There is nothing that encourages quite as much of a sense of community in a city as a festival, and the Bath Festival 2017 has been a roaring success thus far. This 10-day spectacular, comprising of more than 130 acts and events across the city, has ignited the fire of creativity in Bath, bringing together the biggest and brightest names in literature, words and music to form a multi-arts flagship festival that promises to be a major event in the cultural calendar.
What’s happened so far?
The much-anticipated opening day lent a party atmosphere to the city with a wide range of celebratory events sending a ripple of excitement throughout the town. From the powerful vocals of the Rock Choir performance at Southgate, where singers belted out harmonies to a number of popular hits including Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ and Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, and the fabulously fun local village choir Steeple Rocks who performed later in the evening at the Central United Reformed Church just off Pulteney Bridge, to the steel drums bringing the sunshine of the Caribbean carnival to Milsom Street, the city came alive with music, revelry and good cheer.
Additionally, the talks, workshops and performances of the festival have been on the receiving end of great acclaim via social media. Whether it was the touching yet humorous ‘Living with Down’s’ discussion from Henny Beaumont and Sally Phillips; the Bob Dylan gala evening of music and tributes; or the raucous, family-friendly entertainment of Kid Carpet, the festival has pulled something out of the bag for everyone… and of course, it’s not over yet.
As forecasts of a mini heat-wave herald a sunny finale to the festival, we have selected a few more acts to squeeze into your schedule over the last few days:
Thursday May 25
Join Guardian Weekend magazine’s popular gardening columnist Alys Fowler – 4.15pm at the Assembly Rooms – to hear about her journey navigating the intricate network of canals around Birmingham in an inflatable kayak. Expect to hear stories about the unexpected natural beauty she found en route, teamed with the emotional self-discovery the voyage bestowed on her too.
Alternatively, why not enjoy an evening of cutting edge poetry with Caleb Femi and Vanessa Kisuule, starting from 7pm in Moles? Poet Caleb has been named as London’s first Young People’s Laureate and is a champion of the spoken word whilst Vanessa won the Roundhouse Poetry Slam and is a UK festival regular.
Friday May 26
Fans of a good debate may want to join the discussion entitled The Good Immigrant, scheduled for 7pm at Komedia. Taking its name from the extraordinary anthology that was crowned Britain’s Favourite Book of 2016, the debate focuses on today’s Britain and the question: who are we? Expect lively discussion interspersed with readings throughout.
If a debate sounds like too much hard work and all you want to do is float away to the dulcet tones of some dreamy folk music, make a date to see the award-winning Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker perform at 7.30pm at the Assembly Rooms.
Saturday May 27
Instagram darling and healthy eating guru, Madeleine Shaw, encourages the masses to ditch fad diets and get that glow with healthy, natural yet delicious foods and recipes. She will be presenting her new title, ‘A Year of Beautiful Eating’, a guide to seasonal food, at 10am at Komedia.
Another popular choice is sure to be the last minute addition of Helen Fielding to the festival bill. The creator of the beloved Bridget Jones will be discussing her latest foray into the life of Britain’s best singleton, ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, at 7.30pm at St. Swithin’s.
Sunday May 28
The Family Arts Day, held in Parade Gardens from 11am-3pm, promises a fun-filled finale to the festival for those with young children. Enjoy an assortment of music, art and creative writing activities whilst you soak up the sunshine – don’t forget to pack a picnic.
Those looking to stretch their legs might choose to take part in the famous Bath Skyline – one of the most popular National Trust walking routes – under the guidance of author Robin Dixon, whilst those looking for a meaty political debate might lend their voices to The Big Bath Debate: Politics, beginning at 6.15pm at the Assembly Rooms.
This year’s festival has truly had us spoiled for choice with just one question on our lips as the event draws to a close – how on earth will they top it next year?