Castle Howard given green light for large summer concerts

One of the country’s grandest stately homes has unveiled a summer plan to lift spirits, after being given the go-ahead for a series of outdoor summer concerts in August, as part of the Government’s road map to recovery.

Castle Howard has unveiled a summer plan to lift spirits, after being given the go-ahead for a series of outdoor summer concerts in August.

Castle Howard is poised for the first musical notes of summer to ring out across the grounds of the 10,000-acre North Yorkshire estate.

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The stately home will see the return of it’s annual live music weekend – which will feature the chilled sounds of Ibiza, flag-waving proms and an orchestral performance of Queen’s greatest hits this August.

Pictured, a young girl enjoying a previous summer event at Castle Howard. The Proms at the North Yorkshire stately home on the evening of Saturday 21 August, will celebrate it's 30 anniversary this summer.

The live music weekend has been confirmed for August 20-22, and will include Tenor Wynne Evans, famously of the Go Compare car insurance TV ads.

It will also feature soprano Victoria Joyce in a Proms night incorporating a Spitfire fly-past, flag-waving, lasers and fireworks, with orchestral accompaniment from the London Gala Orchestra.

Nicholas Howard, of the stately home near Malton, said he had always been cautiously optimistic that the events, which were postponed last summer, would be able to take place this year.

He said: "The latest government roadmap gives us reassurance that we can deliver all three events safely this year.

Fireworks exploding over Castle Howard is by Charlotte Graham. Photo credit: Charlotte Graham

"A combination of the vaccination programme and our concerts taking place outdoors with plenty of room for responsible social distancing – whether that is required or not – provide us with the reassurance that we can put tickets on sale with a degree of confidence that we will not need to postpone or cancel due to the pandemic.”

This summer the Proms, set for on the evening of Saturday 21 August, will celebrate it's 30 anniversary.

The venue, near York, was one of the first outside the South to embrace open-air concerts. The union flags associated with the last night of the London Proms are also encouraged at the Howardian version.

Abbigail Ollive, head of marketing for Castle Howard, said: "The Proms at Castle Howard is a fixture in the calendar of many families and group of friends, who turn the concert into an ‘event’, whether that be through dressing up in Union Jack-themed outfits or even bringing picnic tables complete with fine crockery and candelabra – turning a picnic into alfresco fine dining with champagne and strawberries.

"We’re anticipating even more of this in August – a flurry of creative celebration following so many months cooped up at home, particularly with a question mark still hanging over many events at other venues that would have been scheduled for earlier in the year."

Opening the weekend would be Café Mambo Ibiza, an opportunity to relive the soundtrack of the Balearics including a 'star-studded line-up of DJs - said to be a 'perfect way to experience the party atmosphere without being tightly packed onto a dancefloor.'

The closing act for the weekend will combine the sound of a symphony orchestra with rock vocalists, as Queen Symphonic sees Queen's greatest hits performed.

Ms Ollive stressed the importance of the three concerts in Yorkshire was a "welcomed boost" to the performing arts sector.

She said: " The sector was hit incredibly hard during the pandemic, with almost no opportunities to perform to live audiences or as part of larger ensembles.

"There is an exuberance from the audience that you find in open air concerts, particularly when the music is so emotive or rousing as Rule Britannia or Bohemian Rhapsody, so you can expect these musicians to give their all for the concert series this summer.”

A spokesperson added organisers were planning measures to reduce queuing, including more time between the gates opening and the concerts starting.

Recently the stately home in North Yorkshire was used as a filming backdrop in the recent global television hit Netflix show Bridgerton, with Castle Howard and Coneysthorpe featuring as Clyvedon Castle and village, the Duke of Hastings’ family estate.

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