Now in its 66th year, the Hexham Abbey Festival of Music & Arts 2018 marks the centenary anniversary of two major historical events: the end of the First World War and the achievement of  Women's Suffrage. This year’s varied programme has something for everyone – from choral concerts and communal singing to restored 1932 classic movies.

The annual Festival was founded in 1953 by Sir Humphrey Noble and a small band of enthusiastic supporters and delivers a rich cultural programme of concerts and events. Hexham’s glorious medieval Abbey provides both a stunning backdrop and world-class acoustics as the main festival venue.

Many world famous musicians and groups have graced the Festival over the years, and this year is no exception. With many regular faces as well as some exciting new ones, and festivalgoers will have plenty to choose from to fill their four-day festival itinerary.

Hexham Abbey Festival of Music and Arts: 27- 30 September 2018

Bach, Mozart and Candlelight Concerts.

Thursday 27th September kick starts the festival with a return visit from celebrated poet Simon Armitage. Against the backdrop of film clips, Simon will talk about the challenges of writing poetry for his First World War project Still, and his TV commissions The Not Dead and The Great War: An Elegy.

Still, on the first world war theme, the opening concert features international organist and John Butt with the world-famous brass group  The Wallace Collection led by star trumpeter John Wallace, with John Butt returning on Friday with a recital based around works by Bach and Mozart. A Candlelight concert featuring vocal group I Fagiolini completes Friday’s programme and sets the scene for the weekend.

If jazz is your thing, you can enjoy Late Night Jazz in the Great Hall with rising star saxophonist Harry Greene and his group Blue Note.

The Big Sing – a Family Affair
Saturday morning starts with The Festival Big Sing - exactly what it says on the tin and sure to delight the whole family. The Big Sing includes a workshop with inspirational singer and musician Sandra Kerr using songs inspired by the First World War, women’s suffrage and Northumbrian folk music.

Performances and events by local groups including Hexham Brass, the Festival Chorus and Orchestra will also feature throughout the four-day festival.

Sunday Afternoon at the Movies
There’s a rather special Sunday morning service led by the Bishop of Loughborough, the Right Revd. Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani. Originally a refugee from Iran, Dr Francis-Dehqani was ordained and consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, at a service at Canterbury Cathedral in November 2017 and is the first appointed Bishop of Loughborough. Following the service is the Wind Serenade Coffee Concert featuring the music of Mozart and Gounod, directed by Denis McCaldin, and there’s also a special treat for movie aficionados with an afternoon screening at the Forum Cinema of the restored 1932 classic A Farewell to Arms.  

Wartime Experiences in Words and Music
Following a specially composed celebratory quarter peal by the Abbey Bell Ringers, the final event of the 2018 Festival is guaranteed to be a fitting finale for this year’s festival theme and is sure to be a moving experience.   Set to words and music, tenor Joshua Ellicot, the eponymous Jack’s great-nephew, recalls young soldier Jack Ellicot’s wartime experiences. From Your Ever-loving Son Jack has been met with great critical acclaim and is a deeply moving and unique musical portrait.

Tickets for the four day festival can be purchased from Queen’s Hall Box Office, Hexham or at <script>var hideInlineMPU=1;</script>