Bath Festival – still time to book for some events

THE Bath Festivals start on Friday 17th May, with the Party in the City – Bath’s biggest free event, so no need to book – followed by nine days of music and literary events, from peerless Renaissance choral music to Irish folk, from best-selling novelists to top broadcasters, historic walks and many other fascinating events.

The walking tours include some of Bath’s famous women – Jane Austen, Hannah More and astronomer Caroline Herschel among others – Bath on Screen, less discovered parts of the city and Bath during the Blitz, a story of destruction and rebuilding.

Stile Antico, one of the world’s leading a cappella ensembles, come to Bath Abbey on Tuesday 21st at 7.30pm with a Renaissance programme that includes works by Byrd, Taverner, Guerrero, Praetorius, Tallis and Victoria.

There is music and stories from the honey-toned Irish-born folk singer Cara Dillon, who has lived in Somerset for many years with her husband Sam Lakeman, her regular accompanist and a member of the famous Devon folk music family. She has written a memoir, Coming Home, and will be at the Guildhall on Wednesday 22nd at 7.30pm, for an evening of poetry, music, songs and readings from her debut book.

Also that evening (and if you really run you could get from the Guildhall to Christ Church for it at 8.30pm there is a screening of one of the greatest silent films, Nosferatu (the 1922 German Expressionist masterpiece of FW Murnau), with a live organ score performed by Sebastian Heindl, and an introduction from Sir Christopher Frayling, author of Vampire Cinema.

One of the musical highlights of the festival comes on Thursday 23rd, when the acclaimed guitarist Sean Shibe and mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska explore Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the story of a time-travelling gender-switchingabethan London and progress to the 20th century. The music includes works by Laurie Anderson and Bob Dylan alongside Dowland and Schubert. It’s at St Swithin’s Church at 7.30pm.

Fans of the remarkable Cloud Atlas can celebrate the 20th anniversary of its publication with author David Mitchell on Friday 24th at the Guildhall at 7l.30pm. That evening also has a recital at St Swithun’s Church by the brilliant young pianist Fabian Muller playing works by Brahms and Beethoven, from 7.30.

Music on Saturday 25th comes from the Carducci Quartet, with guitarist Sean Shibe, at St Mary’s, Bathwick, in a programme of music by Boccherini and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, from 7.30.

On Sunday 26th, at 4pm at the Guildhall, the acclaimed Irish novelist Anne Enright joins Ayobami Adebayo and Cathjy Rentzenbrink to talk about the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK[‘s most prestigious annual book award celebrating fiction by women.

Bath’s Waterstones in Milsom Street is the venue on Sunday 4.30pm for Tea with Miss Austen, with novelist Jessica Bull, author of Miss Austen Investigates, her delightful debut novel which sees the great English novelist in a quest for justice after a shocking murder. Tea, cake, murder and Jane Austen – who could ask for anything more?

The final concert of the festival is at St Mary’s Bathwick on Sunday from 7.30pm, when the Maxwell String Quartet will play works by Haydn and Beethoven and the quartet’s own arrangement, Worksongs, Folk Music of Scotland.

For more information and more events – and how to book – visit