The programme for The Bath Festival 2019 has been announced, featuring some of the biggest names in music and literature across more than 120 events from 17 – 26 May. Here are some of the highlights:

Among the line-up are Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell, and much-loved chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson.

Comedian and broadcaster Jo Brand will be speaking about her book Born Lippy, reflecting on life as a woman and what she wishes she knew when she was younger, while British orchestra Chineke!, who stormed the 2017 Proms, will be celebrating diversity in classical music at The Bath Forum.

BBC Radio 2’s drive time presenter Sara Cox will be sharing her funny and heartwarming coming of age memoir of growing up in 1980s Lancashire, and four-piece Irish folk band Lankum – who have been described as ‘a younger, darker Pogues’ (The Guardian) – will be bringing their distinctive harmonies to Komedia.

Pianist Isata Kanneh Mason © Stuart McIntyre; poet Simon Armitage © Peter James Millson; and BBC Radio 2’s Sara Cox will be heading to the festival

For history fans, Kate Williams will talk about her book Rival Queens, exploring the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, and James Holland overturns the traditional narrative of D-Day and debunks the myths of the Normandy landings as we approach its 75th anniversary.

Back by popular demand, the entertaining comic improv troupe Austentatious returns to Bath to conjure up a ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience.

New to the festival is BloodBath – a series of events themed around crime and thriller writing, including the creator of the critically-acclaimed Killing Eve, Luke Jennings, and three female writers talk about their new novels and their interests in the darker side of literature.

The city’s biggest night of free entertainment and music – Party in the City – opens the festival on 17 May, with more than 2,000 performers across 30+ venues and three outdoor arenas.

Also happening on opening night – the ears of the world will be on Bath as BBC Radio 2 broadcasts its popular long-running Friday Night is Music Night from The Bath Forum, featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Bramwell Tovey, with the theme The Magic of Musicals.

Professional orchestra Chineke will be performing at the Bath Forum © EricRichmond

There will be a series of hour-long concerts by some of the finest newcomers in the world of classical music all under the age of 30 – including Isata Kanneh-Mason and Daniel Lebhardt – and A Concert for the People of Bath returns starring Bath Philharmonia and rising star saxophonist Jess Gillam.

Following the success of last year’s event, headlining the Festival Finale Weekend at the Bath Recreation Ground on 1-2 June will be Grammy award-winning British band Clean Bandit on the Saturday, with legendary singer-songwriter Van Morrison performing on the Sunday.

View the full programme online.

Tickets for The Bath Festival events go on general sale from 7 March.

Tickets for the Finale Weekend will be available from 22 February at 10am.


Main image: Sir Michael Parkinson and Jo Brand © Pal Hansen