Statement from Senior Management Board of Cheltenham Festivals

In response to the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the decision to make the Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2021 a digital-only Festival running over the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May. Additionally, we hope to bring live Jazz music to the heart of Cheltenham in July in line with whatever government restrictions may be in place at that time. We will announce details of the Jazz Festival line-up and how it can be viewed in mid-March.


In June, in place of our Science Festival interactive zones – the Discover Zone, Cyber Zone and MakerShack – we will build an enhanced Free Stage for demonstrations, discoveries, debates and more. We will offer some ticketed events for a physical audience, supported by a digital focused programme of activity.


Our current plans are to go ahead physically with our Music Festival in July and Literature Festival in October and we will be monitoring the situation closely.


As part of our ongoing commitment to bring the arts and science to everybody everywhere, we are aiming to reach our largest audiences to date through our online platforms. This digital transformation will bring quality programming and some of the Festivals magic to homes everywhere. At least 40% of our audience on the #CheltLitFest Player last year were brand new to the Literature Festival, which demonstrates the appetite for the Festivals digitally and provides us with a benchmark to build on in 2021 across all four Festivals and our year-round community and education programme. It has never been more important to support the arts and science and therefore we continue to be immensely grateful to our supporters for their help in safeguarding the future of Cheltenham Festivals. We look forward to sharing this year with our audiences, both online and in person.

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