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About Us

The Harrogate International Youth Festival – Music & Performing Arts (HIYF) is an annual event held over Easter in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. HIYF offers a unique opportunity for participants to perform with various ensembles at a selection of prestigious venues, playing to appreciative and enthusiastic audiences at a series of indoor and open air concerts.

HIYF is presented by ECE, an award winning company that creates enriching group educational, cultural, special interest and sports programmes, each with a unique point of difference and offering access to fascinating people, places and events.

Whilst the majority of our programmes are youth focussed and enjoyed as part of a group, we also offer specific opportunities to participate as individuals and for adult affinity group programmes.

In the world of corporate events management and business tourism our attention to detail, access to unique people, places and events means we are the ideal provider for bespoke corporate programmes.

The ECE team are passionately committed to delivering programmes that offer life enriching moments to be savoured for many years to come.

In 2009, ECE received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise – “The Corporate Knighthood” from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

History of HIYF

The first Harrogate International Youth Festival (HIYF) took place in 1973, following consultation between the Harrogate Council and the local Chapter of World Friends International, an organisation established with the goal of encouraging young people from across the world to travel, meet their counterparts and promote universal peace and friendship. During this time the Council was establishing the beautiful Spa town of Harrogate as an international conference and festival centre, with its central location half way between Edinburgh and London and its graceful architecture, elegant Victorian shopping arcades and beautiful gardens. The Council adopted the Youth Music Festival as one of its major international annual events and World Friends were asked to invite musicians from different parts of the world to participate.

HIYF takes place over the Easter weekend and during the Festival young musicians perform to large audiences at venues throughout Harrogate and the local area, such as the stunning Edwardian Royal Hall, historic stately homes, local churches, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey and Ripon Cathedral. Over the years many long-term friendships have been established between the 36,000 plus young people from the 37 countries, that have to date participated in HIYF. The Festival is now considered one of the most important youth music and performance gatherings in the UK, attracting young musicians and dancers from around the World and the United Kingdom, supported by a variety of local ensembles. In 2013 HIYF celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Festival Highlights

Get a feel for the festival by watching this years highlights including clips from the Town Centre Parade, Massed Band and Massed Choir performance and some of the Outdoor Community Concerts.