“It’s like opening a box of magic that stays wide open for two weeks” – audience member 

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to everyone who made the 2017 Festival such a rip-roaring success.

In our most ambitious Festival yet we featured young musicians at the beginning of sparkling careers alongside veteran supergroups. Intimate duets, explosive folk and reimagined baroque. Choirs, orchestras, woodwind, brass, strings, pianos, and also slaptops, santouris, nyckelharpas, gothic harps and the amazing tromba marina. Idyllic outdoor Shakespeare, poetry readings, film screenings, talks, inspiring art exhibitions and a series of guided walks to celebrate our magical landscape. Clog-dancing, Canadian step dancing, traditional Zulu dancing and the story of the world’s first ballet. World premieres and commissions by, amongst others, the composer Alexander Goehr. 

It all took place in village churches, tiny chapels, heritage buildings and large halls, with audience members ranging from infants to 90+ year-olds. Top musicians performed in schools and care homes for the elderly, and our National Youth Jazz Orchestra children's concert in Catterick Garrison was broadcast to schools and British forces bases all over the world. And we won't forget the impromptu appearance of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and our double bass-playing Artistic Director Malcolm Creese with John Potter's 'Amores Pasados' (pictured).

Sincere thanks to everyone who attended our events this year. There were more of you than ever before in our 46 year history, and ticket sales reached an all-time high.

It’s over, and yet it’s so far from over. Our extensive community and education programme is rolling and we’re busy planning Swaledale Festival 2018 and 2019. 

The Festival is extremely grateful for the generosity of our sponsors, funders, donors, legacy givers, Festival Friends and Angels, as well as the tireless work and dedication of our loyal volunteers, our staff, and members of the Festival Board.  

Swaledale Festival receives support from Arts Council England and from generous sponsors including Sherwoods (Vauxhall) of Darlington, Handelsbanken, Latimer Hinks Solicitors, Kenneth Easby Accountants,  Purple Creative Studio, Tennants Garden Rooms, Millgate House B&B in Richmond, the Burgoyne Hotel in Reeth and the Bridge Inn in Grinton. We are also supported by a number of Local Businesses shown here.

Missing the Festival? You can live with Swaledale Festival all year round with our vibrant 2018 calendar. £10.00 including postage and packing (UK only). Order your copy here.

Recent News

The Swaledale Festival is in full (and uproarious) swing

The two-week festival of music, arts and walking launched on Friday 26 May with the opening of JAZZ! – a vibrant art exhibition by primary and secondary pupils at The Station gallery in Richmond.  Pupils, their families and carers were invited to a special evening preview, and were praised for their contribution and creativity in a welcome speech by Artistic Director, Malcolm Creese.  Heather Hodgson, Marketing Coordinator says: ‘it was amazing to see the faces of the pupils as they crossed the threshold of the Station and looked up at the gallery to see their work on display – they were grinning with pride.  This is a prestigious venue and it’s a great feeling for these kids to have their work on public display.’


During the first week of the Festival numerous venues across Swaledale, Wensleydale and Arkengarthdale were filled with high-quality music and sell-out audiences.

The Kanneh-Mason Trio – three talented siblings including the cellist and reigning BBC Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason – performed a mesmerising afternoon concert to a stunned audience at St. Andrew’s Church in Aysgarth. ‘They are an extraordinary family and their playing is masterful’ says Creese.  ‘They also took the time to mix and talk with the audience afterwards, and that was very special’.

On the same day five miles down the road in Askrigg, Northern Monkey Brass Band who were preparing for their evening show gave an impromptu extra performance in Askrigg Village Hall to the community who were gathered in fancy dress for the annual village sports bash.  They went on to perform an energetic evening gig at St. Oswald’s.

On Wednesday 31st May The HandleBards, a four-strong troupe who describe themselves as ‘Shakespeare on Bikes’ performed a double-bill of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Reeth Community Orchard.  One audience member said: ‘they had the audience in stitches, and even got some of us taking part.  The sun shone, the orchard was in full bloom and there we all were, watching this amazing drama in our deckchairs whilst eating ice creams.  It was heaven, basically.’

With four days of the Festival to go, there is plenty left to see including Fidelio Piano Trio on Thurs 8 June in Richmond, Urban Folk Quartet on Fri 9 June in Grinton and Will Pound & Eddy Jay on Sat 10 June in Keld – the harmonica and accordionist duo.

Local resident of Wensleydale Karen Heseltine says: ‘on the first day of the Festival it’s like opening a box of magic that stays wide open for two weeks.  I cannot wait to see harpist Jean Kelly play in Reeth and jazz singer Vimala Rowe in Leyburn.’

For more details, or to book tickets, go to www.swalefest.org

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