Festivals you won’t want to miss in 2024

North Yorkshire’s calendar is jam packed with special events and festivals this year, from Food and Drink festivals which celebrate the Yorkshire way of life, to thrilling live music performances, exciting sporting events, art-led spectaculars and much more.  

Beam – by Harrogate International Festivals

New to Harrogate in 2024

This March, a brand-new light festival Beam is set to illuminate Harrogate town centre.

The two-night spectacular from Harrogate International Festivals takes place on  15 & 16 March, with stunning light installations and soundscapes lighting up key landmarks and buildings to create a mesmerising trail through the town.  

Selby Abbey, in North Yorkshire

Selby Residents’ Engagement Festival

April sees the return of the Selby Residents’ Festival. Over the weekend of 20 & 21 April locals and visitors are invited to discover hidden gems across the Selby area, as well as benefit from a range of exclusive offers and experiences.

From behind-the-scenes tours to discounts in shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, we guarantee you’ll fall in love with this destination in the Heart of Yorkshire.  

Richmond Mayfest

Want to feel like part of a community? Head over to Richmond where you can join Richmond Mayfest, a festival of historical and traditional music, dancing and storytelling taking place over the bank holiday weekend of 3 to 6 May.

With a variety of events taking place over the Bank Holiday weekend, you and the family will have plenty to do, including a 50s & 60s retro night, a market & fair or stepping back in history at Richmond’s own medieval castle.  

Street entertainers at Scarborough Fair

The Scarborough Fair

An exciting evolution of the original Scarborough Fair which drew merchants from as far away as the Ottoman Empire to ‘sell goods of true worth’ to hundreds of visitors each August and September. Reimagined 230 years later, The Scarborough Fair offers a year-round programme of distinctive arts, heritage and sporting events at venues across the seaside town

Following its debut at the end of 2023 with Scarborough Lights, the latest addition to the programme will be Scarborough Streets: International Street Arts Festival. The three-day free festival featuring a parade with outdoor events created by local arts organisations and visiting performers will take place from Saturday 4 to Monday 6 May allowing visitors to soak up an electric atmosphere with art and culture at its core Further events throughout the year from an art trail to a sport and music extravaganza to the return of Scarborough Lights means a trip to the coast is a must in 2024.  

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival

Whitby Fish & Ships Festival

Staying on the coast, the Whitby Fish & Ships Festival is one not to be missed. Taking place on 18 & 19 May, this event celebrates everything relating to Whitby’s fishing heritage whether past, present or future.  The eclectic timetable of events includes live music, cookery demonstrations, family entertainment and much more.

Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

The World’s largest celebration of crime thrillers and their authors is back between 18 & 21 July in Harrogate!  This annual gathering of crime authors and fans of the genre features a programme filled with special guests, panels and entertainment celebrating fantastic crime fiction.  It has now become the crime writing industry’s unofficial AGM.

Other festival events taking place this year in North Yorkshire

There is plenty to feast on for food lovers across the year as North Yorkshire is home to a delicious spread of food festivals. From Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May, Yorkshire’s Food Capital, Malton hosts the Food Lovers Festival, celebrating the region’s finest produce and cooking with stalls, street food, talks, tastings, celebrity chefs, demos, live music and much more.

If that wasn’t enough, the Food Lovers Festival returns for a second sitting over the August bank holiday. If you’re hungry for more, you can find your fill at the Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival or indulge in local cheese at the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival.  

For something a little different, why not head to the Whitby Goth Weekend 26 to 28 April, an iconic alternative festival and the world’s original goth event?  Also in Whitby the Tomorrow’s Ghost Festival takes place in November.

Delight in the chaos and fun of the Great Knaresborough Bed Race on 8 June or marvel at an impressive range of tractors at Tractor Fest, the UK’s largest vintage tractor and engine show in Ripon.