'Exciting new events for this year's Highgate Festival'

Highgate Primary Choir

Highgate Primary Choir will be joined by renowned opera MUMS at the Highgate Festival - Credit: Kathleen M Molnár

With the temperatures rising, preparations are under way for this year's red-hot Highgate Festival (June 11 to 19).

This year, a number of exciting new events have been added.

One addition is Opening Up Highgate, which builds upon the already organised Open Gardens and schedules visits to buildings and other sites. 

There is a rare opportunity to visit Highgate's old burial ground adjoining the Highgate School Chapel, which was consecrated for interments in 1617 and was the initial resting place of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The school chaplain, Father Robert Easton, will be present to talk about the graveyard and offer a brief tour of the elegant school chapel, built in the 1860s and designed by Frederick Pepys Cockerell. 

Highgate Literary & Scientific Institute’s (HLSI) Librarian, Tom Pink offers a guided tour of HLSI’s historic library, which holds around 25,000 books. Visitors will be able to browse the Special Collections of books on London, Coleridge, Betjeman, Mary Kingsley and others in the upstairs study room, the Coleridge Room. 

St Mary Brookfield, the 1870s parish church designed and built by William Butterfield and its interior is much more beautiful than the sturdy exterior might suggest. It houses a splendid Tudor alabaster of a Celtic saint, St Arthmael. As part of the 2022 festival, Father Damien Mason, will be present to talk informally to visitors about the church, its history and its work. 

Highgate Festival 2022

As part of the Highgate Festival, visitors can wear headphones and listen to a newly commissioned piece of artwork while walking around Highgate Cemetery - Credit: Kathleen M Molnár

Also happening for a festival first is the collaboration of Highgate Cemetery and LUX. The Conversation Continues: We Are Still Listening is a newly commissioned audio-based artwork by artist Trevor Mathison that responds imaginatively to Professor Stuart Hall’s chosen place of rest at Highgate Cemetery. Audiences are invited to listen to the 40-minute immersive soundscape on headphones whilst meandering through the beautifully conserved cemetery grounds. The piece explores the legacy of Stuart Hall (1932 – 2014), reflecting on his arrival from Jamaica in 1951 to his ongoing impact on contemporary national debates.

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Highgate Festival music abounds with something for everyone’s style preferences. Internationally renowned opera mums, Mary Bevan and Catherine Hopper will perform a duet during the Highgate Primary School Choir’s concert. Their children are students at the school.

The Handlers play insurgent Americana country music for incorrigible grownups. It’s three chords and the truth. The eight-piece ensemble John Landau & The Giants play soulful Americana music that has bite.

This is smokin’ hot live music of the toe tappin’, thigh slappin’ variety and performed in the newly re-opened friendly fun Star Pub where delicious food is always on the menu. As well as a selection of lagers, pale ales and bitters, there are plans to grow the wine list and introduce guest wines.

The Corran Quartet

The Corran Quartet will appear at St Anne Church - Credit: Kathleen M Molnár

The Corran Quartet will perform their programme at the Buxton International Festival consisting of Sally Beamish’s Quartet Opus California. This is in a quest to promote more female composers’ music. Corran will perform in St Anne Church, a most fitting venue since its peal of bells was given by the parish’s most famous resident, remarkable philanthropist Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts.  

Full details can be found: highgatefestival.org 

Kathleen Molnar is one of the organisers of the Highgate Festival.