If you consider yourself something of a culture vulture, beautiful Bath is bound to put a smile on your face. Not only does this vibrant city possess more than its fair share of art galleries, museums and historical sites of interest, it offers a scintillating variety of cultural events, scattered throughout the year.
One of the highlights of Bath’s cultural calendar is the upcoming Bath Festival, a brand new flagship festival for 2017, scheduled to run from May 19-28. This dazzling spectacular will fuse the popular Bath Literature Festival and Bath International Music Festival into one show-stopping, ten day event, featuring the biggest and brightest names in literature, words and music.
If a multi-arts festival, set against a backdrop of glorious Georgian architecture, sounds like your cup of tea, read on to discover a bit about the festival’s background and some of the choicest acts you really shouldn’t miss…
Bath Festival – the back story
The origins of the Bath Festival have a historical heritage as rich as the city itself. The Bath International Music Festival may have first began in 1948, but music festivals were held in Bath during its high society heyday, throughout the 19th century.
The Bath Literature Festival came on the scene in 1995, blossoming into a hugely popular event which showcased the leading writers, thinkers, journalists and powers of the day. When Bath Festivals acquired the rights to the Bath Children’s Literature Festival in 2007, the festival grew exponentially and became a roaring success.
Now that both these acclaimed festivals are meeting beneath one umbrella event, festival-goers can expect a diverse portfolio of acts encompassing classical, folk, jazz and rock music as well as contemporary fiction, science, history, politics and poetry. Plus, a multitude of other arts events thrown in for good measure.
The grand opening of Bath Festival has promised to fill the streets, parks and venues of the city with a sparkling and diverse array of arts from electro-swing, jazz and soul to cheerleading and Chinese shadow-puppetry. Whether you’re looking for some toe-tapping samba rhythms on Carnival Street, family friendly entertainment on Alfred Street or fantastic local food and drink at Queen Square, you can expect the opening party to deliver. The celebrations kick off at 6pm in various venues around the city and will continue well after the sun goes down.
She may have bid the Bake Off farewell, but Mary Berry will always remain in our hearts – particularly when we are whipping up a tasty lemon drizzle. However, if you would prefer to see this queen of the kitchen in person rather than in your latest recipe book, look sharp and book your ticket to see her speak at the Forum. Expect to hear tantalising tidbits about a life in cookery as well as the story behind her new book Mary Berry Everyday.
You might know Charley Boorman from his adventures on two wheels with his somewhat famous friend, one Ewan McGregor. What you might not know is that last year, this motorcycle explorer was involved in a major traffic accident. Speaking at the Assembly Rooms, he will share the story of his road to recovery, interwoven with tales about his childhood in Ireland, his passion for motorbikes and the friends he has made along the way.
The awe-inspiring Philharmonia Orchestra will light up the Forum with Brahms Piano Concerto No 1 in D Minor and Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 in A this May. Conducted by the great musician, Herbert Blomstedt, and starring brilliant pianist, Martin Helmchen, classical fans can expect a truly outstanding concert. Don’t leave it too late to book your tickets – and if you’re considering introducing your teenager to the beauty of a live classical show, under-18s receive a 50% discount.
Finally, those in search of some family fun should check the daily programme for the Free Family Festival Events where a whole host of family-friendly workshops, classes, live theatre and poetry performances are scheduled each day. These acts and activities will take place in Queen Square, Southgate, Kingsmead Square, Milsom Street, Old Bond Street and at the festival hub on Alfred Street.
If you are currently considering a move to Bath, be assured that the Bath Festival 2017 may very well seal the deal.