Aerial artist Deborah Sanderson launched the countdown to Holmfirth Arts Festival, a weekend of arts and culture through performance on the streets and in the venues of Holmfirth.

Deborah, founder of Urban Angels Circus, rehearsed in Victoria Park in Holmfirth ahead of the event this weekend (September 17-19).

Urban Angels Circus is one of the many performers at the festival, which features street theatre, music, song, dance and even an astronaut who will fly through the streets of Holmfirth. The aerial artists will perform in Holmside Gardens on Sunday September 19.

Organisers, who use an Arts Council England grant to stage the event, are delighted to be back to a live festival, after being forced online last year due to Covid restrictions.

With something for all ages, including a contemporary circus company with an extraordinary aerial show, a flying astronaut, Yorkshire brass from Hade Edge Band, a triple bill of comedy and lots of street performance, much of it free or Pay as You Decide.

An extensive community engagement programme includes a History of Holmfirth Parade, Carbon Capture Sculpture in the Community and Art in the Woods.

Highlights of performances include a trio of comedians, starring Kieran Hodgson supported by Pete Selwood and Seeta Wrightson on the Saturday night of September 18, at Holmfirth Civic Hall.

Hade Edge Band and Biscuit Head and the Biscuit Badgers and Mambo Jambo also perform live music over the weekend. 

There is also paid for tickets available for many of the performances in venues.

Street performers include Urban Astronaut by Highly Sprung Theatre, Garden of Delights by Urban Circus Angels, The Whale by Circo Rumbaba, percussion by Banda Na Rua and HD9 Community Brass.

Bev Adams, festival director, said: “We are excited about producing a live event and are working with Kirklees Council to present a socially distanced festival where needed.

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“The festival is an opportunity to see Holmfirth and the Holme Valley a little differently. We invite local schools, families and community groups of all ages, cultures and abilities to get involved in the projects which will take place in advance of the festival with lots of workshops for community groups and schools in early September.”

Ms Adams said there have been uncertain times for the arts and live performance with continually changing restrictions, but added: “People have missed live performance, be it comedy, theatre, music or a chance to dance. We are social creatures and enjoy sharing an experience together.”

Holmfirth parade

The History of Holmfirth Parade, which will happen on Sunday September 19 from 2pm, is an opportunity for people to work with professional artists to create a parade that charts the history of Holmfirth from its agricultural roots to the present day.  

Art in the Woods is creating an art trail for installation at Earthworks – New Mill Community Garden Project and Carbon Capture Sculpture is an opportunity to create living willow sculptures which will firstly be installed as part of Art in the Woods and then returned to communities for them to nurture permanently.

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Last year’s festival was presented as an online event over three nights. Performances were filmed in advance and also performed live online, attracting an audience of 48,000 from around the world.

This year at the Covid aware festival, audiences will be suitably smaller to accommodate crowds safely.

More details about the line up and tickets at