Stellar line-up announced for Bath Festival

By Ben Carey on 21 February, 2020

A galaxy of world-renowned stars including musicians, writers, comedians and media personalities have been announced for Bath Festival 2020.

Running from Friday 15th to Sunday 24th May, the Festival comprises more than 140 events with a diverse programme to include something for everyone.

The literature programme this year embraces the spirit of enquiry as some of the big issues of our time are subject to lively debate, from sustainability and democracy to mental health and morality. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks will be exploring issues of morality, while MP David Lammy will be talking about tribalism and community, the subject of his new book Tribes.

Festival-goers can enjoy comedian Marcus Brigstocke tearing through the Sunday papers, Rachel Parris bringing her new stand-up show to Bath, or drop in to a lecture in a lunch break to learn about the sixth century hero Beowulf or how to cultivate a healthy brain with advice from psychologist Kimberley Wilson.

Global bestseller novelist Neil Gaiman will be commemorating the centenary of the sci-fi guru Ray Bradbury in spirited discussion live via Skype with award-winning Bradbury biographer Sam Weller. The cult graphic designer Stanley Donwood, the man behind Radiohead’s artwork, is coming to talk about his creative career and share notes and sketches. Marine biologist Monty Halls and his family will be sharing stories of their wildlife adventures on the Galapagos.

Ahead of this year’s Glastonbury Festival Emily Eavis will be looking back at 50 years of the legendary festival and comedian Adam Buxton will be delivering his comic ramblings. There will be a strong poetry and spoken word collection, including the three times World Poetry Slam Champion Buddy Wakefield. Other visiting writers include George Alagiah, Lionel Shriver, Polly Toynbee, Claire Tomalin, James Runcie and Joanna Trollope.

This year’s music programme offers magic and mystery with performances in some of Bath’s most beautiful and historic buildings. The festival returns to Bath Abbey for an evening of Renaissance choral music with The Gesualdo Six, while pianist Bertrand Chamayou will be giving a virtuoso recital at the Assembly Rooms. The queen of punk Patti Smith will be filling The Forum and folk singer Chris Wood gives an intimate gig at Walcot House.

The Finale Weekend is a spectacular two-day music event on Bath Recreation ground on Saturday 23thrd and Sunday 24 May, the bank holiday weekend. The line-up includes McFly, Scouting for Girls, KT Tunstall, UB40, Billy Ocean, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Seth Lakeman.

Ian Stockley, Bath Festivals’ Chief Executive, said, “We are delighted to announce the outstanding line up for the 2020 festival. We bring Bath alive with music, writers, readers, revellers and more across the ten days, opening the celebrations with Party in the City on Friday 15th May.”

Tickets are available from the Bath Festival website, on 01225 463362 or in person from Bath Box Office, 2 Terrace Walk, Bath BA1 1LN. Members’ booking opens on Thursday 27th February with general release on Thursday 5th March.

See the full programme here.