Some of the biggest names in the worlds of music and literature will be coming to Bath for The Bath Festival 2018 as the full programme has been announced.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the festival, Bath’s flagship multi-arts festival will have more than 180 events taking place over 17 days around the city in May, bringing some of the world’s leading writers, musicians, historians, journalists and bands to Bath.

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, the festival finale weekend (26 – 27 May) will see the likes of Tears for Fears, Robert Plant, Imelda May, Alison Moyet, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Midge Ure and Seth Lakeman play at Bath Recreation Ground, along with a host of entertainers including poets, roaming performers, children’s activities and more.

Highlights of the 2018 programme include:


– Historian David Olusoga will be talking about his award-winning book Black and British: A Forgotten History which shines a light on this country’s hidden history from Roman Britain to the present day.

– One of the world’s greatest mountaineers Sir Chris Bonington will talk about scaling the most dangerous peaks on the planet and climbing Mount Everest at the age of 50.

– From the tragedy of the Dunblane school massacre to triumph on the tennis court, Judy Murray’s memoir Knowing The Score is a story of belief in the face of adversity. Judy Murray will give an insight into the ups and downs of parenting tennis champions Andy and Jamie Murray.

– Do the subtle charms of Persuasion outrank the dazzling wit of Pride and Prejudice? Has Mansfield Park ever got the attention it deserves? The Times Literary Supplement Michael Caines and special guests will celebrate their beloved writer Jane Austen and her work.

– In a fascinating panel discussion, historian Tracy Borman, radio presenter and author Simon Mayo, and internationally bestselling author Robyn Young will talk bloodshirty monarchs, witchcraft and prison breaks as they share their experiences of bringing the past to life with historical fiction.

– International bestselling author Kate Mosse will chat about her latest novel The Burning Chambers, which takes readers to 16th-century Languedoc, where the battle-lines are being drawn in blood.

The Great British Bake Off runner-up Ruby Tandoh will discuss why we should throw out dieting obsessions and food fashions and just enjoy what we want to eat.

– Comedian and writer Robert Webb will be revealing why the ‘rules’ of being a man (drink beer, love sport, don’t talk about feelings) aren’t that straightforward, following his runaway bestseller How Not To Be a Boy.

– Having battled anxiety and depression from an early age, rapper Professor Green has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of mental health issues. In this exclusive interview, he explores his youth in East London, his stellar career as a musician, and talks about his autobiography Lucky and his most recent Channel 4 documentary Working Class White Men.

– Husband and wife team Peter Snow and Ann Macmillan will discuss their first co-authored book, War Stories, revealing the untold tales of ordinary people swept up in war over three centuries and five continents.

Robert Webb, Professor Green and David Olusoga


– Singer-songwriter and New York Times bestselling author Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn) headlines the opening night of The Bath Festival with her unique brand of punk cabaret.

– The annual Concert for the people of Bath will feature Bath Philharmonia and will be dedicated to the memory of Brian and Margaret Roper. It will be a unique evening bringing together the winners of BBC Young Musician of the Year and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Sheku Kanneh-Mason is the epitome of musical charisma and was a smash at the Proms. Cardiff audiences were blown away by Catriona Morison and a major international operatic career beckons. The concert is rounded off by a medley of solos performed by the extraordinary Kanneh-Mason family.

– Join multi platinum-selling singer, songwriter and producer Ben Folds in an intimate performance of new tracks and old favourites. With just a piano and his own distinctive voice, Ben will dip into his enormous body of genre-bending music for this uniquely personal performance.

– Hailed as ‘South Africa’s cultural ambassadors’ by Nelson Mandela and gaining global acclaim for their collaboration with Paul Simon on his award-winning album Graceland, Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been singing powerful, uplifting songs that give voice to the struggles and passion of South Africa for 50 years.

– Five-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter will perform her favourite music from her acclaimed 30 year career.

– In three concerts Roderick Williams performs Schubert’s three great song cycles with pianist Iain Burnside, in a project which will shed new light on some of the very greatest songs ever composed.

– Audiences will be transported to 1950s New York as a special concert performance of West Side Story comes to The Forum to mark 100 years since the birth of composer Leonard Bernstein.

– Using only their six voices and a microphone, Cuban a cappella band Vocal Sampling will impress audiences with their vocal gymnastics, intricate rhythms and hot Cuban influences in an imaginative performance at Komedia.

– One of the world’s great pianists Stephen Hough will feature two timeless masterpieces, Schumann’s C major and Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata, at the core of the programme.

Midge Ure, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Bath’s biggest night of free music, Party in the City, will break from tradition by taking place on the festival’s second weekend on Friday 18 May. This year sees the launch of SparkFest, a partnership with Bath Spa University, an innovative programme of theatre, music and dance, curated and created by the stars of tomorrow.

The festival has also teamed up with the home of Bath City FC, Twerton Park, for a day of football fun for all the family; FilmBath to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage with film, literature, politics, music and comedy; and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, who has created the concept of a dazzling multisensory evening of Living Literature and promises to immerse the audience in the world of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

The Bath Festival 2018 takes place from Friday 11 – Sunday 27 May. General booking opens on 5 March. Book in person at Bath Box Office, tel: 01225 463362, or visit:

The full programme can be viewed online:

Main image: Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters