…. and had a great time. We (Kathryn & myself) called down to Valley Gardens this morning to see our good friends Stewart and Karen perform (independently of each other) at the first ever Happygate. I was knackered from a night of ill thought out scheming but the weather was mainly dry but for one or two showers.

Run by a committee of volunteers with any profits going to local community groups and charities, this all-day event is packed with events and is open to all. It is the first of, hopefully, many, festivals to grace Harrogate’s Valley Gardens. Why would Harrogate need another festival I hear you ask? Well, because this was geared towards showcasing the local talent that Harrogate has in abundance. Harrogate’s arty jewels were bought out and polished and – they did indeed – shine brightly.

There was everything from acoustic songwriters and covers to gabba – it was excellent.

I got there just before my mate Stewart (DJ Scooby) started his Big Band set – to paraphrase the compare, DJ Trev, there was nothing more British than hearing a man with an impenetrable accent (Stewart) play Big Band, Swing, Speak Easy & Trad Jazz on a Sunday Morning in the confines of a public park that is located in a Spa town whilst we sat near a pencil-stick sign post. The highlight of Stewart’s set was Teddy Bear’s Picnic – of which I never tire of.

Then, a couple of acts later it was Karen and a Bellydance troupe she performs as part of. The belly dance troupe she performs as part of is called Houriat – please take your time to check them out as they were fantastic. There were Isis Wings, Shimmys and Bum Wiggles (?) and it was the biggest crowd I saw at HMS Thunderchild (the second stage at Happygate) that morning. I managed to get a few photos of the crowd and my mates so will post them on the bottom of this post.

We stuck around for Rory Hoy’s set. Rory Hoy has a very bright future in front of him – Why do I say future? Well, the man looks to be in his twenties and he is already getting gigs supporting the likes of Craig Charles, he is mates with Fatboy Slim and his music is incredible! His DJing puts all other contenders in the shade (as they will admit) and yet he is so down to earth and approachable! I really wish the best for the man in all of his coming work and it is great to have been there at the ground floor for his career.

Then, we all headed to Major Tom’s to take the weight of our feet (beer) and we felt thoroughly relaxed. A funny occurred when Andy Foster spilt beer all over his lap and it looked like he had a misfiring. Pizzas were ordered and the mickey was taken. Good times.

Me and Kathryn headed up to our place for Kat’s Famous Home Made Sweet & Sour Chicken. I don’t know how she does it but by combining Lemon Juice & Ketchup she makes something amazing!

Kathryn has just headed back out to catch a few more bands but I have elected to stay indoors tonight – I woke at 00:30 so I am pretty partied out.

Happygate’s main aims were: to promote the vibrancy of the town, encourage community cohesion, showcase the fantastic artistic and musical talent in Harrogate, support local businesses and donate to local good causes. This all-day celebration of everything local will be raising funds for Fighting Ependymoma, Craft Aid International, a Harrogate-based charity run by Susie Hart MBE, and Harrogate Homeless Project. The organisers of Happygate, the first-ever grassroots arts and music to be held in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, say they aim to make this new event truly inclusive. I believe they managed all of the above and more power to them. I wish them every success for Happygate 2017.

A Harrogate Blog – Written By A Harrogate Blogger. Andy Is Harrogate’s Chief Procrastinator. A ‘Funny Little Man.’ By day a web designer, Andy has a hand in several music projects – including being in a chart-topping producer duo and he runs his own record label.

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