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Festival Fever in Bath

Bath serves as a stage for a packed calendar of events. From comedy and carnival to food and drink, music and literature, there are exciting events and festivals taking place throughout the city in 2019.

The Bath Festival is the city's largest celebration of music and literature, featuring a plethora of household names and rising stars, and The Bath Festival Finale Weekend offers the chance to enjoy an open-air music festival set right in the heart of the city centre. 

You can immerse yourself in the world of Bath’s most famous literary resident at the Jane Austen Festival, featuring elegant masked balls, walking tours and talks (many staged in locations straight out of Austen’s stories).

Treat your ears to classical music when international performers descend on the city for Mozartfest and Bachfest, indulge your sense of fun at Bath Comedy Festival, or discover rising cinematic stars at FilmBath Festival.

Get into the festive spirit at our famous Bath Christmas Market, where you can browse twinkling chalets packed with one-of-a-kind gifts and seasonal surprises, and warm up with plenty of comforting winter food.

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Bath Bachfest: February

Celebrating the eighteenth-century German maestro and his contemporaries, Bath Bachfest welcomes internationally-renowned musicians to the city each February. Treat your ears to an array of Baroque concerts, featuring glorious music in all its classical forms, from suites to concertos and as solos and ensembles.

With 2019 the festival’s eighth year, it shows no sign of slowing down, instead keeping up momentum with a vibrant programme spanning lots of venues across the city, from the grand Assembly Rooms and Guildhall to the intimate St. Mary’s Church in Bathwick.

Whether you’re already a classical connoisseur, or simply intrigued by Bach, all are welcome at the three-day mini-festival.

Bath Comedy Festival: March and April

Bringing Bath to life each spring, Bath Comedy Festival sees 20 days of exciting events take over the city, guaranteed to get you laughing. 

With line-ups in previous years including household names from the likes of Greg Davies to Paul Merton, and Aisling Bea to Miles Jupp, it’s a draw for both established and up-and-coming comedians, many of whom have performed on the Edinburgh Fringe circuit.

Celebrating comedy in all its forms, with an eclectic and vibrant mix of stand-up, street theatre, film, workshops and much more, you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy.

The Bath Festival: May

The perfect excuse for a longer stay in the city, Bath’s flagship festival is a multi-arts celebration of all things music and literature.

With 160 events spread out over more than two weeks, the line-up features rock, classical and world music, with the fantastic Finale Weekend, 1st–2nd June, topping off a festival to remember.

Party in the City on 17th May also promises to unite Bath for its biggest night of free entertainment. Bookworms won’t be disappointed either, as talks and question and answer sessions from top writers and journalists sell out the city’s most beautiful venues during the festival.

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Iford Arts: Various Productions from May–September

With a stunning new location in Bradford-on-Avon, the annual Iford Arts summer festival is back for 2019 to captivate and enchant audiences with performances from internationally-renowned musicians. Welcoming talented performers from the jazz and opera worlds, this year there are four productions and proms planned from May to September, in both the grand Banqueting Room of Bath’s Guildhall, and the glorious Grade-I listed neo-classical grounds of Belcombe Court. With the operetta Die Fledermaus kicking off the season in May, and making way for the likes of jazz singer Clare Teal and other rising classical stars over the rest of the summer, pack a picnic and enjoy the festival’s vibrant programme!

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Bath Fringe: May and June

Uniting Bath’s creative scene, Bath Fringe’s packed summer programme features everything from theatre to dance and music to comedy.

With an ‘anything goes’ mentality, it means there’s something for everyone and the city will come alive with the arts – kids can enjoy a children’s festival whilst street performers and artists will (often literally) paint the town with creativity.

Part of Bath Fringe, Fringe Arts Bath embodies this hands-on approach and celebrates the contemporary visual arts with a range of exhibitions, events and workshops during the festival. Keep an eye out for art popping up in a host of unusual places and in unexpected ways across the city!

Pub in the Park: June

Combining the winning formula of great food and live music, Pub in the Park returns to Bath for its second year.

Fronted by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, this year he’s joined by host Monica Galetti of MasterChef: The Professionals fame, along with a fabulous range of world-class chefs, pubs and restaurants to showcase the best food the country has to offer.

Expect plenty of demos, talks and tastings during the three-day feast of a festival. With music from the likes of Basement Jaxx, Gabrielle, Texas and Will Young, plus many more, Pub in the Park will bring all the right ingredients for the perfect summer festival!

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Bath Carnival: 13th July

Back once again to paint the town a rainbow of colours, Bath’s very own carnival takes to the streets on 13th July.

Always an unmissable spectacle of sequins, feathers and tassels, the sounds of samba drums and their infectious rhythms are guaranteed to get you moving.

With its exciting street procession of colourful costumes, vibrant dance and dynamic music – embracing all that carnival culture has to offer, from all corners of the globe – Sydney Gardens also plays host to a free Party in the Park, with music, workshops, kids’ activities and plenty of food and drink from day to night.

Jane Austen Festival: 13th–22nd September

Bath’s most famous resident is the focus of this ten-day programme of literary-inspired events.

Now in its 19th year and undoubtedly Austen-approved, the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade kicks off proceedings – always an impressive event to behold even if you’re not taking part!

With a whole range of talks and workshops taking place in various venues across the city, the international festival draws Austen fans to Bath from far and wide, attracting all those looking to walk in her footsteps and step back in time.

Bath Children’s Literature Festival: 27th September–6th October

Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival features ten days of talks, signings, activities and workshops promising to inspire and intrigue young and old alike in a range of venues, from The Guildhall to The Forum.

Welcoming the biggest and best authors and illustrators to the city, the Bath Children’s Literature Festival has previously hosted the likes of Michael Morpurgo, David Walliams and Lauren Child (to name but a few), so 2019’s line-up looks set to dazzle and delight yet again.

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FilmBath Festival: 7th–17th November

Whether you’re a film fanatic with your finger on the cinematic pulse, or simply looking to expand your interests in genre and style, FilmBath is the festival for you.

Previews, special events and question and answer sessions with filmmakers are the main ingredients, with screenings of world cinema, LGBT films, documentaries and more filling out the diverse and vibrant programme.

The festival also introduced its own F-Rated category in 2014 to recognise all films directed or written by women, so keep an eye out for those flicks that fit the bill.

Bath Mozartfest: 8th–16th November

Bath Bachfest’s counterpart, Mozartfest showcases the eminent Austrian composer through nine days of classical concerts, often recognised as one of the country’s best celebrations of classical music.

Enjoy the music of Mozart and others – including Haydn, Wagner and Beethoven – through solos meriting quiet reflection, and joyful orchestral ensembles bringing music to life in celebration of the masterful maestro.

With a range of venues to match the music, from candlelit church settings to the grandeur of Bath Abbey, Mozartfest is not to be missed.

Bath Christmas Market: 28th November—15th December

The festive season in Bath is an all-round magical experience with the arrival of Bath Christmas Market and its twinkling chalets.

Around 150 artisan makers and craftspeople, almost all local to the southwest region, set up shop on the streets of the city, bringing a range of unique products and gifts with which to fill their chalets.

Whether a tasty local cheese, a sparkling piece of jewellery, a handcrafted wooden toy or delicious handmade chocolate, you’re sure to find a present for everyone on your list. Make a trip out of your visit to the Market by extending your stay overnight, to fully experience all that the city has to offer over Christmas.

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