Programme Announcement and Reveal – Citywide Celebrations for The Bath Festival!


We are MORE than excited to reveal The Bath Festivals’s 2022 programme, with an outstanding array of authors, musicians and influential thinkers lined up to entertain and inspire. The annual world-renowned festival, celebrating books and music in a beautiful city, will run from Friday 13 May to Saturday 21 May 2022, with a series of citywide live events.

In a packed festival programme, going into more venues than ever before, many of the events involve the careful pairing of authors and musicians to create experiences that will be unique to Bath. Following the lockdowns of the pandemic The Bath Festival has emerged with a strong focus on the importance of live arts events and performance as the lifeblood of what it offers audiences.

Making the most of the city’s historic buildings as venues, we have events running in Bath Abbey, The Assembly Rooms and the former Art Deco cinema The Forum. But this year seek out different events at Komedia, known as a band and comedy venue, the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, hosting a series of eclectic talks and the official festival bookseller, Mr B’s Emporium will also be hosting a series of book events in store in John Street. Festival-goers will also find events at Persephone Books in George Street, at Walcot House and in the festival’s intimate Literature Lounge which will be set up in Alfred Street. Dorothy House Hospice is also hosting book events at its charity shop in Broad Street as part of the festival. For the first time a new Festival Hub will be set up in historic Queen Square over the first weekend of the festival. This will provide a welcoming gathering space with music, food and drink, hands-on activities for families, live entertainment and surprise performances.

The festival fun begins with the traditional FREE Party in the City on Friday 13 May, offering dozens of live music events in city venues. This celebration of music attracts thousands of visitors to the city, to enjoy everything from choirs singing in churches, to samba on the streets, punk rock in pubs and the stars of the local music scene playing on stages in local parks. Look out for innovative contemporary jazz ensemble Empirical who have carved out a name by taking audiences by surprise as they perform pop-up gigs in Tube stations and shopping centres.


A series of thoughtfully curated events created by Arifa Akbar, author of an acclaimed memoir Consumed and The Guardian’s chief theatre critic. This collection features Abdulrazak Gurnah and Elif Shafak who come together to talk about their work and the themes of home, Britishness, international fiction and post-colonial legacies. Much-loved TV presenter Davina McCall tackles the once taboo subject of the menopause as she champions women’s health in her new book Menopausing. Environmental campaigner George Monbiot will be talking to writer Max Porter about Regenesis, his vision of a new future for farming, food and humanity. The singer PJ Harvey presents Orlam, her new work, in a spoken word event. Broadcaster Justin Webb (The Gift of a Radio) and author Richard Beard (Sad Little Men) will join broadcaster Mark Lawson, to discuss male power and privilege. The unofficial Poet Laureate of Twitter, Brian Bilston shares poetry from his book Alexa, What Is There To Know About Love? Join two of the best contemporary novelists in conversation: Claire Fuller (Unsettled Ground) and Sarah Moss (The Fell) probing questions about what the world has become since March 2020. Historian and presenter David Olusoga and Adam Rutherford, geneticist and author of Control: the Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics, will be in what promises to be a stimulating discussion. Women on Top is an evening of life-affirming comedy in the company of five furiously funny women: Anna Whitehouse (Underbelly) hosts Lucy Beaumont (Drinking Custard), Isy Suttie (Jane is Trying), Jessica Jones (Own It) and Helen Thorn (Get Divorced, Be Happy). Two trailblazers come together to talk about identity, imagination and human rights. Jay Bernard, Ted Hughes Award winning poet (Surge), performs their spoken word poetry and talks to Shon Faye, a former lawyer and bestselling author (The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice – the event showcases the live literary platform, Speaking Volumes, which supports under-represented voices. The festival continues its tradition of supporting debut voices, Julia Armfield, Susan Stokes-Chapman, Kasim Ali, Jendella Benson, and Lizzie Damilola Blackburn are among the exciting new voices who will be visiting Bath.


A concert and talk by US pianist Jeremy Denk – The Bath Festival is one of only two UK dates he is playing this summer. The Bath Festival Orchestra, re-launched during the pandemic to give a platform to young musicians, will be giving a one-off performance beside the waters of the Roman Baths, playing an appropriately water-themed programme inspired by the sea. There will also be pop-up performances from this exciting young orchestra. Colin Currie, acclaimed as the world’s most daring percussionist, will be filling Bath Abbey with sound as the Colin Currie Group and Synergy Vocals put on a thunderous live performance. The band Public Service Broadcasting, favourites on the festival circuit, will bring their own brand of original music and intriguing stage performance to The Forum, a former Art Deco cinema. Pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, who will perform in the historic Holburne Museum, is part of the festival’s Rising Stars of Classical Music series of concerts. Karine Polwart brings her latest project, collaboration with jazz/folk pianist Dave Milligan. Saxophonist Jess Gillam is an exciting live performer who will be bringing a wide range of musical styles to a concert at Komedia with the Jess Gillam Ensemble.

The Bath Festival 2022 also features appearances by Ali Smith, Martin Bell, Clover Stroud, Mark Haddon, Monica Ali, Nicholas Crane, Tracy Borman, Phil Wang, The Tallis Scholars, Sean Shibe, Torrey Peters, Daisy Buchanan, Marian Keyes, Viv Groskop, Nina Stibbe, Lucy Mangan, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stacey Halls and many, many more.

Chief executive Ian Stockley, said: “A festival celebration has never been more important for bringing the city together. We are proud to have worked with so many different people and organisations to create unique collaborations and look forward to seeing audiences’ reactions to the very special live events we’ve got planned for Bath.”

A reminder that patron booking will open on the 7th March followed by general booking on the 11th – be quick when it opens!

With huge thanks to our sponsors and partners of The Bath Festival this year.

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