Fringe Box



Petworth Festival Is Very Much Alive And Kicking

Published on: 21 Jun, 2021
Updated on: 21 Jun, 2021

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Despite the recently announced slippage in the long-trumpeted release from Covid restrictions, organisers of the Petworth Festival are still managing to press ahead with a programme that will bring over a fortnight of live music and entertainment back to Petworth from Wednesday, July 14 to Saturday, July 31.

Jess Gillam to play at the Petworth Festival on Thursday, July 15. Photo Robin Clewley.

“For months we have been planning for every pretty much every eventuality whilst hoping for the best,” says Petworth Festival’s artistic director Stewart Collins, “but at least we now know where things stand and we can proceed with what is a really exciting festival programme, albeit in the knowledge that audiences will have to be limited to the numbers set out by the current government guidelines.

“There will of course be financial consequences but as in 2020, our sponsors have been absolutely amazing and the damage will be limited, although for a second year running obviously unwelcome.”

Isata Kanneh-Mason at the Petworth Festival on Friday, July 23. Photo Robin Clewley.

At the time of writing all publicised events will still be taking place as scheduled. The highlights of the 2021 Festival include:

    • The Petworth Festival’s signature series of concerts in the atmospheric Stable Yard of Petworth House, variously The Music of Paul Simon – A Celebration (Thursday, July 22); The
      Blues Band (Friday, July 23); and Jazz in The Stables – featuring Si Cranstoun, and The Dynamo Quartet (Saturday, July 24)
    • Headline concerts in Midhurst Rother College’s fine theatre; variously Isata Kanneh-Mason (Friday, July 23); Radio Live! featuring the Rev Richard Coles, Alistair McGowan and Joe Stilgoe (Tuesday, July 27); and Adam Kay’s – ‘This is Going Hurt’ Live (Thursday, July 29)
    • The Petworth Festival Summer Weekend, two days of free family theatre, hands on participatory workshops, ‘street’ acts and live music staged in the Pleasure Garden of Petworth House by kind permission of the National Trust (Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18).

Adam Kay – ‘Cabaret’ performance at the Petworth Festival on Thursday, July 29.

With nearly 40 events overall, including extensive series in St Mary’s Church and the newly refurbished Leconfield Hall, Stewart is hoping for a bumper return to form despite the continuation of audience restrictions:

He added: “When we booked the festival back in 2020 we could have no idea as to what would eventually materialise, but happily having aimed high, optimistically and ambitiously, we have ended up with a programme to be proud of and one that is already selling very quickly to the festival’s Friends and patrons.”

HMS Pinafore at the Petworth Festival on Sunday, July 25.

Other key artists include classical music’s star of the moment, saxophonist Jess Gillam (Thursday, July 15); the return of Gilbert &; Sullivan to the festival after a gap of more than 10 years in the shape of HMS Pinafore at Bignor Park (Sunday, July 25); and an eclectic series of classical, jazz, ‘roots’, and world music events across the fortnight.

Until the government guidelines change, events will be limited to a maximum capacity of 50%, but one way or another, live entertainment is well and truly back…

Keep up to date and book tickets at

Other artists appearing at the Petworth Festival include:

Art of Moog. Photo Robert Piwko.

Trio Mazzolini. Photo Conrad Litchfield.


Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch. Photo Andy Morgan.

Bloomsbury Quartet. Photo Christian Maier-Smith.

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