8th May Event Menu Announced!

8th May Event Menu Announced!

What is ‘natural’ wine, ‘biodynamic’ wine and ‘organic’ wine? How do they differ from each other? Why should you care? Join Caro Feely, organic and biodynamic winegrower and author for a talk followed by a wine pairing dinner with a menu created especially by Matthew Street, Executive Chef at Seasons Restaurant at The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne. The evening will be a unique celebration to celebrate the close of the Festival’s 20th Season – see the menu.

“Caro Feely is a force of nature! Her new book ‘Glass Half Full’ tells the story of her family’s struggle to live, love and make healthy, natural wine on their small vineyard in France. Caro draws the reader into her world with all of its challenges, triumphs and heartaches. Required reading for wine lovers everywhere.”

During the evening, the Terry Quinney Trio (Terry Quinney – saxophone and clarinet, Dan Baker – guitar and violin, Joe Limburn – double bass) will entertain with French Café Music, including music by, or popularised by Django Reinhardt, Sidney Bechet, Stephane Grapelli, Edith Piaf and others.

Further information and how to book



Devon Crab
Chive Crumpet, Cherry Tomato

Brut Rose, Chateau Feely, France

or (v) Chive Crumpet,
Cherry Tomato, Salsa, Feta, Toasted Pinenuts

Brut Rose, Chateau Feely, France

Poached Salmon
Prawn Dumpling, Baby Corn, Coconut Broth, Coriander

Générosité, Sémeillon, Chateau Feely, France

or (v) Goats Cheese Mousse
Beetroots, Orange, Multiseed Cracker

Générosité, Sémeillon, Chateau Feely, France

Duck Breast
Confit Fat Potato, Orange & Honey Glazed Carrots,
Pak Choi, Five Spice Sauce

La Source, Merlot, Chateau Feely, France     

 or (v) Vegetarian Wellington, Wild Mushrooms, Spinach
with a tomato & rosemary sauce 

La Source, Merlot, Chateau Feely, France  

Apricot ‘Bakewell’
Almonds, Vanilla Ice Cream

  Haut Garrigue, Chateau Feely, France      


 The cost is £75 per head to include all food and drink during the evening including Aperitifs & Canapes,

the talk by Caro Feely and live musical performance – limited places available. BOOK NOW



Gold Trophy for Chateau Feely

Gold Trophy for Chateau Feely

Chateau Feely has won a gold trophy in the first national wine tourism competition in France. The coveted awards organised by Terre de Vins lauréats first Wine Tourism Trophys were unveiled at an event held at the Ministry for Europe and International Affairs in Paris Friday 29 March 2019. A jury of eleven professionals assessed 350 entries to discern ten finalists and then a gold, silver and bronze trophy in each category

Chateau Feely was winner of the grand prize gold trophy for the category education and valorisation of ecological practices and finalist in a second category: accommodation at the vineyard. The news comes in an exciting week where Chateau Feely release their 2019 wines and also were designated a winner in the top ten challenge for wine tourism in Bergerac Duras.



We send huge congratulations to Caro and Sean Feely. We look forward to welcoming Caro to Sherborne for a special closing event at this year’s Festival on 8th May, with ‘Grape Expectations’ – a wine tasting dinner with musical entertainment at The Eastbury Hotel. Don’t miss out on the chance to try award-winning, limited edition wines matched alongside a magnificent tasting menu created by Seasons Restaurant Head, Chef Matt Street.

Book now


Festival Prints on sale

Festival Prints on sale

Buy Festival Art

2018 saw a new first for the Festival, with the appointment of James Budden as our Artist in Residence. James, who lives in Sherborne, will be painting at key events again this season – do look out for him and say hello.  Prints of his unique work are now available to buy online.

Opera Workshop 2019

Opera Workshop 2019

Each year, as part of the Sherborne Abbey Festival, we hold a Saturday morning workshop, primarily, but not exclusively, aimed at young people, where participants spend the morning working with professional musicians and then joining them in performance.

This year, we invite you to join three professional opera singers from Dorset Opera Festival for an inspiring and fun workshop for singers of all ages and abilities. The professionals, themselves experienced vocal animateurs, will put the workshop participants through their paces with a variety of styles and genres, incorporating technique, rhythm, movement and staging exercises.

The participants will also learn the famous ‘Drinking Song’ from La Traviata and perform it alongside the professionals at a free, outdoor-staged show:

La Traviata – A Pocket Performance at Waitrose at 3pm.

  • The workshop is open to anyone over the age of eight years
  • It is not necessary to be able to read music
  • No costumes are required

WORKSHOP VENUE: Sherborne Girls new Arts Centre

Find out more:


2019 Programme Launched

2019 Programme Launched


Sherborne Abbey Festival’s 20th Season stars revealed

We are delighted to share preview news of award-winning Sherborne Abbey Festival’s celebratory 20th Season, taking place this year from 3rd-7th May at venues including Sherborne Abbey, Castleton Church, Cheap Street Church, Sherborne BSR, Digby Memorial Hall, West End Hall and Sherborne Girls NEW Concert Hall.

A new look, new dates & new initiatives

You might have noticed our wonderful new logo? We have been inspired by the famous vaulted ceiling of Sherborne Abbey to launch a contemporary new look for the Festival in this very special anniversary year.

We have also introduced two new diary dates either side of the Festival: A pre-Festival Opera Dinner, in association with Dorset Opera Festival, at The Plume of Feathers on 2nd May, and a closing event on 8th May at The Eastbury Hotel – with a unique opportunity to meet Caro Feely, biodynamic and organic wine grower from France, and enjoy a delicious wine pairing dinner with French café-style musical entertainment.

As part of our continued outreach to the community, we are pleased to announce two new initiatives, especially for children, taking place on Monday 6th May. A relaxed screening of Fantasia, Disney’s 1940 animation set to classical music, at the Digby Memorial Hall with Moviola, and a Guitar Workshop for ‘Kids That Rock’ at The West End Hall in Littlefield promises bank holiday fun for young people.

A world-class programme of concerts

This year we welcome back globally-acclaimed vocal ensemble, TENEBRAE, as well as world-class violinist NICOLA BENEDETTI CBE. For the first time at Sherborne Abbey there is a chance to enjoy ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG and his band in what promises to be quite a night and, as a complete contrast, CLAIRE MARTIN OBE and ‘Godfather of Swing’ RAY GELATO will entertain in their own inimitable style at the Big School Room. A much anticipated highlight is the performance by SHERBORNE FESTIVAL CHORUS, a non-auditioning community-based choir of 140 people, with Mendelssohn’s Elijah, led by bass David Soar as Elijah. Find out more

These stellar performers are joined by other hugely talented musicians and singers throughout the Festival – including, to name but a few, organist James O’Donnell (Director of Music at Westminster Abbey), baritone Benjamin Hewat-Craw and pianist Varvara Tarasova. We also welcome a group from Dorset Opera Festival to run our popular Saturday morning workshop and then perform a Festival first with an outdoor ‘Pocket Performance’ of La Traviata, in association with Waitrose.

Liturgical elements of the Festival, always a very important part of the event, include a new anthem, commissioned especially for our anniversary from locally-born composer David Bednall, which will be played by David for the first time at the Abbey’s Choral Evensong on Sunday 5th May. As always, local young musicians, bands and singers have a major role with jazz, close harmony and barbershop, madrigal, choral and chamber ensembles from Sherborne School, Sherborne Girls, Leweston and The Gryphon School.

See below a preview and QUICK GUIDE to what’s on. For more information – or for details on advertising opportunities in the Festival souvenir brochure – please contact:

Liz Murray, Festival Press Officer

e: liz@sherborneabbeyfestival.org Tel: 07795 298781

Sherborne Girls Arts Centre

Sherborne Girls Arts Centre

We’re delighted that Sherborne Abbey Festival has included the NEW Concert Hall, part of the Arts Centre at Sherborne Girls, in its performance venues for 2019.

The new music school with a recital hall, a conversion of the existing music department for use by drama; the provision of a generous, central foyer area to link music, drama and art will provide a rendezvous space at the heart of the school.


New Exhibition | 10-16 August

New Exhibition | 10-16 August

Diary date | Friday 10th – Thursday 16th August


A revealing new exhibition of Sherborne Abbey by the artist James Budden

Not just a beloved landmark but a bustling building full of life, love and worship; Sherborne Abbey sets the scene for a variety of exciting events throughout the year – including of course the award-winning Sherborne Abbey Festival.

From fanfares to film sets, this vaulted ceiling has seen it all. Now various aspects of the Abbey building, with  the events and people connected to it, are to be revealed and celebrated in a stunning new collection of works by the artist James Budden, who lives and works close by.

This free-entry exhibition, which takes place in the South Choir Aisle, will be set as a three-part series celebrating the music, the people and the architecture of this living landmark.

Many of the works included in this exhibition were drawn and painted during live performances at the 2018 Sherborne Abbey Festival where James was artist-in-residence.  Starting with a blank canvas, James would paint from the moment the music started; the final brush stroke made as the last note was played. This created a range of works as lively and diverse as the music they were painted to.

Visitors can expect innovative new views of the building and the people who work there, along with a peek into the creative process through accompanying photographs documenting the artist’s journey by photographer Tara Bradford.

WHEN | Friday 10th August – Thursday 16th August : *10am – 5pm (11am – 5pm on Sunday)

*Unless a memorial or other service is taking place

WHERE | South Choir Aisle, Sherborne Abbey

Exclusive Preview of Works | Thursday 9th August 6pm – 8pm

10% of sales from the exhibition will be donated to Sherborne Food Bank

For more information and images, or to arrange an interview with the artist, please contact Ruth Graves either by email ruth.graves101@gmail.com or phone 07546 312614

Another successful Festival closes

Another successful Festival closes

Blue skies and music in the air as Sherborne celebrates another successful Festival

The nineteenth annual award-winning Sherborne Abbey Festival took place on a sunny May bank holiday weekend as thousands flocked to twenty five different concerts in the town, around seventy percent of which were free-entry.

A hugely varied programme, with the London Adventist Chorale and director Ken Burton bringing Gospel singing to the Abbey on the opening night (with an afternoon workshop at Sherborne Abbey Primary School beforehand) while, in contrast, Peter Phillips and the Tallis Scholars closed the Festival in a magnificent fashion with Rachmaninov’s Vespers.  For a complete change of tempo, audiences experienced a real treat when the Festival swung into Sinatra mode with Matt Ford, who sings regularly with the John Wilson Orchestra in London, backed by the hugely talented Tippett Quartet and the Matt Skelton Quintet.

The Festival Chorus and Sherborne Classical Players performed to a packed capacity Abbey for Mozart’s Requiem starring soprano Rebecca Outram, messo-soprano Louise Innes, tenor Rhys James Batt and baritone Craig Bissex while Thomas Hull directed Adrian Brendel and Ruth Rogers in the hugely popular Bruch’s Violin Concerto and Schumann’s beautiful Cello Concerto.

As usual, the Festival’s world-class performances are interspersed with concerts given by exceptionally talented local musicians and students, ranging from early music, madrigal and chamber music to jazz and barbershop. Not forgetting the popular Saturday morning workshop and performance which this year featured Dorset dance tunes and folk.

For the first time the Festival introduced an Artist in Residence – James Budden – whose work was created during several of the live performances and will be available in print after the event.

This year the event has been awarded Gold in the Dorset Tourism Awards and joint Event/Festival of the Year, followed by a Silver Award in the same category for the whole of the South West region.  Judges thought the Festival was ‘Just Beautiful’ and its success is a fitting tribute to a dedicated team of volunteers who work so hard to make it happen year on year.

As has always been the case, proceeds from the Festival are reinvested in projects that enhance the musical life of Sherborne Abbey and the town. Together with continued financial support for the Abbey Choir and the upkeep of the organ, Festival funds this year have provided grants to local young musicians in order to help them to further their musical careers.

See the Festival Gallery HERE

The twentieth annual Festival takes place in 2019 from 3-7 May


Diary dates for Plush Festival

Diary dates for Plush Festival

Following another hugely successful Sherborne Abbey Festival, we turn our attention to more upcoming local events to get excited about.

Our neighbours at Plush Festival always offer an inspiring programme of music at the intimate venue of St Johns, Plush. Founded by cellist Adrian Brendel 22 years ago (Adrian, who performed for us so wonderfully last weekend), the 2018 festival is guest-curated by pianist Tim Horton.

Credit: © CLIVE BARDA/ ArenaPAL;

Season highlights include talented vocal group Fieri Consort singing Renaissance motets on Friday 3 August. Described by John Rutter as “some of the best young singers in Britain today”, their a cappella Gesualdo will be interweaved with contemporary piano music performed by Tim.

Tim has invited Italian virtuoso pianist Filippo Gorini – a protegé of Alfred Brendel described as “fearless” and “breathtaking” – to perform in two daytime concerts on Saturday 4 August. After solo Schumann and Beethoven in the Lunchtime Concert, Filippo will come together with Tim for a dynamic rendition of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for Four Hands.

Sir András Schiff descends on Plush on Monday 6 August for Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book II. Sadly the concert has now sold out, but do consider making the journey to London to see him perform the same work at the BBC Proms on Wednesday 29 August. His performance of Book I was among the Guardian’s Top 10 Classical Music highlights of 2017. Tickets are available from this Saturday onwards: https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e92fbp.

From 14-15 September, Tim assembles a unique “Plush Ensemble” consisting of Tim Horton, Adrian Brendel, Bjørg Lewis, Ruth Gibson, Jim Clark, Rachel Roberts and Cerys Jones. They perform Beethoven, Brahms, Berg and beyond.

The next day (Sunday 16 September) four of these leading musicians give a day of free masterclasses to instrumentalists aged 11-18. Applications are open now: www.plushfestival.com/education. Students aged Under 21s get access to £5 tickets to all concerts that haven’t sold out.

To view the programme in full, please visit www.plushfestival.com/whats-on.

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