What does it feel like to have 1,000 people in your garden?

Julila Lawson-Tancred
Julila Lawson-Tancred
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For 13 years the Lawson-Tancreds have hosted the Northern Alborough Festival. Catherine Scott reports.

Imagine having up to 1,000 people in your garden - well that’s exactly what Julia Lawson-Tancred does every year.

Julia’s husband, Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred, is chairman of the Northern Alborough Festival which is in its 23rd year.

For ten days every year the small North Yorkshire village of Alborough and the surrounding area play host to some of the top international classical musicians.

On the last night of the festival the Lawson Tancreds throw open their gardens at Alborough Manor to the public for the grand finale.

“The last night always has a different feel to the rest of the classical concerts,” explains Julia.

“One year we had an ABBA tribute band which was really popular with all generations which is fantastic. Grandfathers were dancing with their grandchildren.”

This year’s finale, with orchestrated fireworks, is going back to the good old days of Rock ‘n’ Roll when The Bluejays will perform classics such as Buddy Holly, Elvis and Little Richard.

“It is a little startling at first when you draw your curtains and see 1,000 people on your lawn, but we love it as do the children. Everyone is great. They are given a bin bag when they arrive and they take their rubbish with them, park where they are supposed to park and leave when they are supposed to leave.”

The Lawson-Tancreds also have artists to stay at their home during the ten day concert.

“Artists would normally stay in a hotel so for them to stay with a family home is a bit of fresh air for them. The children think it’s fantastic to have artists performing and practising in their home,” says Julia who has two children, Flora, 12, and Thomas, nine.

Julia is passionate about encouraging people of all ages to engage with the arts.

After working as a freelance museum educator for clients up and down the country, she was appointed Head of Education at the Wallace Collection in London.

Since moving to Yorkshire, she has been a judge for the Heritage Education Trust administering the Sandford Award for Excellence in Education in heritage sites. She also sits on the Art Fund committee.

For the first time the Alborough Festivallwill embrace a younger generation of music lovers with its family friendly production of The Magic Piano. The animated film from Oscar award-winning creators BreakThru Films, will be accompanied by solo piano, introducing the music of Chopin whilst creating a spellbinding performance for children and parents alike.

“We are always looking to attract new audiences,” says Julia. “By starting them young we are hoping they will start a relationship with classical music that will last a lifetime.”

The Northern Alborough Festival takes place from Thursday June 23 to Saturday July 2. This year’s event includes the winner of the 2015 Leeds International Piano Competition, Anna Tsybuleva and will also feature a talk by Norman Lebrecht, the renowned commentator on music and culture, Perfect Pitch Opera’s new production of Bizet’s Carmen abnd for theatre lovers, the Three Inch Fools will perform Shakepseare’s As You Like It and much more.

For a full list of the events taking place as part of the Northern Alborough Festival visit www.aldboroughfestival.com