LONG-STANDING festivals and arts events all over the country have fallen foul of coronavirus as the pandemic continues to affect our lives.
In Ilkley this week we learned that a piano festival with a history stretching back well over a century had been cancelled for the first time ever.
The event, which forms part of the Wharfedale Festival of Performing Arts, had managed to keep going even during two world wars. But this year it was simply impossible to stage – and there is no doubt it will be missed in the town, until it can be held again next year.
Very many events have had to be cancelled or postponed for a year – so it is welcome news that Ilkley Literature Festival will be going ahead, albeit in a radically different form.
In any other year the town would be looking forward to tickets going on sale for more than 150 events to be staged in a jam-packed fortnight of talks, performances and workshops in October.
It is now clear that there is simply no possibility of being able to stick to that traditional format this year – but organisers are determined that the show will go on in some form – even if many of the initiatives are virtual.
And the town can look forward to not just two weeks of entertainment but many months, with events being launched in September and stretching all the way into spring, when a bumper series of live events is planned to take place.
It will be a very different literature festival – but it promises to be a good one.