CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Bath Festivals celebrates its 70th anniversary with impressive programme of events

PUBLISHED: 17:34 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:34 24 April 2018

Musical notes on Milsom Street (c) James Cheadle

Musical notes on Milsom Street (c) James Cheadle

James Cheadle

This May Bath celebrates seven decades of creativity with its world-class festival

It promises to be a festival to remember, full of music, art, literature and performance and it commemorates a significant creative landmark. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Bath Festivals and to celebrate this important milestone, the finale weekend on May 26 and 27 will see the likes of Paloma Faith, Robert Plant, Imelda May, Alison Moyet, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Midge Ure and Seth Lakeman play on Bath Recreation Ground, alongside poets and other performers.

Bath Festival, the city’s flagship multi-arts festival takes place over 17 days and features more than 180 events, bringing together some of the world’s leading writers, musicians and cultural figures. And set against an impressive backdrop of iconic buildings and city streets, the programme – extended especially to mark the seven decades – it will no doubt provoke and enthrall audiences of all ages.

“The diverse range of events on offer will stimulate, uplift, delight most importantly entertain the people of Bath and beyond,” says John Cullum DL, Chair of Bath Festivals.

“This year’s festival includes critically acclaimed authors and musicians, international artists and emerging talent from the world stage, as well as performances by local bands, community groups and schools.”

Well known rock and pop bands as well as classical, jazz and folk music will be heard alongside contemporary fiction, intelligent debate, science, history, politics and poetry, with concerts, discussions and collaborations and many free events across the city.

Carnival, Party in the CityCarnival, Party in the City

With such a diverse mix of planned events on the cards, artistic directors Alex Clark, David Jones and James Waters are hoping audiences will not only enjoy performances but be able to exchange and discuss ideas as well as take time to listen to one another.

History

Music festivals were held in Bath in the 19th century but the roots go back even further. According to history records Queen Elizabeth I came to hear choristers at Bath Abbey in 1668. The Bath International Music Festival began in 1948 and the first 50 years are chronicled in Tim Bullamore’s book Fifty Festivals. The Bath Literature Festival began in 1995 and has grown to up to 150 events, showcasing the leading contemporary writers, thinkers, journalists and poets. And in 2007 Bath Festivals acquired the rights to the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. Throughout the seven decades, the key purpose of the festival programme has been to introduce music and literature to the young and young at heart who might not necessarily have such opportunities to participate before. This same aim is equally as strong for 2018’s celebratory.

David OlusogaDavid Olusoga

Literature

Literature highlights include historian David Olusoga who will talk about his award-winning book Black and British: A Forgotten History and best-selling novelist Maggie O’Farrell who has had 17 brushes with death and is mother to a daughter with a life-threatening condition, talks about attitudes to death and her profound book, I Am, I Am, I Am, in a very special event. International bestselling author Kate Mosse, who has sold over five million books in 42 languages will introduce her latest novel The Burning Chambers which takes readers to 16th-century Languedoc, where the battle-lines are being drawn in blood, meanwhile comedian and writer Robert Webb delivers his hilarious and heartbreaking insights on How Not To Be a Boy.

Robert Webb (c) Matt CrockettRobert Webb (c) Matt Crockett

Music

On the music front, singer-songwriter and New York Times bestselling author Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn) headlines the opening night of The Bath Festival with her unique brand of punk cabaret. In 2016, Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) appeared on the BBC Proms to celebrate the life and music of David Bowie. As well as multi platinum-selling singer, songwriter and producer Ben Folds and prolific composer, performer, broadcaster Kathryn Tickell, the festival also includes the five time Grammy award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo give joyously energetic performances, combining traditional South African music with gospel and tightly-choreographed dance moves.

Another highlight is Concert for the people of Bath - an annual affair this year with Bath Philharmonia and dedicated to the memory of Brian and Margaret Roper. It brings together the winners of BBC Young Musician of the Year and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and is rounded off by a medley of solos performed by the extraordinary Kanneh-Mason family.

Amanda PalmerAmanda Palmer

Words

On the story-telling and word front, award-winning biographer Claire Tomalin describes the highs and lows of her own extraordinary life; Richard Stokes discusses his Penguin Book of English Song with live illustrations by tenor James Gilchrist in partnership with Anna Tilbrook while acclaimed novelist Roddy Doyle reads from his new book, Smile accompanied by jazz guitarist Hugh Buckley.

Richard Stokes (c) Colin WaggRichard Stokes (c) Colin Wagg

These are mere highlights and there is much more to going on that this feature can allow.

Allison Herbert, CEO of Bath BID (The Bath Business Improvement District), a strategic corporate partner of The Bath Festival admits there is a feast in store.

“The BID team is thrilled to support Bath Festivals in their 70th anniversary year. We are looking forward to 17 days of events which bring together our businesses and the community in this inspiring and exciting city,” she says.

“This year’s festival with its extended programme and the new finale weekend will provide music and entertainment across the city, creating a party atmosphere for local residents and visitors.”

70th Festival Finale Weekend

The finale weekend of The Bath Festival celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Bath Festivals with a two-day event taking place on the Bath Recreation Ground. The line-up includes Paloma Faith, Robert Plant and the Sensational Shape Shifters, Alison Moyet, Imelda May, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Midge Ure, Seth Lakeman, Freya Ridings, Jade Bird, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, Rhys Lewis, Ward Thomas, Poets Corner/Spoken Word stage, Talent Show, Children’s area, artisan food and drink, bandstand stage, eclectic selection of craft stalls and much more...

Paloma FaithPaloma Faith

Party in the City

Party in the City. It will break from tradition by taking place on the festival’s second weekend on Friday, May 18. This year sees the launch of SparkFest, a partnership with Bath Spa University which is an innovative programme of theatre, music and dance, curated and created by the stars of tomorrow.

The festival has also teamed up with Twerton Park, the home of Bath City FC, for a day of football fun for all the family; FilmBath to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage with film, literature, politics, music and comedy; and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, creators of a dazzling multisensory evening of Living Literature and promises to immerse the audience in the world of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Party in the City (c) James CheadleParty in the City (c) James Cheadle

Young artists

As part of Bath Festivals’ Creative Learning Programme and their ongoing partnership with Paper Nations, the festival will also showcase creative work done by young people, with a display of stories and poems by city children.

Every year, Party in the City is launched with a school commission in the Abbey and this year is no exception. ‘Festival Spirits’ will commence with a song recital by soprano Elizabeth Karani, who will then be disrupted by some mischievous children performing their own song and representing characters from past and future festivals. They will be guided by composer, Richard Barnard and artist Edwina Bridgeman to create a brand-new performance and installation piece celebrating 70 years of the festival. Working in partnership with Wiltshire Music Centre, a remarkable set of forces has been assembled for a concert performance of one of the greatest of all musicals, West Side Story, in Leonard Bernstein’s anniversary year.

The Family Arts Day will, once again, take place on the last day of the festival in Parade Gardens on Sunday May 20 for all to enjoy.

Family Arts DayFamily Arts Day

As John Cullum DL, Chair of Bath Festivals concludes the 17-day event is about embracing creativity and engaging with a wide ranging audience.

“Our aim is to bring the city alive through the arts, reinforcing Bath’s rich history and reputation as a cultural destination,” he says.

“This is a festival for everyone, regardless of personal interests and age. It’s a chance to dip your toe into something new as well as seeing your favourites on your doorstep.”

To find out more about Bath Festivals 70th Anniversary events, contact Bath Box Office from 9.30am to 5.30pm on 01225 463362 or visit www.thebathfestival.org.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Mon, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

“Faringdon upholds old-fashioned values through its traditional shops, personal service and shop owners who go the extra mile to make their customers feel at home.”

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Home to some of the country’s most breathtaking architecture and picturesque gardens, the Cotswolds boasts plenty of beautiful stately homes you need to visit. We pick eight special locations that are made even more magical during Christmas time

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Taking the classroom outdoors is fun, inspires fresh ideas, broadens horizons – and encourages a new generation to enjoy and care for the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Chipping Campden – once the meeting place for a council of Saxon kings – now offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, from the humble shopper to the seasonal shin-kicker

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search