Cheltenham Festivals is a registered charity that organises four festivals every year in the spa town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England: the Jazz, Science, Music and Literature. It also runs an education programme, with events linked to each festival. With the aim of involving the local community, such events range from family activity days to performances out and about in the local area.
To see past brochures visit: http://issuu.com/cheltenhamfestivals
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Cheltenham Jazz Festival was formed in 1996. It has a close relationship with BBC Radio 2. The dates for the 2014 Festival are 30 April - 5 May 2014. Taking place in hosted in a tented festival village in Cheltenham’s Montpellier Gardens, the Jazz Festival features a Big Top, Jazz Arena, Beyond the Band tent with jazz cinema, and a range of food and drink options, as well as a market area. The Jazz Festival hosts BBC R2’s Friday Night is Music Night every year. It attracts the biggest names in jazz and counts Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula, Gregory Porter, and Van Morrison among its biggest fans.
Jamie Cullum: “The great thing about Cheltenham Jazz Festival is that it brings together so many genres under the umbrella of jazz… I think it is one of the best Jazz Festivals in the world.”
Past acts have included headliner Emma Vanden with her band Vixen backing, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, John Scofield, Jamie Cullum, Gilles Peterson, Jools Holland, Charles Lloyd, Bennie Maupin, Bob Brookmeyer, Madeleine Peyroux, the Guillemots, Curtis Stigers, Kyle Eastwood, Koop and the BBC Big Band, The Cinematic Orchestra, Zoe Rahman, Eartha Kitt, Van Morrison, Maceo Parker, Gwyneth Herbert, Tim Berne and Mr Scruff.
Cheltenham Science Festival was formed in 2002 and hosts an international science-based talent competition, NESTA FameLab which attracts finalists from 25 countries around the world and hosts live semi- finals and a final at the Festival. The dates for the 2014 Festival are 3–8 June. The Science Festival is situated in the Town Hall and gardens, with a special tented science village built in Imperial Square. The Festival aims to programme challenging science events alongside accessible and light hearted events, including debates, live experiments and comedy nights. The Festival has many free activities for adults and children, including the Discover Zone in Town Hall which is full of free hands-on activities. The Science Festival has an excellent education programme, including a series of free Christmas lectures for local schools. Guests in previous years have included Robert Winston, Richard Dawkins, Richard Hammond, Tony Robinson, Jonathon Porritt, Kevin Conrad, Colin Pillinger and Adam Hart-Davis, Peter Higgs and James watson.
Professor Brian Cox: “Cheltenham is, without doubt, the premier science festival in the country because it is supported by pretty much everyone who cares about promoting science in Britain.”
Cheltenham Music Festival was formed in 1945, and is the oldest member of the Festival family in Cheltenham. Events range from free family workshops and young artists’ projects, through to concerts and the promotion of contemporary composers. The dates for the 2014 Festival are 2–13 July. The Festival is hosted in several venues across the county, including Cheltenham Town Hall, Pittville Pump Room, and stunning cathedrals, abbeys and churches. As well as music, the Festival also features film, dance, the visual arts and the spoken word. The 2014 Artist in Residence is acclaimed violinist Nicola Benedetti.
Artists in previous years include Marc-André Hamelin, Craig Ogden, Calefax, the Dante Quartet, Noam Greenberg, Ingrid Fliter, Danjulo Ishizaka, the Pavel Haas Quartet, Danjulo Ishizaka, Allan Clayton, Paul Lewis, Manchester Camerata, the Schubert Ensemble, Ailish Tynan, Gareth Hancock, Alekzandar Madzar, Sir Peter Maxwell-Davies, John Potter, Kathryn Tickell, James Gilchrist and Taraf de Haidouks. The director is Meurig Bowen
Nicola Benedetti: “Cheltenham has such incredible venues and it makes such a difference to perform somewhere with that kind of acoustic and history. I’m so excited to bring some different programmes to the Festival and to lead an exciting education project.” 
Cheltenham Literature Festival was formed in 1949 and is now established as one of the country's principal literary events. It is the longest-running literature festival in the world. The Festival is currently sponsored by The Times and The Sunday Times. The dates of the 2014 Festival are 3–12 October 2014. Taking place over ten days in Cheltenham’s Town Hall, Imperial Square and Montpellier Gardens, the Festival hosts a range of talks, workshops, debates, and other entertaining events, such as themed meals in its spectacular Spiegeltent. Most of the great names in modern literature have appeared at the festival at some time during its history. The Festival also attracts the biggest names in culture, politics and sport. The Festival annually welcomes The Booker Prize Finalists for a special Booker event.
The Festival's children and family programme Book It! offers a huge range of events for children and young adults. It also has Family Fun days with free activities at the weekends of the Festival.
James Naughtie said of the Festival: “The lovely thing about Cheltenham is that it’s a literary festival that works. You meet old friends and, more to the point, you meet new friends. You hear things that are interesting and intriguing and moving and humane and funny, and that’s what books are all about and its fantastic to celebrate that.”
Past guests have included Toni Morrison, Ian Rankin, Kate Adie, Patrick Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Simon Schama, David Starkey, Antony Sher, Michael Parkinson, Terry Jones, Tony Robinson, Sandi Toksvig, Dawn French, Simon Armitage, Clive James, Ruth Rendell, Alexander McCall Smith, Bruce Parry, Ray Mears, Frank Skinner, Janet Street-Porter, Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, John Barrowman, Russell T Davies, Dave Gorman, Charley Boorman, Alexei Sayle, Mark Thomas, JK Rowling, Kofi Annan, Salman Rushdie, AS Byatt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Steven Moffat, Jennifer Saunders, Ian Rankin.
Cheltenham Festivals is responsible for the four festivals, which include two of the country's oldest. The first Music Festival was held in 1945 followed by a Literature Festival in 1949. These were augmented by the first Jazz Festival in 1996, followed by the Science Festival in 2002.
There is a commitment to produce festivals with 'attitude', 'bite' and 'edge', creating programmes that give audiences the opportunity to discover and participate in new and interesting work.
The Festivals have an extensive education programme.
Previously linked with the Cheltenham Borough Council, in 2006 the four festivals set out independently as they collectively became Cheltenham Festivals. As a registered charity Cheltenham Festivals has its own marketing, education and development teams.
- Cheltenham Festivals official website
- Cheltenham Festivals Myspace Page
- Facebook page for the Cheltenham Festivals
- Guide to Cheltenham and its festivals
- Folk Festival Information
- Cheltenham Town Hall
- Pitville Pump Room Information
- The Everyman Theatre
- Listen again to celebrity interviews and see photos of the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2007
- Gloucestershire festivals guide on SoGlos.com