First names revealed for The Bath Festival 2022 ūü•≥

This year’s The Bath Festival, celebrating music and books in a beautiful city, will run from Friday 13 May to Saturday 21 May 2022. We are excited to announce the first names who will be among this year’s stellar line-up, ahead of our official full programme announcement on 4 March. The booking dates for members, sponsors, partners and general public open between 7-11 March.

Our programmers have done an amazing job, pulling together a carefully curated selection of artists and authors. Here’s a look at some of the fantastic line-up you can look forward to seeing at the festival this year.

This year’s highlights will include some brilliant authors and musicians. In terms of literature, comedian Phil Wang, who went to school in Bath will be talking about his memoir Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At One which takes an incisive but characteristic comic look at what it means to be mixed race. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021, Abdulrazak Gurnah, will be in conversation with writer Elif Shafak, where they will discuss some of the themes of both their novels, including immigration, postcolonialism and the notion of home. We’ll also be welcoming a visit from American writer Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby.

Historian and presenter David Olusoga and geneticist and author Adam Rutherford, author of Control: the Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics, will be in what promises to be a stimulating discussion. Comedian, writer and actress Isy Suttie will be one of the stars of an all female event at The Forum. We look forward to welcoming Helen Thorn, an award-winning comedian, podcaster and author. She is widely known for her honest and hilarious take on parenthood and her book Get Divorced, Be Happy. Along with this, we are delighted to have The Guardian’s chief theatre critic Arifa Akbar, author of acclaimed memoir Consumed: A Sister’s Story, as guest curator for a number of events.

On the music side, we have the celebrated saxophonist Jess Gillam, who will be bringing her Ensemble to Komedia. Bath Abbey’s beautifully restored interior will be the setting for a concert by The Tallis Scholars, the early music vocal ensemble specialising in sacred music.

For some contrast to this, Scottish musicians Karine Polwart, the multi-award winning singer-songwriter and composer David Milligan will be showcasing their latest joint project, Still As Your Sleeping for voice and piano. Pioneers of pop-up gigs, Empirical Jazz will also be putting on a series of free performances around Bath city centre as well as a more formal concert.

And if you are a fan of both music and books, we have a great event for you featuring past directors of The Bath Festival. James Runcie, creator of the Grantchester series, will be talking about his latest novel, The Great Passion about JS Bach at an event with acclaimed pianist Joanna MacGregor. 

The festival will open with the traditional Party in the City on Friday 13 May, offering dozens of free live music events in city venues for an evening of celebration which attracts tens of thousands of visitors.

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