Bath Festivals Memories – Led Zeppelin, Terry Pratchet, Vera Lynn and more

Since the 1940s, we’ve been celebrating the joy of music, books and performance in Bath. Of course, at the centre of all of these festivals have been audiences. For that reason, we’re asking for your favourite festival memories! We’ve loved reading your responses, step back in time below. If you’d like to help us survive and continue celebrating music and books in the future, please donate to our Crowdfunder #BackBathFestivals here

Opera at the Roman Baths
A late evening performance of Handel opera a few years ago, complete with model ships fighting a sea battle in the Great Bath of the Roman Baths, all lit by torchlight. Magical!

Vera Lynn, WW2 themed dance and the Roman Rendezvous
The dance at the pavilion WW2 style. Identity cards were our tickets. Sandbags at the door. We were dressed in the uniforms of the times. Vera Lynn came to sing. A war time reader read the news. It was in the 70’s. That dance and The Roman Rendezvous were great times in Bath.

Liz Pichon and the Tom Gates band at Bath Children’s Literature Festival
What an utter treat, blew me away when I was least expecting it. Awesome reading, illustration and music all for about £8 – one of the best events I’ve ever been to with my kids.

Mozart at the Assembly Rooms
A very hot evening (late 1980’s), Mozart wind quartet in the Assembly Rooms. Late evening and the door was opened to let the cool breeze in. Moment of complete magic I’ve never forgotten.

Led Zeppelin and 50 years later Robert Plant
Seeing Led Zeppelin at the festival in 1969 with my husband to be. It was special too because we married that year and fifty years on we saw Robert Plant at the same venue.

Terry Pratchet, Cornelia Funke and Emma Kirkby
So many happy memories of different aspects of the festivals. From seeing and listening to Red Priest via Terry Pratchett to the pomp inputted by Cornelia Funke and seeing Emma Kirkby in the Abbey.

Stimmhorn at The Bath Festival
Stimmhorn. The most extraordinarily different music it was ever my privilege to witness at The Bath Festival.

Family fun at The Bath Festival Finale Weekend
I attended the fabulous music festival finale weekend with my daughters and had such a brilliant time. The venue was great and the staff were super friendly and I really appreciated how hard they worked to keep everyone safe and hydrated as it was a very hot day. The event was well organised with awesome headline acts and iconic artists. The food choices were varied and even the toilets were kept clean. A really great experience with amazing atmosphere, highly recommended family event for people of all ages, 5 stars.

Piotr Anderszewski plays Beethoven
Hearing Piotr Anderszewski play Beethoven’s Diabelli variations in the Assembly Rooms last year.

Paloma Faith
The surprise appearance of Paloma Faith. She was brilliant.

Jazz legends
EST, George Shearing, Dave Brubeck to name a few.

Jacqueline Wilson at Bath Children’s Literature Festival
What a legend. Lovely stories of how she was from Bath and her first job was with DC Thompson in Scotland and how she loved writing.

Meeting Sir William and Lady Walton
I well remember a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in the Bath Pavilion in June 1972. Sir William Walton himself was present and graciously signed my score. Almost exactly twenty years later – in June 1992, Lady Walton was present for a performance of the same work in Birmingham by the CBSO and she kindly signed my score as well. It is now my most treasured musical score!

Roderick Williams
Roderick Williams singing Schubert.

Mahler at Green Park Station
Mahler 8 Green Park Station 2000. An amazing event.

Yehudi Menuhin celebrates Schubert
17 June 1967. Yehudi Menuhin was Artistic Director and he and some of his family and friends held a Schubertiad, a reenactment of an evening Schubert would have enjoyed with his friends paying his music. The highlight was the song for soprano, piano and clarinet “Shepherd on the Rock” performed by Anne Pashley, Thea King and Joel Ryce. It was a magic evening which increased my growing passion for the music of Schubert.

Historical walks
The historical walks that Kirsten Bowes used to run.

Van Morrison at The Bath Festival Finale Weekend
Our first time at the festival last year, we enjoyed every second but our favourite moment was seeing Van Morrison perform.

Malorie Blackman at Bath Children’s Literature Festival
She’s so funny and so talented I could listen to her talk all day. Remember her telling us that the scene in Noughts and Crosses when Callum gets challenged on the train for not having the right ticket was a real life experience of her own as a teenager… that has stayed with me. Felt so privileged to have seen her. Every time I see these world-class authors I think how lucky we are to have this on our doorstep – I don’t even know if my kids realise that not everyone has this opportunity.

Share your favourite memories on social media or/and click here to complete our festival memories and future wishes survey. 

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