Welcome to the Gower Festival

We look forward to welcoming you to great concerts in a wonderful environment.

Sadly, we have no alternative but to cancel this year’s Festival. This is due to many reasons including safety of performers and audience alike.
We are pleased and happy to announce that our wonderful artists all expressed the desire to be part of the 2022 Festival. In addition we will welcome back, as ‘artists in residence’, the brilliant London Conchord Ensemble.
Live music is returning to Gower and we’ll keep you informed!

Gordon Back
Artistic Director
Image of Gordon Back Artistc Director

gordon back

Artistic Director

Most of the outstanding artists originally booked for the 2020 Festival will be coming to perform for us in July 2021, promising a Festival as good and varied as ever. So that social distancing rules don’t limit audience numbers too much, the majority of the concerts will be given twice, once in mid-afternoon and again at the usual evening time. For the same reason we have to exclude the smaller Churches which would have a very limited seating capacity. For more about the performers and their music, please click on the images below. Details of times and venues will be confirmed in the New Year as will ticketing arrangements.

2021 Festival
CANCELLED

Please see statement below

“It is a privilege for me, as President, to be able to welcome you to the Gower Festival, my ‘local’ festival, having been raised on the beautiful Gower Peninsula. There is an exciting programme for you to enjoy, with concerts in the historic churches of Gower.”

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE
President
Image of Sir Karl Jenkins, President

Sir Karl Jenkins CBE

President

“The Gower Festival represents the best of the British summer festival tradition, great music for friendly and appreciative audiences in the most beautiful surroundings. I always look forward to returning with much anticipation.”

Llŷr Williams
Patron
Image of Llyr Williams, Patron

Llŷr Williams

Patron

“Performing at the Gower Festival on many occasions has always been a special experience for me. I am therefore thrilled to be invited to be a Patron of this outstanding Festival.”

Catrin Finch
Patron
Image of Catrin Finch, Patron

Catrin Finch

Patron

2021 programme

Conditional on whatever restrictions may be in place in July.

An evening of Gower-influenced poetry and jazz, featuring star actors Melanie Walters and Bob Pugh with music by popular jazz pianist Geoff Eales.

KING ARTHUR HOTEL, REYNOLDSTON SA3 1AD
Wednesday 7 July
Poetry and Jazz card image of Melanie Walters, Bob Pugh and Geoff Eales.

Poetry and Jazz


Wednesday 7 July

A song recital by leading Welsh bass-baritone Neal Davies and pianist Sholto Kynoch, director of the Oxford Lieder Festival, promises to be a highlight of this year’s festival. Their programme includes a song-cycle by Schumann and a group of Welsh folk songs.

ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH, OYSTERMOUTH SA3 4BZ
Thursday 8 July
Neal Davies and Sholto Kynoch side by side.

Neal Davies
and Sholto Kynoch

Thursday 8 July

A concert in memory of Brian Clarke, valued member of the Festival Committee and friend to many. It will include music which particularly appealed to Brian, featuring among others oboist John Anderson, cellist Tom Carroll, soprano Ros Evans, composer Sir Karl Jenkins and Côr Ysgol Gyfyn Gŵyr.

CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST,
GOWERTON SA4 3EA
Friday 9 July
A selection of artist images.

Gordon Back and friends

Friday 9 July

A great favourite with Gower audiences, Pavel Kolesnikov is admired for the sensitivity of his playing and the originality of his choice of music. His latest CD, of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, has been widely praised in the press.

“The young British-based Russian makes this much-recorded music dance and sing. A voyage of rediscovery.”  (The Sunday Times)

ST PETER’S CHURCH, NEWTON SA3 4RB
Saturday 10 July
Pavel Kolesnikov image

Pavel Kolesnikov


Saturday 10 July

Following the success of his concerts at the 2018 Festival, everyone will look forward to hearing Andrey Lebedev again in 2021, playing music with a Spanish theme.

ST ILLTYD’S CHURCH, ILSTON SA2 7LD
Monday 12 July
Andrey Lebedev image

Andrey Lebedev


Monday 12 July

The dynamic Sitkovetsky Trio - Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin), Isang Enders (cello) and Wu Qian (piano) – include in their programme Beethoven’s serene ‘Archduke’ Trio, Op. 97, his last and greatest work in this form.

ST PAUL’S CHURCH, SKETTY
SA2 9AR
Tuesday 13 July
Sitkovetsky Trio image

Sitkovetsky Trio


Tuesday 13 July

A lecture recital on Bach’s life and music, given by inspirational cellist and conductor
David Watkin.
An award-winner for his Bach recordings, David Watkin’s music-making combines ‘huge commitment’ with naturalness and spontaneity, as if he had ‘just picked up his cello to play for pleasure’.

ST CENYDD’S CHURCH, LLANGENNITH SA3 1HU
Wednesday 14 July
Martin James Bartlett

lecture recital on the music of J S Bach

Wednesday 14 July

One of our brightest rising stars and recent first prize winner of the Virtu(al)oso Global Piano Competition for Artist Relief, Martin James Bartlett offers an intriguing programme of piano music associated with the romantic themes of love and death.

ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH, OYSTERMOUTH SA3 4BZ
Thursday 15 July

Martin James Bartlett

Thursday 15 July

A rare opportunity to hear Sir Arthur Bliss’s lyrical Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, preceded by Beethoven’s dramatic String Quartet in C minor, Op. 18/4.  
The acclaimed Elias Quartet are joined by Robert Plane, principal clarinet of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

ST RHIDIAN & ST ILLTYD’S CHURCH,
LLANRHIDIAN SA3 1ER
Friday 16 July
Robert Plane image

Elias Quartet and Robert Plane

Friday 16 July

Benefits of becoming a Friend
Advance booking for concerts, regular Festival email updates, acknowledgement in the Festival programme, invitation to any masterclasses held during the Festival an opportunities to help with the running of Festival events and to participate at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

To join please see below.

CHURCH OF
ST MARY THE VIRGIN,
RHOSSILI SA3 1PL
Gower Festival Friends
Image inviting people to become a Festival Friend

friends of the Gower Festival

The Elias Quartet perform two gems of the string quartet repertoire: Haydn’s Quartet in G, Op. 33/5, a work both tuneful and witty, and Mendelssohn’s passionate Quartet in A minor, Op. 13, with its echoes of the composer’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture.

CHURCH OF
ST MARY THE VIRGIN,
RHOSSILI SA3 1PL
Saturday 17 July
Elias Quartet image

Elias Quartet

Saturday 17 July

Information to follow

CHURCH OF
ST MARY THE VIRGIN,
RHOSSILI SA3 1PL
Gower Festival 2021

ticketing arrangements to be confirmed

STATEMENT

It is with deep regret that we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s Gower Festival.

The safety of our Festival-goers, artists, partners and the wider community, together with continued uncertainty relating to future restrictions on public activities, have combined to make this decision inevitable.

A big thank you is due to our sponsors and supporters, and to all who have contributed in preparing for the Festival.

We continue to wish you and your families well in these difficult and trying times.

We have started to plan Gower Festival 2022, which will take place 4th to 16th July.

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 2019 FESTIVAL

The London Conchord Ensemble playing with two Glenys Cour paintings displayed on easels behind them. The larger monochrome picture, also from the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery collection, is by Catrin Webster.

London Conchord Ensemble
GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY, SWANSEA SA1 5DZ

Wednesday 3 July 6.45pm
Flautist Daniel Pailthorpe with Daniel Rowland, Simone van der Giessen and Thomas Carroll playing Mozart’s flute Quartet in C.

London Conchord Ensemble
GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY, SWANSEA SA1 5DZ

Wednesday 3 July 6.45pm
Oboist Emily Pailthorpe with string-players Daniel Rowland, Benjamin Roskams, Simone van der Giessen and Thomas Carroll playing Mozart’s rarely heard Quintet for Oboe and Strings in C minor.

London Conchord Ensemble
GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY, SWANSEA SA1 5DZ

Wednesday 3 July 6.45pm
Gower-born Thomas Carroll, cellist of the London Conchord Ensemble. 

London Conchord Ensemble
GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY, SWANSEA
SA1 5DZ

Wednesday 3 July 6.45pm
Well-known artist Glenys Cour with Sir Karl and Lady Jenkins along with our Artistic Director Gordon Back looking forward to the concert honouring her ninety-fifth birthday. 

London Conchord Ensemble
GLYNN VIVIAN ART GALLERY, SWANSEA SA1 5DZ

Wednesday 3 July 6.45pm
Writer Cathy Ace and her audience enjoying an indulgent cream tea in Rhossili, where her latest novel is set.

Cathy Ace
WORM’S HEAD HOTEL, RHOSSILI SA3 1PP

Friday 5 July 3.00pm
Cathy Ace discussing her work as a crime writer against the dramatic backdrop of the Worm’s Head.

Cathy Ace
WORM’S HEAD HOTEL, RHOSSILI SA3 1PP

Friday 5 July 3.00pm
The author with The Wrong Boy at its fictional location. 

Cathy Ace
WORM’S HEAD HOTEL, RHOSSILI SA3 1PP

Friday 5 July 3.00pm
A Gower Festival audience, outside St Peter’s Church, Newton, enjoying convivial company (and possibly a drink) during the interval.

Llŷr Williams
ST PETER’S CHURCH, NEWTON SA3 4RB

Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
Llŷr Willams introducing the music he is about to play, in this case Poulenc’s Les Soirées de Nazelles, a sequence of musical portraits of the composer’s friends. 

Llŷr Williams
ST PETER’S CHURCH, NEWTON SA3 4RB

Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
Llŷr Willams playing Liszt’s Ballade No 2 in B minor. 

Llŷr Williams
ST PETER’S CHURCH, NEWTON SA3 4RB

Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
A wonderful setting for some wonderful music. 

Llŷr Williams
ST PETER’S CHURCH, NEWTON SA3 4RB

Saturday 6 July 7.30pm
Live Music Now duo Jessica Robinson and Llywelyn Ifan Jones taking us on a journey through Welsh Art Song.

Live Music Now
SILOAM BAPTIST CHURCH, KILLAY SA2 7AL

Monday 8 July 2.30pm
Combining fine acoustics with an intimate atmosphere, the church of St Rhidian & St Illtyd’s at Llanrhidian has long been a favourite venue for string quartet concerts. Here the Carducci Quartet are in afternoon rehearsal.

Carducci Quartet
ST RHIDIAN & ST ILLTYD’S CHURCH, LLANRHIDIAN
SA3 1ER

THursday 11 July 7.30pm
Members of the Anglo-Irish Carducci Quartet: violinists Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming, viola-player Eoin Schmidt-Martin and cellist Emma Denton.

Carducci Quartet
ST RHIDIAN & ST ILLTYD’S CHURCH, LLANRHIDIAN 
SA3 1ER

THursday 11 July 7.30pm
Sixty years after its post-war reopening, the civic church of St Mary in Swansea makes an impressive setting for the final concert of the2019 Gower Festival. Côr Caerdydd and the Chamber Orchestra of Wales are conducted by Sir Karl Jenkins.

Sir Karl Jenkins
Seventy-fifth Birthday Gala
ST MARY’S CHURCH, SWANSEA SA1 3LP

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
Sir Karl Jenkins making his St Mary’s Church conducting debut. 

Sir Karl Jenkins
Seventy-fifth Birthday Gala
ST MARY’S CHURCH, SWANSEA SA1 3LP

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
Mezzo-soprano Olivia Gomez singing the Pie Jesu from Sir Karl Jenkins’ Requiem, with members of Côr Caerdydd.

Sir Karl Jenkins
Seventy-fifth Birthday Gala
ST MARY’S CHURCH, SWANSEA SA1 3LP

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
A hug for Catrin Finch from Sir Karl Jenkins after her performance of Tros y Garreg (Crossing the Stone) from his Harp Concerto which was written in 2002 at the behest of HRH the Prince of Wales and composed for Catrin, at that time the Royal Harpist.

Sir Karl Jenkins
Seventy-fifth Birthday Gala
ST MARY’S CHURCH, SWANSEA SA1 3LP

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
Members of Côr Caerdydd performing The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, the most widely played of all Sir Karl Jenkins’ works.

Sir Karl Jenkins
Seventy-fifth Birthday Gala
ST MARY’S CHURCH, SWANSEA SA1 3LP

Saturday 13 July 7.30pm
Photographs courtesy of: Huw Richards and Mike Wilson (Cathy Ace Event)

PRE-FESTIVAL CHURCH TOUR 2021

Sunday 28 June

A feature of the Gower Festival is that we take advantage of the superb acoustics of the ancient and interesting Churches of Gower, matching the music with individual Churches.

This year we offer a pre-Festival guided tour of three Gower churches, each with its distinctive history and features: St Mary’s, Pennard, St Nicholas’, Nicholaston and St Cattwg’s, Port Eynon.

After cars are parked at St Mary’s Church, Pennard, we meet inside the church at 2pm for the first of our talks. We then proceed by coach to St Nicholas’ Church, Nicholaston, especially rich in its interior decoration. The tour will end in St Cattwg’s Church, Port Eynon where we shall enjoy a cream tea. The coach will return to Pennard by 6pm.

Price: £15 per person.

To reserve your place, please download the form below and post it, with a cheque payable to Gower Festival Society, to Valerie Beynon, Myrtle Cottage, Reynoldston, Swansea SA3 1AD.

Enquiries may be made to Valerie Beynon, by telephone on 01792 391025 or by Email at info@gowerfestival.org

St Mary’s Church, Pennard
St Mary's Church, Pennard
St Nicholas’ Church, Nicholaston
St Nicholas’ Church, Nicholaston
St Cattwg’s Church, Port Eynon
St Cattwg’s Church, Port Eynon

latest news

gower festival venues 2022

Venues to be confirmed.
Map of Gower festival venues

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The Story of the Gower Festival

The Gower Festival has its roots in the long, hot summer of 1976 when Jonathan Beecher, an Oxford cellist, brought a student orchestra and a handful of professional soloists to perform an astonishing series of thirty-one concerts in Gower churches during the last two weeks of August. So many events packed into a fortnight may have been over-ambitious. But the idea of holding a music festival in Gower churches was such a good one that it led to the formation of the Gower Festival Society and in due course to the appointment of John Fussell MBE, Swansea's Director of Music and City Organist, as Artistic Director of the enterprise. More than anyone else, it was John who established the high standards of musical performance and well-chosen repertoire which have characterised the Gower Festival ever since.

Friends of the Gower Festival

We have some wonderful concerts arranged for the 2021 Gower Festival.
Festival Friends have priority booking.

Benefits of becoming a Friend

  • ➢ Advance booking for concerts. This benefit is much appreciated by Friends as many concerts, particularly at smaller venues, sell out quickly.
  • ➢ Regular Festival email updates.
  • ➢ Acknowledgement in the Festival programme.
  • ➢ Invitation to any masterclasses held during the Festival.
  • ➢ Opportunities to help with the running of Festival events and to participate at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

Annual Membership costs: £15 per household.
You can join in one of four ways:

Gower Festival Friends 100 Club

Don’t miss your chance to support the Gower Festival Society and win cash prizes for yourself!
There are three prize draws per year - July, November and March.

  • ➢ 1st Prize per draw £100
  • ➢ 2nd Prize of £50
  • ➢ 3rd Prizes of £25 (the number of 3rd prizes is dependent on the number of tickets sold per year).
    Last year the 100 Club raised over £600 for the Gower Festival - a significant contribution towards the cost of a concert.

The cost of a share is only £12 per year - that’s just £1 per month. You may take out more than one share if you wish.
You can join in one of three ways:

  • ♦ Contact Mrs Anne Pope, 10 Vowley View, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire SN4 8HT
  • ♦ Email: friends@gowerfestival.org
  • ♦ Pick up an application form at any festival venue.