Messages for 2021 Festival

Paul Lewisxxxxxxx

It has been a joy to be connected with the Festival since 2003 and I am delighted that I will be in Chipping Campden to help celebrate its 20th anniversary, and to take part in three concerts, one solo recital, a duo recital with Mark Padmore, and a performance of Brahms 1st concerto with the CCFAO.

We are living through one of the most extraordinary periods in the history of the UK and one that has had a devastating effect on the arts. Whilst the full impact of Covid couldn’t have been predicted or averted, the self-inflicted disaster that is Brexit could have, and all the warnings that were dismissed as scare mongering, have turned out to be correct. The arts in this country will survive with the continued generous support of those who understand their importance, but in the UK’s deliberate severing of the arts community’s easy links with the EU, we have lost something precious beyond words.

Paul Lewis, Festival President

Julian Lloyd Webber

How wonderful to be able to celebrate the return of the Chipping Campden Festival! The Festival, and in particular its Director Charlie Bennett, rightly made national headlines last year by keeping faith with the artists whose concerts were unavoidably cancelled and paying their fees in any case – something that was only made possible by this Festival’s generous-spirited audience. It was a time of great hardship for many musicians and this unique act of kindness will not be forgotten.

On the music education front this has also been an extraordinary year. While I was pleased to serve on the panel which produced the government’s long-awaited Model Music Curriculum, which should certainly be helpful in re-introducing music to schools where there is currently very little, it was disappointing that the same government department (!) should also
announce a 50% cut in support for arts-based subjects at university level. More joined-up thinking please!

Meanwhile the Festival’s commitment to music education remains at the core of its mission. Sadly, we could not run the Youth Academy course this summer (hopefully this will be returning next year) but the main Festival Orchestra’s ‘side-by-side’ project – whereby professionals sit alongside students – will run as usual in the three big orchestral concerts. All the Academy members who missed out in 2020 have been invited back for this year’s festival so they will still be receiving this invaluable orchestral experience.

Despite the vicissitudes thrown its way, the Chipping Campden Festival remains in rude health – as the 2021 programme testifies. I am sure there will be an even greater sense of anticipation this year when Festival President Paul Lewis takes to the stage on September 6th.


Julian Lloyd Webber, Patron of Education