Press Release



The team at Bath Festivals have unveiled plans to launch a new multi-arts festival for the city which will take place on 19 to 28 May 2017 – to be called The Bath Festival.

John Cullum DL Chair of Bath Festivals, said: “We will celebrate the city of Bath with The Bath Festival over 10 days in May by creating a more visible arts festival building on Bath’s heritage of successful music and literature festivals. The festival will have an accessible and vibrant programme that embraces the wider performing arts, with broad appeal for our city, engaging the wider community and our valued visitors. The events will take place across the exciting range of social and community spaces that our city offers. Leading thinkers, writers and musicians will perform with the most gifted new talent emerging on the global stage. The festival will also provide a platform for the year round extensive learning & participation programme that Bath Festivals run for over 6,000 young people, many with few opportunities to engage with the arts.”

Bath Festivals will now present two large festivals, The Bath Festival in May and the Bath Children’s Literature Festival in the autumn. They will both offer an increased number of world-class events, feature rising talent and engage a broader range of people.

The Bath Festival will be more visible. “During the Festival, the streets of Bath will spring to life with outdoor performances and experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. We will make our Festival hub in the iconic Assembly Rooms, creating space to interact and engage with our audiences in a completely new way. The festival will then spill out onto the streets, giving us the opportunity to create a Festival village with free activities and pop-up performances. The area will be completely transformed during Party in the City, the opening night of the Festival, it’s Bath’s biggest night of free music and celebration of local performance with over 2,000 people taking to stages across the city and 20,000 in attendance and we want to develop it even further with an increase in the amount of outdoor activity” said John Cullum.

David James, Chief Executive of VisitBath said: “This more visible flagship festival for the city is key to our ambitions to market the city nationally and internationally.”

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, Cabinet Member for Economic Development for Bath & North East Somerset Council said: “We welcome the new Bath Festival for engaging a wider range of people and creating memorable experiences in Bath’s amazing spaces. This is now an enterprising endeavour that other organisations will want to support for its potential to make more of Bath, drawing in investment and visitors to the city while serving Bath residents.”

Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University said “As a leading university in creativity, culture and enterprise, Bath Spa University is extremely proud to continue its role as the Creative Partner of Bath Festivals. Our staff and students are involved across the Festival programme and we are delighted to be playing a key role in delivering a new Festival for the city.”

Colin Skellett, CEO of Wessex Water and YTL group said: “Wessex Water is delighted to be one of the key corporate partners in the new Bath Festival. We look forward to supporting the festival and in return extending the festival’s relevance to staff and customers.”

Martin Pople, Manager for the Bristol & Bath Cultural Destinations Project, said: “I welcome this vision for a reinvigorated and reimagined Bath Festival that will refresh both the festival itself and the destination of Bath.”

The Artistic Directors of The Bath Festival are Alex Clark, David Jones and James Waters. Alex is an editor and literary journalist who frequently writes for The Guardian, The Observer and The Times Literary Supplement. She regularly chairs literary events and has also been on the judging panel for the Booker Prize. David Jones and James Waters are both leading figures in the music industry and experts in their own musical fields. They initially joined Bath Festivals as Artistic Directors of the International Music Festival in 2015.

The full programme of events will be announced at the end of January 2017. Keep up to date with the latest festival news by signing up to our e-newsletter.