July in Lichfield can mean only one thing – Lichfield Festival!  And this year will be particularly special, as it’s the Festival’s milestone 40th anniversary. 

Since the first event in 1982, we’ve brought a parade of wonderful artists and musicians, as well as audiences national and local, to the beautiful cathedral city. 

It’s a chance to try something new, enjoy a picnic on the cathedral lawn, entertain the children, and generally soak up the festival vibe. 

There’s a nod to the ‘80s in several of this year’s events along with stunning headline acts and our trademark mix of music, drama, dance, comedy, literature and events for the whole family. 

And to round off this special year with a bang, the free Festival Fireworks display returns after a 10-year absence.  So, head to Beacon Park at 10pm on Saturday 16 July for the perfect Festival finale.

Fri 8 July, 8.30pm, The Hub at St Mary’s – Katie Arnstein: Sticky Door

Katie ArnsteinIt’s great to have Lichfield’s own multi-talented actor, writer and comedian Katie Arnstein back home for Sticky Door, the third instalment in her autobiographical trilogy It’s A Girl

The Guardian loved it – and her – at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, describing her as “an incredible performer who seems primed for greatness”. 

We hosted Part 2 (Sexy Lamp) at last year’s Festival and our audiences loved it. 

Comedy and songs woven into great storytelling from a warm and wonderful West Midlander!

Visit https://lichfieldfestival.org/event/sticky-door-katie-arnstein/ for more details.

Sat 9 July, 7.30pm, Lichfield Cathedral – Spem in Alium: 40 Voices/40 Years

A choir performs against a stunning backdropAs a 40th anniversary centrepiece it seemed appropriate to programme Thomas Tallis’s choral masterpiece Spem in Alium, written for 40 individual parts. 

We’ve invited Thomas Hyde (whose comedy overture Les at Leisure went down a storm at the 2018 Festival) to write a 40-voice piece to complement it, set to a specially written text by stellar author, Alexander McCall Smith. 

Alongside both of these is Vaughan Williams’s Mass in G minor, which gives us a chance to mark the composer’s 150th anniversary. 

Full details are available at https://lichfieldfestival.org/event/spem-in-alium-40-voices-40-years/

Sat 9 July, 8pm, The Hub at St Mary’s - Jonathan Gee Quartet

Jonathan Gee and his quartet at the ready

In this bespoke Festival show, pianist Jonathan Gee and his quartet imprint a jazz stamp on some of the great 1980s songs and music, from Prince to Pat Metheny, Sting to Spandau Ballet (whose frontman Tony Hadley, incidentally, opens this year’s Festival). 

Look out too for Chaka Khan, Kate Bush and a certain special 80s ‘classic’ by Joe Dolce… 

Gee is such an imaginative composer and has worked with many legendary performers, including Kylie Minogue, Midge Ure and Annie Lennox. 

His ‘Beatles Re-Imagined’ was one of the highlights of the 2021 Festival and he is joined by an ace team of jazz/pop solo musicians.

Buy tickets at https://lichfieldfestival.org/event/jonathan-gee-quartet-jazz/

Sun 10 July, from 12 noon, Beacon Park - Day of Dance

Dancer Rebecca Jayne performs in a bandstandThere’ll be lots to enjoy throughout our Day of Dance, part of Lichfield Dances, in association with Lichfield Fuse Festival.

Five dance experts will be giving inspiring workshops offering a fantastic chance to try your hand (or feet) at all sorts of dance styles from Indian, street dance and African to hip hop and tap. 

It’s free, and open to absolutely everyone regardless of age or ability, just turn up and have a go! 

For more information, head to https://lichfieldfestival.org/event/day-of-dance/

Sun 10 July, 1.30pm & 7.30pm, The Hub at St Mary’s – Charles Court Opera: Patience

The Charles Court Opera singers mid-performanceWho doesn’t love a Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera with their tongue-twisting lyrics, wonderful music and improbable plots – this one involves unsuitable love matches, a village milkmaid and a hoard of military suitors adding to the mayhem. 

Charles Court Opera have been coming to Lichfield Festival for many years and their productions are always cleverly-crafted and superbly performed.

Visit https://lichfieldfestival.org/event/charles-court-opera-patience/ for more details.

More festival highlights

Read 10 Reasons to Visit the Lichfield Festival: Part 2 for the rest of our round-up of this year's festival.

The 2022 Lichfield Festival runs from July 7th to 17th. Full details of this year's programme can be found at https://lichfieldfestival.org/

Thank you to the team from the festival for putting this blog together.


Lichfield Festival
Arts Festival
The Lord Chamberlain's Men perform Shakespeare's As You Like It at Lichfield Festival