First names confirmed for Kenilworth Arts Festival line-up

Crowds enjoy the Fiesta in Abbey Fields at the Kenilworth Arts Festival.

Crowds enjoy the Fiesta in Abbey Fields at the Kenilworth Arts Festival.

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An international best-selling author, multi-award winning pianist and a host of critically acclaimed musicians and writers are among the first names confirmed to appear at this year’s Kenilworth Arts Festival.

Last year’s celebration of the creative arts attracted more than 5,000 people to headline events, workshops and Fiesta - a free, outdoor event hosted in Abbey Fields.

Kit de Waal, appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

Kit de Waal, appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

The week-long festival will run from September 17-23 with events staged at venues across the town.

Among the confirmed headline events for 2017 is a special literary discussion featuring two acclaimed writers - Kit de Waal, whose debut novel, My Name is Leon, was an international bestseller; and Sarah Moss, whose latest book has been shortlisted for the prestigious Wellcome Prize.

The event will be chaired by Alex Clark, a British literary journalist and editor who has written for The Guardian, The Observer and the Times Literary Supplement.

Musicians appearing at the festival will include the much-respected guitarist and singer-songwriter John Smith, fresh from a UK tour that featured sold-out shows and received enormous critical acclaim. He will play an intimate show in the Tudor Stables at Kenilworth Castle.

John Smith, appearing at the Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

John Smith, appearing at the Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

Multi-award winning pianist, Gwilym Simcock, will play a solo concert in the newly refurbished St. John’s church.

Also appearing is former music journalist and founder of the Big Dada record label, Will Ashon.

Ashon has written several novels and will be discussing his non-fiction debut Strange Labyrinths - a book about getting lost in Epping forest.

Tickets for all headline events this year will be capped at £12.

Gwilym Simcock, appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

Gwilym Simcock, appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

The festival’s chairperson Lewis Smith said this year’s headline acts demonstrate the organisation’s ambition to be the most innovative, distinctive festival in the region.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the calibre of the acts we have been able to attract to the festival, which will help us build on the success of the success of last year’s inaugural event,” he said

“Our aim has always been to bring together a vibrant mix of some of the finest contemporary music, literature and art from across the country.

“We’re striving to offer audiences something different - whether that is by supporting unique collaborations, by hosting events in extraordinary venues, or by booking artists who are making exciting, original work that can encourage bold, new thinking.

Sarah Moss , appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

Sarah Moss , appearing at Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017.

“We’re keen for our headline events to be as accessible as possible so we have capped ticket prices at £12 this year.

“We’ll now be working hard to add to this line-up of acclaimed artists and we can’t wait to see it all unfold in Kenilworth in September.”

Also confirmed are some of the bands who will appear at Fiesta, the open-air event in Abbey Fields that gets the festival underway on Sunday September 17.

For more information about the event and its line-up visit

kenilworthartsfestival.co.uk