ORGANISERS of a family festival staged every summer near York have narrowed their search for a new home to two possible sites.
Galtres Festival is set to move from its Crayke base due to its growing popularity and because the surrounding countryside at the site has led to parking issues in wet weather.
The shortlist for the 2013 festival location has now been cut to Rawcliffe Country Park, York, and Folly Wood at Huby, which is privately-owned by a family connected to the event. Festival director James Houston said talks were being held with local residents before licensing applications are submitted.
He said: “The festival has moved five times in the last eight years. It is not static and we like moving it around to keep it fresh and it is also naturally growing, so a site with larger audience potential would be welcome.
“However, the main reason for moving from Crayke is that although the main festival arena is grassy and lovely, the surrounding fields are arable. Stubble is burned at the end of August, when the festival is held, and the land becomes marshy when it rains, so we’re looking for a site which is more suitable for parking.”
Mr Houston said the Crayke site also did not have internal access for production vehicles, which had to drive through the main arena. He said Folly Wood had potential to stage a “magical woodland festival” which would be “beautiful” at night, while Rawcliffe Country Park, next to a Park&Ride site, would be “ideal in practical terms” and allow closer links with York-based artists.
“It’s an exciting time for us, but first we’re talking to community groups and parish councils to see what they think about our plans, and we’re committed to minimising the impact of the event as far as is possible,” he said.
“Both sites present challenges as they have residents and wildlife in fairly close proximity, so we need to show sensitivity in our planning. It’s a community event and we want to be welcomed back.”
Gill Cooper, City of York Council’s head of arts, culture and heritage, said Galtres was “an excellent festival” and the authority – which owns Rawcliffe Country Park – was interested in the possibility of bringing it to York, saying it would discuss the idea with organisers.