Fringe Box



Petworth Festival 2020 Defies The Odds With Online Autumn Special

Published on: 3 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 3 Oct, 2020

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Against all the odds, Petworth Festival (Friday, October 16 to Sunday, November 1) has come up with a stellar line up of performers and authors for the 2020 Petworth Festival Autumn Special.

As with practically all similar events,  the annual summer festival was cancelled because of the pandemic. But undeterred, the Petworth team has worked incredibly hard to deliver a fortnight of  wonderful music and literary events.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

We are showcasing the best of what was to be a stunning summer festival, together with a strikingly high profile sequence of literary events as the Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary literary week.

We have a series of performance headliners including classical music’s new superstars, Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, internationally feted guitarist MILOŠ, and one of the world’s finest classical pianists, Mitsuko Uchida.

The literary line-up is similarly heavy weight. Headliners including top novelists William Boyd, Joanna Trollope and Anthony Horowitz, as well as acclaimed children’s author Michael Morpurgo and, squaring the circle, the mother of the illustrious Kanneh-Mason family, Kadiatu, who tells the story of her seven astonishing children.

Milos, photo credit to Lars Borges.

The festival runs over a fortnight with daily performance events streamed online during the first week, and two daily literary events streamed live in the second, to which audiences will be able to contribute live questions.

All events, bar those with Joanna Trollope and James Naughtie, will befilmed in Petworth with access to all events on the festival website (

Michael Morpurgo.

Speaking of both his pleasure and relief at being able to announce the programme, Artistic Director, Stewart Collins, said: “This has been a momentous year in so many ways, and most of them not good, but thanks to extraordinary support from a significant group of loyal, festival sponsors, together with great enthusiasm and encouragement from both the music and publishing industries, we are hugely proud of what we have put together for this coming October.

“We hope that both our regular and new audiences will assume a ‘festival mode’ of joining us repeatedly throughout the fortnight, as this really is a bold attempt to keep the flag flying not only for Petworth Festival, but also for the musicians and authors whose lives have been greatly affected by the past few months, particularly those of the musicians whose livelihoods have quite simply fallen off the cliff edge since March.”

Small invited audiences of our sponsors will attend all events to help create a genuine live event ambience, and performances will last a maximum of one hour.

Individual shows are priced very modestly at £4.99 with generous festival passes available for multiple attendance and can be booked online here.

Stewart Collins, artistic director for the Petworth Festival.

Stewart added: “Because the Petworth Festival has enjoyed solid and growing support in recent years from both Petworth and the wider area, we are hoping the widest audience will see this as a brave response to the challenges of covid year, and react in the best way possible in order to help minimise the impact of the pandemic.

“For all the support from our sponsors in ensuring that we can run the festival, this will still be a very bad year financially for us unless we can generate substantial numbers of viewers.

“We are confident that a mix of audience loyalty and approval, and the genuine star quality of our events will help secure this.”

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