A Feast of Festivals

June 27, 2017

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The Hat Fair is imminent and so, therefore, is a Feast of Festivals at Winchester Cathedral.

Would you believe that there are no fewer than five festivals based at the Cathedral in the next four weeks, and those will be interspersed with events around the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen and her burial in the north nave aisle of the church.


Full details are on this site but here are some headlines about what to expect.

Hat Fair runs over the weekend of 30 June and 2 July, with the first two days based in the city. As ever, intriguingly entitled acts such as Claudio Mutazzi (Street Coffee), Flit Flap Fly, The Great Dave, Hopscotch and How I Hacked My Way Into Space will adorn the Cathedral Close for the two days they are there. More information is at www.hatfair.co.uk.

Starting the following weekend, Winchester Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary brings nine days of music, talks, drama and visual arts to the city in a programme that includes homages to Rachmaninoff, Queen Victoria, Shakespeare and Jane Austen. The festival runs from 7 – 15 July and details are at http://winchesterfestival.co.uk/

The weekend of 15 and 16 July are particularly significant to the Cathedral’s religious year. St Swithun is possibly the most famous of the Cathedral’s Patrons. His Saints’ Day is 15 July and, as well as looking out of the window for rain, it is the Friends’ Festival, which celebrates the extraordinary contribution that the Friends’ 3500 members make to the life of the Cathedral financially and in so many other ways. Their Festival Service is at 4.30pm and all are welcome.

The next day is the closest thing that the Cathedral has to a dedication festival, Foundation Sunday, when the community gathers with representatives of the Diocese at 10.00am and, led by the Diocesan Bishop, makes commitments to maintain the its ministry for the current year. Again, all are welcome.

Every three years the choirs and communities from Chichester and Salisbury Cathedrals join those of Winchester for the annual Southern Cathedrals Festival, which travels around the three churches in turn. This year is Winchester’s turn between 19 and 22 July and promises yet again to be a colourful and inspirational celebration of what Cathedrals have to offer to service-goers and visitors alike. Details are from www.southerncathedralsfestival.org.uk

No information about the next few weeks can go without mentioning Jane Austen. There have been and will be events throughout the region, many of which can be found at www.janeausten200.co.uk. The Cathedral’s contribution is two ongoing exhibitions, The Jane Austen Story and Inspired by the Word, a Commemorative Service at 5.30pm on the actual anniversary (18 July). One thing that no one else can do, though, and it takes place on the morning of the 8.30am on the 24th when it would have taken place exactly 200 years before, is re-enact the Funeral Procession which will be followed from her final home on College Street to her final resting place in the Cathedral, led by specialist guides. Spaces are limited and tickets are from www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk, where more Jane Austen information can be found.

All in all a busy and varied time for the Cathedral, but one which has much to offer.


Simon Barwood
Media & Communications Officer
Telephone: 01962 857 217 / 07968 549 628