Party in the City

There is nothing quite like it – and it’s all free!

The city of Bath is getting ready to host the biggest social gathering of the year as The Bath Festival invites you to celebrate the opening of the 2022 festival with Party in the City. The fun kicks off from 5pm on Friday 13 May, when partygoers will find music in every kind of venue throughout Bath city centre and – to repeat what l said seconds ago – it’s all FREE!*

After a gap of two years, the tradition of coming together on the first day of The Bath Festival is back with a vengeance. Call your friends, get your dancing shoes on and head into Bath for a great night out. Whatever your taste in music, whether it be the pure tones of an acapella choir filling an ancient church, some cool jazz in a courtyard setting, a singer-songwriter performing in your favourite pub, or a rock’n’roll boogie outdoors in a park, there’ll be something for you.

This year the organisers have made planning your evening’s entertainment even easier. You can either pick up a Party in the City leaflet which lists all the venues, acts and times, or you can simply download the Pixie app and use the phone in your hand to help you decide where you want to be for Party in the City. Pixie champions independent businesses, creating a thriving community. Discover new independents in your community and simply pay via its platform to receive rewards. Pixie is simple to use and is on hand to help you easily plan your evening at Party in the City, as well as book tickets for festival events.

The Bath Festival has teamed up with some 30 venues for the 2022 Party in the City to make it the best yet. These include The Assembly Rooms, Bath Pizza Co in Green Park Station, Komedia, The Holburne Museum, Christ Church in Julian Road, The Pig and Fiddle, St James’ Wine Vaults, Widcombe Social Club, Bath Royal Scientific and Literary Institution and many, many more. There will also be live outdoor music on the bandstand in Parade Gardens and on stage in Queen Square at The Bath Festival Hub, where over the whole weekend you’ll find a bar, food and drink traders and a programme of ongoing live entertainment.

Party in the City is sponsored by Bath BID and supported by Bath Recreation and Wessex Water.

The Festival Hub is a great place to go over the weekend of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May. Between 11am and 3pm on both days families can join in with hands-on activities, get creative with clay and wildflowers, taking inspiration from gardens and nature. On Sunday, from 11am until 2pm little ones will be entertained with music-making and storytelling with Polly Tisdall.

Members of the Bath Festival Orchestra will be playing for free at 1pm and 5pm on the Saturday and 3pm on the Sunday. Or take part in a smartphone trail that starts from the obelisk in Queen Square and leads you on a Test Tubes and Time Travel adventure devised by Kilter Theatre and students from the University of Bath.

Pop in to the Festival Hub anytime over the weekend. There’s a stretch tent to shelter from the weather, a selection of food and drink traders offering everything from coffee and cake to beer and pizza and on the Saturday, live bands playing music on the stage right through until 9.45pm.

For Party in the City night, organisers have been inundated with musicians and singers who are keen to get back to performing in front of a live audience again. As a result, there will be hundreds of people singing and making music for Party in the City, just for you. 

There are so many local music acts to choose from, including The Bathford Singers, Jonny Melancholy and the Sad Cowboys, singer-songwriter Ben Hutcheson, Jerrome Recorders, Bill Smarme with his Rock’nRoll Trio, The Red Bandits or Barry and the Fridge Mechanics. There’s also a chance to hear a unique choir, Schools Voices, made up of 100 local secondary school students, which will be making its debut performance, while a group of young carers will showcase the music they’ve created on a much-needed break from their family commitments, working with Bath Philharmonia.

Following the lockdowns of the pandemic, The Bath Festival has emerged with a strong focus on the importance of live arts events. And Party in the City is the ideal starter to whet your appetite for the 130 plus events to follow in the days to come. Check out the rest of the programme, which runs until Saturday 21 May, here: thebathfestival.org.uk.

*Yes, it’s free. Party in the City has been organised by the arts charity Bath Festivals. We would welcome your donations – lookout for buckets and donation points on the night. Your support means we can go on putting on more brilliant events!

Highlights of the rest of The Bath Festival include: iconic British music group Public Service Broadcasting, comedians Phil Wang Rachel Parris, Isy Suttie and Marcus Brigstocke, writers Ali Smith, Abdulrazak Gurnah and Marian Keyes, US pianist Jeremy Denk, the Bath Festival Orchestra and Bath Philharmonia, folk singer Karine Polwart, saxophonist Jess Gillam, journalists and broadcasters Martin Bell and Justin Webb, campaigners George Monbiot, Adam Rutherford and David Olusoga. 

There will be sublime music in beautiful buildings, writing workshops led by experts, publishing proof parties and three specially commissioned Bath Festival guided walks. Expect laughter, thought-provoking debate and discussion and the sheer joy of being part of a live audience sharing a unique and very human experience.

How to get your tickets

The Bath Festival has made it easier than ever to buy tickets for events. Look out for the QR code on festival brochures and adverts, then simply scan to find out what you want to see and book instantly via Pixie, where you can earn money back from each transaction. Or you can visit the website: https://bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/whats-on/

With thanks
The Bath Festival would like to thank sponsors, including Bath Spa University, Bath Recreation, Bath BID, Wessex Water, the Kaleidoscope Collection, Kingswood School and The Royal High School. The festival is supported by Arts Council England, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Panda Sanctuaries, Visit Bath, The Forum, Komedia, BRLSI, Steinway and Sons, The Roper Family Charitable Trust, The Coles-Medlock Foundation, The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust

Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Brownsword Foundation.  It would like to thank its patrons and members and its invaluable army of volunteers, without who the festival would not happen. The festival official bookseller is the independent Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights and festival partners are: The Bath Magazine, Scala Radio, GWR, The Arts Show podcast, The Francis Hotel, Bath Box Office, Sparkfest and Minuteman Press.

Festival partner Bath Spa University is holding its annual SparkFest for its creative students to put on a month-long programme of innovative performances across theatre, music and dance. 9 May – 11 June 2022. More information at www.sparkfest.co.uk www.bathspalive.com

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