A festival for our times.

A ‘delicious Regency romp’ through the streets of Bath in the footsteps of the Netflix sensation Bridgerton and the city’s Festival Orchestra giving the first live concert performance in the refurbished Bath Abbey – are just two of the events featured in this year’s Bath Festival of Music and Books.

It’s been confirmed that it will return with live events from Monday, May 17th to Monday 24th May and – new this year – The Bath Festival At Home – a digital broadcast for audience to experience from their own homes.

The Bath Festival 2021 celebrates the best in music and books in a beautiful city, as it has done for more than 70 years. A diverse programme ranges from talks and discussions to poetry, concerts and theatre.

Come what may, this year’s festival will showcase Bath for a global audience, presenting events some of which will be filmed in some of the city’s most historic and glorious historic buildings, including the iconic 18th century Assembly Rooms, Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths and The Forum.

Those who may not be able to gather in person will be able to enjoy The Bath Festival At Home selection of events at their own leisure with a feast for the eyes, ears and minds.

Unlike many other festivals who have to construct their own festival villages, The Bath Festival is able to use the city’s historic buildings. These were built by previous generations to house large gatherings, so they are adaptable for use adhering to socially distanced rules, with their spacious rooms and high ceilings. Audience and artists’ safety is paramount. Bath Festivals has been accredited with a Good To Go status by Visit England.

Our live events will see some of the brightest talent from the worlds of music and books, along with discussions about the big issues of our time. Listen to best-selling authors and experts in their field sharing their experiences. Highlights include:

  • Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Breathtaking, an unflinching insider’s account of medicine in the time of coronavirus.
  • Ted Hughes Award winner poet Hollie McNish, whose live readings are mesmerising. Hollie will be reading from her much-anticipated new collection: Slug…and other things I’ve been told to hate.
  • Working from Home: How to Survive and Thrive. 2020 saw huge numbers of us suddenly adapt to entirely new ways of working. Speaker, career coach and journalist Harriet Minter shares funny, practical advice, hard-won tricks, tips and tools. 
  • Comedian Tez Ilyas talks about his life as a young British Muslim growing up in a time of race riots, fear and prejudice.
  • The unique setting of the Roman Baths will provide the atmospheric backdrop for a concert from the internationally acclaimed vocal group The Gesualdo Six.
  • Two series of guided walks, one to explore the influences on Mary Shelley that inspired her to start writing Frankenstein during her time in Bath, the other, commissioned by The Bath Festival, is a delicious Regency romp through the streets in the footsteps of the Netflix sensation Bridgerton.
  • Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, mother of seven young classical musicians, the Kanneh-Masons, brings two of her celebrated offspring to perform as she talks about what it is like to raise such a remarkable family, following the release of her memoir The House of Music.
  • Much-loved entertainer Mel Giedroyc talks to Fran Beauman about her debut novel The Best Things, a big-hearted story of a family on the brink, that’s as warm and witty as Mel herself. 
  • The Bath Festival Orchestra, created to foster emerging talent in classical music, will play in Bath Abbey and at Green Park Station. The orchestra’s concert will be the first live performance in the abbey, which has been closed for major refurbishment for two years. This performance will be recorded by BBC Radio3.
  • The Sunday Times No1 bestseller Caroline Hirons, Skincare Queen and beauty blogger with over 1 million social media followers, will be sharing some of the billion-pound beauty industry’s secrets as she explores the facts, the myths and the best way to get good skin on any budget.
  • The Bath Festival Finale Weekend, an open-air festival in the heart of beautiful Bath has been re-scheduled from 2020 and will now take place over the weekend of 7 and 8 August. This family-friendly music festival will see McFly, supported by Scouting for Girls, topping the bill on the Saturday, while on the Sunday UB40 (featuring Ali Campbell and Astro) will be supported by Billy Ocean. There will be a host of other stars as well. Tickets are available NOW.

Live events will be filmed and will be available digitally post festival as The Bath Festival At Home which will include a visual celebration of the historic city of Bath. Audiences at home will be able to dip into the programme at their leisure and enjoy The Bath Festival experience in the comfort of their own homes.

The digital festival will also showcase Bath’s architecture and history to the watching world. Look out too for Bath Reads, an innovative Bath Festivals project supported by the Mayor of Bath Cllr Manda Rigby and the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath, which involves the work of local authors and reaches out to involve book groups and individuals who love to read.

Ian Stockley, Bath Festivals’ chief executive, said: “The Bath Festivals team has worked long and hard to bring audiences a festival for our times. They have meticulously planned how to work under current government guidelines, protecting the safety of our audiences and artists. During this shared experience of the pandemic the role of the arts has more than ever highlighted what makes us human and how vital music and books are to our lives. We are very proud to present this unique hybrid programme which will both delight live audiences but also showcase our World Heritage city to the rest of the watching world.”

Tickets go on general release from Tuesday 13 April,
www.thebathfestival.org.uk ,  01225 463362

Here’s the full ‘What’s On’ list link with dates and times: https://bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/whats-on/