As many readers will know, our friends at Petworth Festival managed to keep their plates spinning throughout the year of the pandemic. Amongst much else they were able to bring a ‘festival for the times’ to all comers in the Autumn when presenting a series of events filmed live in Petworth with small invited audiences that were additionally streamed far and wide over the internet.
‘Things are looking very hopeful for this coming year as we speak’ says Artistic Director Stewart Collins, ‘and unless things divert from the official roadmap, we are genuinely anticipating 17 days of performance that will look very much like recent festivals – if not even better! Having said that we are taking every possible measure to ensure that audiences will feel comfortable after the-year-like-no-other we are emerging from, but the message is that the doors are open, you are very welcome and the incredible joys of live performance and live music making are just weeks away.’
Building on the success of previous years the Petworth team has put together a wonderfully varied series of events ranging from the classical virtuosity of pianists Isata Kanneh-Mason and Imogen Cooper and musician-of-the-moment, saxophonist Jess Gillam, to the music of Paul Simon, stomping blues in the hands of The Blues Band with its evergreen front man Paul Jones, and top author/comedian Adam Kay, whose show This is going to hurt has already been seen in London’s West End.
But if there is one particular initiative that is enthusing Stewart Collins in July it is the brand new Petworth Festival Summer Weekend, two days of free events due to be staged in the Petworth House Pleasure Ground thanks to a new collaboration with the National Trust. ‘Our aim is always to provide quality music and performance for as wide an audience as possible, but these two days of free events will hopefully make a big impact with young and family audiences. With performance, workshops and a beautiful staging of The Secret Garden, both days should really be dates for the diary.’
The full programme will be announced on 18 May and the box office opens on 15 June. Keep up to date at www.petworthfestival.org.uk.