develop. Only the four larger venues will be used, St Mary’s church here in Richmond, St Andrew’s in Grinton, St Andrew’s in Aysgarth and Tennants in Leyburn. This is to allow for socially distanced audiences, with people of the same household or bubble able to sit together. The seats will be allocated, so no need to queue in advance to obtain a good seat this year. The concerts are to be I hour only, and will be performed twice, to allow for social distancing numbers, and a clean before the repeat performance. There are no intervals or refreshments this year. But despite all the necessary restrictions the Festival must impose in order to go ahead, I am so excited to be able to attend live music events again! Events are ready for the end of May through to October. It will be a good idea to check on the website regularly, or sign up for emails to keep up to date.

Swaledale Festival is about arts in the round. There are several guided walks programmed, and free Family Fun Days for the May Bank Holiday weekend. During this initial period there will be an exhibition by James Owen Thomas –From Waste to Wall – at the Station, Richmond. James creates pictures from litter. Visit the Station website to check opening times, which are planned for 28 May – 17 June, 9am to late. Admission is free.

My other favourite place, Benslow Music, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, is also reopening residential courses, and their course programme for July – September is ready at In the meantime they have been running as many online concerts and courses as possible. Once you have an online concert ticket, you may revisit that concert as many times as you would like, as they are all recorded. That does seem an excellent idea!

Let us hope that live music events can gradually open up, although I suspect that the music industry , like many others, is not going to be the same going forward.