General booking from 15th February 2017

Building on the heritage of the Bath Literature and Bath International Music Festivals, and with more than 130 events over 10 days, The Bath Festival will take place from 19th to 28th May 2017 and will bring some of the world’s leading writers, musicians and cultural figures into the iconic buildings and onto the streets of Bath. Classical, jazz and folk music will be heard alongside contemporary fiction, intelligent debate, science, history, politics and poetry, with concerts, discussions and collaborations and many free events across the city of Bath.

Bath’s biggest free night of music, Party in the City, will launch the Festival on 19th May.

Headline names include

Sir Salman Rushdie; Colm Tóibín; Margaret Drabble and Fay Weldon; Sebastian Barry; Sophie Hannah; Mary Berry; Ali Smith; Michael Rosen; Harriet Harman; Ed Balls; India Knight; Victoria Hislop; Lionel Shriver
Philharmonia Orchestra with Herbert Blomstedt; Jeremy Denk; Richard Goode; Ann Murray; Cecilia Bernardini; Steven Isserlis; Tenebrae; Malcolm Martineau; a new 6-concert series BathSongs – from Brahms to Broadway

Georgie Fame and the Guy Barker Big Band; Madeleine Peyroux; Brad Mehldau Trio; Naturally 7; Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill; Stormy, featuring Camilla Beeput and directed by Clarke Peters; Martin Carthy and Sam Sweeney; Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal

Words + Music: Simon Callow and Steven Isserlis; Laura Barnett and Kathryn Williams; Bob Dylan: A Celebration; Madeleine Thien and Richard Uttley

Highlights of the 2017 programme (full programme at What’s On) include:


– Sir Salman Rushdie, in his only appearance outside Paris and London, talks about his remarkable life in writing as he approaches his 70th birthday

– Much-loved doyenne of the kitchen Mary Berry talks about her extraordinary career in cookery and her new book Mary Berry Everyday

– An unflinching look at Trump’s first 100 days in office, with academic and writer Sarah Churchwell, novelist Lionel Shriver, journalist Tim Dowling and special guests in our US Politics debate

– Ali Smith discusses Autumn, her brilliant new novel, written last summer to chime with rapidly unfolding political events

– Henny Beaumont and Sally Phillips discuss their personal family experiences of living with Down’s Syndrome

– A rare chance to hear Palestine’s leading writer, Raja Shehadeh, founder of the human rights organisation Al-Haq, exploring the connections that have been forged across the Israeli-Palestine border over decades

– In The Goodness of Dogs, India Knight discusses her combined passion for all things canine with an exhaustive guide to the practicalities of choosing, caring for and living with dogs

– Victoria Hislop talks about Cartes Postales from Greece – a powerful combination of stories and photographs that takes us around all Greece’s hidden corners

– Celebrated Australian writer Tim Winton in conversation with Philip Hensher about his new memoir, The Boy Behind the Curtain

– Award-winning author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín, talks to Artistic Director Alex Clark about his hotly anticipated new novel, House of Names

– Sebastian Barry discusses his Costa Novel Award-winning Days Without End

– Twinkle-toed Ed Balls talks about his life in and out of politics, and his refreshingly different political memoir, Speaking Out

– Two literary legends – Margaret Drabble and Fay Weldon – in conversation about their decades of experience and remarkable careers


– One of the great musicians of our time, Herbert Blomstedt, conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra, with pianist Martin Helmchen in a concert of Brahms and Beethoven

– Original and charismatic pianist, Jeremy Denk, plays a mix of baroque and classical music interspersed with composers’ takes on ragtime for an unforgettable concert

– New festival series BathSongs – a sumptuous mix of words, music and song, with top artists and rising stars. This year’s 6 concerts, Brahms to Broadway, take us on a journey through beautiful songs, from folk to classical to Broadway

– Marking 450 years since the birth of Claudio Monteverdi, the Dunedin Consort perform Love’s Fire; Love’s Ashes – Madrigals by Monteverdi, directed by Nicholas Mulroy

– Celia Bernardini – widely considered to be one of the most versatile violinists of her generation -plays 3 lunchtime concerts of Bach’s extraordinary music for solo violin

– Tenebrae perform Joby Talbot’s ravishing and intense Path of Miracles in Bath Abbey.  Plus Owain Park’s Footsteps, including children from Wells Cathedral School

– The very special Georgie Fame with his distinctive singing style embracing r & b, jazz, and straight-ahead grooving, performs with the Guy Barker Big Band for an evening of pure class

– A Bath Festival premiere, Stormy, celebrates dancer, movie star, singer and activist Lena Horne in her centenary year, starring Camilla Beeput and directed by Clarke Peters

– American singer Madeleine Peyroux performs from her new and highly-acclaimed album Secular Hymns, with emotional and deeply personal interpretations of songs by Tom Waits, Jacques Brel, Allen Toussaint and more

– The greatest English folk song performer of them all, Martin Carthy, plays with Bellowhead’s Sam Sweeney for the very first time.  Part of the New Meetings series

– One of the world’s great kora players, Ballake Sissoko, joins forces with French cellist Vincent Segal for a thrilling, soulful duet, featuring music from their two albums: Chamber Music and Musique de Nuit

– New York acappella band Naturally 7 build on their gospel roots with “vocal play” – creating scratching, drums, guitar and more with the human voice.  A must-see performance

Words and Music

– Internationally celebrated cellist Steven Isserlis discusses his new, extensive commentary on Robert Schumann’s Advice to Young Musicians with actor, national treasure and Schumann superfan Simon Callow

– Bob Dylan: A Celebration – Dylanologists gather for a gala evening of music and discussion about the musician, lyricist and now Nobel Prize Laureate.  Guests include Sid Griffin, Barb Jungr and David Hepworth

– Madeleine Thien’s epic tale about revolutionary China, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, centres on a group of classical musicians, with Bach’s Goldberg Variations featuring prominently in the story. She talks about the book, with live music from pianist Richard Uttley

How to book
– In person at Bath Box Office from 10.30am to 5pm on the release dates
8 Feb – Patron booking opens
9 Feb – Gold & Silver members booking opens
13 Feb – Bronze members booking opens
15 Feb – General booking opens
– By telephone on 01225 463362.
– Online at from 10.30am

To become a member and enjoy priority booking and ticket discounts* read more

The 8 Early Release Events booking now, ahead of general booking are:

American jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux

New York a cappella band Naturally 7

Award winning author of Brooklyn Colm Toibin

Renowned physicist Jim Al- Khalili on Aliens

Acclaimed crime writer Sophie Hannah

Herbert Blomstedt conducts Philharmonia Orchestra in a concert of Brahms and Beethoven

Join the debate around ‘Britain’s Favourite Book of 2016’ The Good Immigrant

Cellist Steven Isserlis and actor Simon Callow talking about their love of Schumann

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