Friday, April 28, 2017

Festivals & Workshops: The Bath Festival

This month Elaine Roberts takes us on a trip to the wonderful Bath Festival. She chats to Head of Programming, Judith Robinson, about the event.

Welcome to the RNA blog, Judith. Can you tell us something about the festival, how it came about and how long its been running?
Bath Festivals has a long history, with the music festival starting as early as 1948, later joined by a
Ann Patchett - Photo credit Heidi Ross (Bath)
literature and a children’s literature festival. This year sees the launch of a new flagship festival for Bath  - The Bath Festival, 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.  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.

Who are your main speakers for 2017?
This year, we are welcoming a range of fascinating speakers and world-famous artists to Bath, from Sir Salman Rushdie to Ann Patchett, Mary Berry to MP Jess Phillips, acclaimed musician Madeleine Peyroux and the iconic Georgie Fame accompanied by the Guy Barker Big Band, as well as the Philharmonia with conductor Herbert Blomstedt. You can check out the full programme here

As our blog is for writers can you tell me how your festival would benefit our members?
We host a range of creative writing workshops as part of The Bath Festival’s programme which are aimed at aspiring writers, covering genres such as YA and performance poetry, as well as crime-writing. We are also hosting a masterclass on how to successfully submit a manuscript. There are lots of opportunities to hear inspirational writers talk about their work and their journey to becoming published authors.

How about staying over for the whole event. Where can people stay?
Bath is home to a range of beautiful hotels and B&Bs. A selection of them is listed in our brochure or you can check out available accommodation on

What does it cost to attend?
Ticket prices start at £5 – we also have special offers available for a range of events. All details can be found in our festival brochure.

Do workshops/talks fill up quickly?
Some events have already sold out since we went on general sale in February, so I would recommend booking sooner rather than later.

How much time does it take to organise the festival?
We don’t really take a break from programming so even when we are confirming artists for one year, we are already talking about the following year.

Dates for 2017 and possibly 2018.
The festival starts on 19 to 28 May, starting with Party in the City on 19th May, an almighty celebration of free entertainment. The streets, parks and venues in Bath will be filled with a multitude of arts from electro-swing, to cheerleading, to Chinese shadow puppetry.  There will be Samba dancing and drumming, DJ booths and a festival hub on Alfred Street for a family-friendly extravaganza.  Over 100 school children will bring the Abbey to life with song, stories and visual arts.  After dark, Queen Square will be alive with music, local food and drink.

Dates for 2018 will be announced later this year.


About Elaine Roberts:
Elaine is a member of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme and the SWWJ and is currently working on a family saga. She has sold short stories worldwide and enjoys attending RNA events such as the London chapter and our annual conference. Elaine is a great fan of writing retreats either week long by the sea with friends or one-day retreats with fellow writers in her hometown of Dartford. Elaine runs a writing blog along with writer, Francesca Capaldi Burgess called WriteMindWritePlace.

Thank you Elaine and Judith. 

Members, please tell us about your experiences of literary festivals. We love to hear from you.

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