The June Edition: 2/3 June 2023
The 44th Petworth Festival: 11 to 29 July 2023
The 13th Petworth Festival Literary Week: 27 October to 5 November 2023
The Petworth Festival has been around for over 40 years having been founded in 1978 by Lord Egremont and local composer Bob Walker. It has of course evolved and now presents three different events each year, a near-on three week Summer Festival at the end of July, a ten day Literary Week on the cusp of October/November (some weeks are longer than others…), and a new June Edition – a mix of both longer events.
Events are presented in 15 venues across the immediate area the largest venues being Petworth House’s Stable Yard and the Midhurst Rother College Theatre. Petworth’s St Mary’s Church and the Leconfield Hall house the bulk of events which are truly multi-genre. ‘Classical’ has always been at the festival’s heart and here the festival punches well above its weight because of local sponsorship support, artists in recent years having included Mitsuko Uchida, Steven Isserlis, Cristian Lindberg, and Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Each year several events celebrate long standing relationships with the Royal Academy of Music, The Musicians’ Company and Live Music Now. In 2022, the Festival entered a new relationship with Leeds International Piano Competition. 2021 competition winner Alim Beisembayev was extraordinary…
There are extensive jazz, world music, blues and contemporary strands along with comedy and family entertainment. A sprinkling of recent names includes Paul Merton, Julian Clary, Adam Kay, Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, Claire Martin, Joe Stilgoe, Seckou Keita, Los Pacaminos, and The Blues Band.
Free and family events are programmed every year, the Coultershaw Heritage Site being the latest local venue to partner promenade style theatre in 2022. Schools and outreach projects are a central feature of each annual festival year, a highly productive partnership having been formed with The Arts Society of West Sussex.
An instantly popular second annual event, The Petworth Festival Literary Week was established in 2011 with a cast of high profile authors including William Boyd, David Suchet, Julian Fellowes, Kate Mosse, Max Hastings, Michael Palin, Joan Bakewell, Sebastian Faulks, Simon Sebag Montefiore and Victoria Hislop all of whom have lit up the Autumn nights.