“It’s like opening a box of magic”    

The 2018 Swaledale Festival programme is now complete. The dates are 26 May to 9 June 2018. Full details will be on this site by the end of January and the online box office opens on 26 March. For those planning their visit to the Festival, here are some of the headlines for each of the two weeks: 

Week 1: Craig Ogden & Gary Ryan, Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, PuppetCraft, Seckou Keita & Catrin Finch, Jennifer Pike & Petr Limonov, Mahan Esfahani, Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, David Owen Norris’s Mozart Project, The Young’uns… 

Week 2: Marian Consort, Sacconi Quartet & James Gilchrist, Hut People, E.U. Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists & Martin Roscoe, Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Maya Youssef Trio, Angela Hewitt, Dodo Street Band, Hallé Orchestra… 

There will be young stars of the future alongside world-class instrumentalists, singers, actors, choirs, poets, films, exhibitions, talks, workshops, puppets, and a series of themed walks celebrating our magical landscape. It’s probably best to come for the whole fortnight! We look forward to seeing you…

Thank you to everyone who helped make the 2017 Festival our most successful ever. There were many highlights, but here are just a few: Stephen Hough, John Williams with John Etheridge and Gary Ryan, Red Priest, VOCES8, Sheku Kanneh-Mason & Family, Albion Quartet, Vimala Rowe, the HandleBards, Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments, Fidelio Trio, Rapscallion, Zulu Tradition and Urban Folk Quartet. National Youth Jazz Orchestra’s children's concert in Catterick Garrison was broadcast to schools and forces bases all over the world, and we won't forget the impromptu appearance of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.

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 DarlingtonHandelsbanken, Latimer Hinks Solicitors, Kenneth Easby Accountants,  Purple Creative Studio,  Tennants Garden RoomsMillgate 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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