Let’s party

Some of the city’s best bands and musicians will be entertaining the people of Bath during this year’s biggest FREE party on Friday 12 May.

It’s when the city centre bursts into life, with hundreds of singers and musicians performing in dozens of venues for our entertainment.

Last year’s festivities

Musicians, poets, bands and choirs will perform in more than 30 venues across the city. Music will ring out from churches and chapels, including Bath Abbey, St Michael’s Without and St Swithin’s Church. Enjoy performances at museums and galleries, including The Holburne Museum, Victoria Art Gallery and BRLSI. Pubs and bars, cafes and shops will all be getting in on the act and hosting live events throughout the evening.

Bring the whole family and enjoy the party atmosphere as thousands gather to fill the streets of Bath with a joyful celebration that marks the opening of the internationally renowned Bath Festival, this year marking its 75th anniversary. As well as music indoors there will be a stage and stalls set up in Queen Square as well as a whole evening of entertainment in Parade Gardens and under cover at Green Park Station.

One of last year’s events

The fun starts at 5pm on Friday 12 May and to help you plan your evening Bath Festivals has produced a flyer which includes a map of all the venues and a full programme of who is playing where. You can also find programme details on the Bath Festivals website: bathfestivals.org.uk/the-bath-festival/whats-on-party-in-the-city/.

Allison Herbert, chief executive of Bath BID (Business Improvement District), the business partnership which promotes and supports business activity in the city centre, said: “We always look forward to The Bath Festival, which every year showcases a wealth of talent in books and music. Bath BID is proud to sponsor Party in the City on the opening night of the festival, which will welcome visitors, and local families too, to the city’s restaurants, bars and venues. Congratulations to The Bath Festival on its 75th anniversary!”

The Bath Festival 2023 focuses on the theme Opening Up this year, opening up conversations, ideas and minds among its audiences.

The line-up includes internationally acclaimed novelist, Tan Twan Eng, actor Paterson Joseph, The Great British Sewing Bee’s Esme Young, Costa First Novel award-winner Caleb Azumah Nelson, resident orchestra Bath Festival Orchestra, multi-award-winning Bath-based author  Max Porter, violinist Esther Yoo, author of The Salt Path Raynor Winn, Turner Prize winning artist Jeremy Deller, author of breakout hit Honey & Spice Bolu Babalola, menopause expert Dr Louise Newson, and brass quintet Connaught Brass. Bath will also welcome journalist Jeremy Bowen, author and journalist Gary Younge, author Joanne Harris and comedians Cariad Lloyd and Fern Brady.

Queen Square event of last year

The music programme focuses on bringing a flavour of today’s exceptional young talent. Alongside a series of rising classical music stars, you can also experience the creative free spirit of Bath Festival Orchestra, playing in Parade Gardens at Party in the City as part of the orchestra’s residency during the opening weekend.

This year, for the first time, the festival is offering a new flexible pricing model for tickets to make its live arts events more accessible to a wider audience.

Who’s performing at Party in the City

Some of the city’s best loved musicians and bands will be entertaining the crowds. The evening will start at 5pm where in Bath Abbey, the massed ranks of the Schools’ Voices choir will be singing their own beautiful compositions. The choir is made up of young people from 12 local secondary schools working in collaboration with Bath Philharmonia.

Over in Queen Square the night will kick off with an exuberant set from Muw Shed, the community musical project which this year marks its tenth anniversary of developing new talent. And popular west country folkies, Folklaw will be closing the party in Queen Square on the night.

Bath audience favourites at Party in the City include; the Orchestra of Everything, Blowout Sax, The Red Bandits, Widcombe Choir, The Arkansas Jukebox Collective and KES Soul band. You’ll find music in venues from The Guildhall Banqueting Room to the intimate upstairs rooms at The Drawing Rooms, from high energy bands at Komedia to some acoustic sessions at The Forum Coffee House. For the first time The Cork, The Bath Cider House and Chapter 22 will be among the venues taking part in Party in the City, adding yet more free music to the mix.

There will be bars open at many venues, including Queen Square, Parade Gardens and Green Park Station. If you’re planning on buying street food from one of the festival stalls, feel free to bring your own cutlery and plates to save waste. There will also be plenty of opportunities to donate, or you can give online, to fund future Party in the City nights like these.

 For full programme details visit: thebathfestival.org.uk

With thanks
Party in the City would not be possible without the performers who give so freely of their time and talent, The Bath Festival’s team of volunteers who help make the evening run smoothly and to all the venues who lend their spaces to the event. This year’s Party in the City is generously supported by Bath BID, Bath Recreation, the University of Bath and Mayden.