The 2014 Festival Programme

Around 100 people gathered at Southwell Minster on Saturday 29th March to hear Founder and Artistic Director Marcus Farnsworth announce the details of the inaugural Southwell Music Festival.

The Festival takes place over the August Bank Holiday (22-25 August) from Friday lunchtime to Monday afternoon.

In announcing the Festival programme Marcus said:

“The Festival is a celebration of classical music, and of the outstanding buildings in which our events will take place – our glorious Norman Minster and the Great Hall which is an ideal chamber music venue.

“I am delighted that so many brilliant musical friends and colleagues have generously agreed to take part in our inaugural Festival: they come from leading orchestras and vocal groups cross the country and several have local connections.

“This ensemble of around 60 outstanding singers and instrumentalists, and the enthusiastic support of the local community – both financial and practical – will make the Festival very special.

“In addition I am very pleased that Southwell’s distinguished community of visual artists are choosing to hold their biennial Open Studios event during the weekend – giving the programme an exciting additional dimension.

“As well as bringing the best young professional performers to Southwell we have been very keen to provide a platform for local musicians, and particularly young performers – both in our main programme and also in the small programme of Fringe events around the town.

“We have also devised a number of schemes to enable young people to enjoy the programme at affordable prices.

“We have packed a lot into the four days of the Festival and believe the event offers exceptional value of money: there are 17 events across the weekend and it would be possible to attend them all for less than £100. That’s a bargain!

“Southwell is the perfect place for a Festival.  We hope people find something to enjoy in our programme and will come, look and listen.”

Introducing the Festival

Marcus Farnsworth, the Festival’s Artistic Director explains his vision for the 2014 Southwell Music Festival in this short film. To view, click here.

This footage was taken at our London Launch concert, which was given at the home of Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis. We are most grateful to them for their generous support.



Join the Friends Scheme

We continue to be encouraged by the interest and support which the Festival idea is receiving – so many offers of help and expertise from many different areas.

Festivals depend on the support of their friends and so we have devised our own Friends scheme to channel that enthusiasm.  We are delighted to publish full details of the Friends of the Southwell Music Festival and we hope many of our readers will wish to join.

Our aim has been to create a scheme which gives people a range of valuable and attractive benefits at appropriate prices.

There are three principal categories of membership – Gold, Silver and Bronze – each of which provides advance booking opportunities and a chance to meet the artists at an exclusive Friends Reception.  In addition two of the categories provide a generous discount on ticket prices.

In keeping with our intention to encourage young audiences we have also created a Youth Membership category for people up to the age of 21 – providing access to rehearsals and free tickets on the door, subject to availability.

The names of all Friends will be published in the Festival programme book and all friends will receive an exclusive Friends newsletter twice a year.  Full details of the scheme and an application form are available by clicking here.

Southwell Music Festival on BBC Radio 3

Last night the Southwell Music Festival was featured on BBC Radio 3’s popular drive-time show “In Tune”. The programme included an interview and live music with Festival directors Marcus Farnsworth and Jamie Campbell and pianist James Baillieu. You can hear the interview via the BBC iPlayer for the next seven days. Click here to listen again. The Festival interview begins 1 hour and 24 minutes into the programme and last approximately 30 minutes.

London Launch Concert

This special launch concert will be held on the evening of Tuesday 28th January 2014 at the home of the leading patrons of the arts Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis.

The concert programme will include chamber music performed by an ensemble of top young instrumentalists led by the Festival’s Associate Artistic Director – the outstanding violinist Jamie Campbell.  The group comprises Ruth Gibson (viola), Nathaniel Boyd (cello) and James Baillieu (piano): all are artists due to take part in the inaugural festival in August 2014.

Their programme will include Beethoven’s String Trio in C minor and the Brahms Violin Sonata no. 2 in A major. In addition, festival director Marcus Farnsworth will perform a range of classical and contemporary songs.

We are most grateful to Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis for generously making their elegant home available for this special concert.  The soirée will be a fitting metropolitan sequel to the highly successful launch event in Southwell Minster in October which was attended by more than 170 people.

In addition to the splendid surroundings the occasion will be made even more special by the presence of the Festival’s Founder Patron – the distinguished British soprano Dame Felicity Lott.

Tickets including wine and canapés are £25.  The evening starts at 7.00 for 7.30 and will be over by 9.45pm.  It is expected that there will be a high demand for this event.

If you are interested in attending please see the formal invitation card here where you will find booking details.

British Arts Festivals Association

Southwell Music Festival is now a registered member of the British Arts Festivals Association. Read more about the Association here.


Sinfini Music Feature

The online classical music journal Sinfini Music have just published an interview with our Artistic Director. Read the article here.



Festival Launch Event – Update

A big thank you to everyone who attended our launch event in Southwell Minster on Monday 7th October. The event was a great success – a big turn out, and a lot of enthusiasm from everyone! We look forward to responding to the many ideas and offers of support that were put forward. There were so many that it will take us a while to process them all, so please bear with us whilst we do this.

We are thrilled that so many people want to be a part of this exciting venture right from the beginning. Your support is crucial to the success of the project – thank you. Here’s to the future!

Website Launched

Welcome to our new website, the home of Southwell Music Festival. All the latest festival information can be found here. To receive our E-Newsletter, sign up at the bottom of the page. Enjoy your visit!

Festival Patrons

SMF is thrilled to have the backing of two of the UK’s most admired classical artists – Dame Felicity Lott and Harry Christophers CBE. Read more about our patrons in the People section.