The 2020 Festival has been cancelled

After an emergency meeting today about the current virus pandemic, the Festival Chairman and Trustees have issued the following statement.

It’s been the hardest possible decision, but in some ways the easiest. We had no choice: with the heaviest hearts we are cancelling this year’s Festival of Chichester.

You won’t be surprised. It has been an absolutely awful few weeks, and there is every indication it is going to get worse. The health and safety of everyone has to be our paramount consideration. It always has been. A festival this summer wouldn’t just be impossible; it would also be inappropriate.

2020 would have been our eighth Festival and we had a remarkable line-up for you – a wonderful programme that will now never see the light of day, and that is a tragedy. The wider picture in the world is utterly miserable at the moment, and of course, we absolutely must take the wider perspective, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still feel very sad indeed that 2020 will be the year Chichester doesn’t have a summer festival.

Fortunately, we are in a relatively sound position financially; we have always been careful and it seems we might well see the benefits of that. It means that we can look forward to the 2021 festival with a degree of confidence. We are going to make it happen. Rest assured of that.

But at the same time, bringing this year’s festival to this point has still incurred significant costs.

Therefore, if you are a supporter of Festival events, we would ask you if you would possibly consider a voluntary contribution to next year’s Festival, a donation to the bigger cause of ensuring our survival. We would be immeasurably grateful – and you could be helping us hugely bring you an even better Festival in happier times next year. If you wish, please send your contribution as a cheque made payable to Festival of Chichester, to our Treasurer, Nick Sutherland, at Holly House, Chestnut Avenue, Chichester, PO19 5QE.

Alternatively you can make a transfer to our account, Festival of Chichester, sort code 20-45-45, account number 23868052. Mark the payment with the reference “Donation”.

Obviously, our box office launch at the Novium on April 1 has now been cancelled.

Let’s all look after each other in the meantime; let’s all get each other through this; let’s fix the 2021 Festival of Chichester on our collective horizons as a ray of hope the other side of the tough, tough months we are all going to go through.

Stay safe and all our very best wishes

Phil Hewitt, festival chairman; Barry Smith, festival co-ordinator; Festival trustees and committee

The Festive Jazz Café 2018

A special Gala event in aid of the 2019 Festival of Chichester

Date: Thursday 6 December, 1930
Venue: St John’s Chapel, 5 St John’s St, Chichester PO19 1UR

With film/stage/TV actor Gareth Williams, Ted Hughes Award nominee writer David Swann and the fabulous Jazz Smugglers Band. Enjoy a delightful mix of seasonal readings, mellow jazz classics and complimentary mince pies in this historic, grade 1 listed chapel.

Gareth Williams is featured in Mike Leigh’s new film of Peterloo. As a singer, he had a number 1 smash hit with The Flying Pickets with Only You.

Tickets £12 (students £10) from the Novium/TIC, Tower Street, Chichester, 01243 775888 or via Chichester Box Office.


The Festive Jazz Cafe
Special Gala fundraiser in support of the Festival of Chichester 2017
St John’s Chapel, St John’s Street, Chichester, Thursday 8th December, 7.30pm.

The Festive Jazz Cafe features the much-loved Sussex based Jazz Smugglers Band with Adam Taylor on sax and Maria Ball on vocals. The evening is a delightful mix of seasonal words and mellow jazz sounds, with jazz classics from Gershwin, Cole Porter and many other favourites.

Readings are by film, TV and stage star Michael Jayston who played Tsar Nicholas in the Oscar winning film, Nicholas and Alexandra. His TV roles include Eastenders, Only Fools and Horses and Dr Who. On stage, he has appeared with many of the greats, including Laurence Olivier. Also appearing are actor Emily Rose Smith (lead in Chekhov in recent Festival) and BBC wildlife poet of the year, Hugh Dunkerley. Plus complimentary mince pies! All proceeds go to the 2017 Festival of Chichester.

Tickets: £12 (students £10) from Novium/TIC, Tower Street, 01243 775888.



17 June to 16 July 2017!

There’s a fantastic programme of events in the pipeline for next summer’s Festival, with classical concerts, rock, jazz, blues, folk and world music, plays, talks, poets, authors, cinema, walks and tours, exhibitions and much, much more.

The festival is now one of the biggest in the south, with a wonderful mix of star turns, big names, community organisations and those unexpected extras that go to make our summer arts festival such a rewarding experience. There’s something for everyone – and the festival website and brochure will carry full details from 1 April 2017.

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