Can you help the arts?

One of Bath’s most popular and long-established music festivals is facing a bit of a crisis as the chair, general secretary and treasurer of the organising committee are all standing down in the next few months.

I am talking about the Mid Somerset Festival.

Founded in 1902, it has been running continuously ever since – even two World Wars couldn’t stop it – making it one of the oldest festivals in the country.

In the early days, it toured the market towns of mid-Somerset but, as it increased in size and scope, it eventually settled in Bath in 1952.

The Festival provides an annual platform for both children and adults to showcase their skills in creative writing, speech and drama, music and musical theatre.

It has two distinct seasons, the first in the spring covers a mix of competitive and non-competitive classes in creative writing, drama, music and musical theatre.

The second is in the autumn with the Dance Festival – plus two more prestigious events, Bath Young Actor of the Year and Bath Young Musician of the Year.

The Festival is also a registered charity and is administered entirely by volunteers.  There are over 100 stewards.

Staging the Festival costs in excess of £50,000 each year, with significant expenditure on the hiring of venues and employment of professional adjudicators.

The income generated from entry fees and ticket and programme fees is insufficient to cover costs and so the Festival relies on the support of its Sponsors and Friends and other generous donors, such as the Charter Trustees of the City of Bath.

If you have the skills and some spare time to fill those vacant roles you would be helping the festival continue to encourage and promote local talent. Do email the current Festival Chair, Lynne Barnes via

Lynne told me: “It is unfortunate that all 3 officers need to stand down. Rosemarie, our Gen Sec is moving out of the area, Mike has a number of charities he works for and has his hands full with the largest of those.

 I will be in situ for the next year and said 2 years ago that I wanted 2025 to be my last festival in the hope that gave everyone time enough to replace me – that is still the hope!”