I have attended the HIYF three times: once as a student, and twice as a Director. ECE and the organizers behind the Harrogate International Youth and Music Festival do an exceptional job. To be sure, there are countless festivals all over the world that bands and orchestras can choose from, but ECE does seem special. Emails are answered very quickly, and every detail of the trip is handled with more care and thought than I could even give myself. Their experience and expertise is evident in their organization of every detail of the tour, their connection with the local communities, and their anticipation of the needs of the ensembles. They do a nice job with mixers and social activities to get the students bonding. The dorms that house the students are top-notch, and provide a great place for students to relax, rehearse, and recharge after busy days of performing and touring. On many occasions, after concerts, the members of the audience would stay and chat with my students for quite a while, curious about them and their passion for music. The HIYF has great organizations, great audiences, a great location, and a rich history that make it stand out.