The diversity in festivals matches the city’s status as a major tourist attraction, there is something to satisfy most tastes, here are a few suggestions for 2020, the line ups often change and are released nearer to the festival date but you can get a good idea of what is to come by checking the official websites and seeing what has gone before.
York Literature Festival
Tapping into our imaginations and uniting best-selling authors with emerging local talent, York Literature Festival has been a staple in York’s cultural scene since 2007. Events include talks, performances, workshops, poetry, theatre, cinema and reading groups across a 16-day period. Writers who have appeared at the festival include Simon Armitage, Germaine Greer, Mark Billingham, Kate Atkinson, Matt Haig, Tony Benn, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy, Ian McMillan, Diane Setterfield, and Amanda Vickery. There’s lots for inquisitive young minds too, including storytelling, book readings, songs, creative writing competitions and all manner of word-based fun. Open from 19 - 28 March.
York Fashion Week
York Fashion Week is brought to you by Fashion City York, which is an initiative made up of local business owners, working to engage with and nurture the fashion community in York. Seven days to celebrate creative designers, elaborate fashions, thriving high street brands and exciting independent brands and businesses. And they're doing it with a dynamic range of events including runway shows, workshops, beauty evenings, and more, 20 - 27 March.
York Festival of Ideas
Bursting with brainfood and provocation, York Festival of Ideas is made up of 120 stimulating events featuring world-class speakers, performances, guided walks and interactive experiences for people of all ages. It consistently attracts audiences in excess of 40,000 people ready to be inspired by the greatest thinkers in academia, current affairs and culture. What’s more, almost all of the events are free to attend 2 - 14 June.
JORVIK Viking Festival
The annual JORVIK Viking Festival is a city-wide celebration of York’s rich Norse heritage. Recognised as the largest event of its kind in Europe; visit York 15 – 23 February for an exciting programme of events, including living history encampments, markets, workshops, talks, tours and dramatic combat performances. Whether you’re well-versed in the sagas or looking for a thrilling half-term break, there’s something for everyone at JORVIK Viking Festival. This year’s theme is the Voyages of the Vikings – just like the Norse in the 9th century, journey to York in February half term to discover their extraordinary stories! Tickets for highlight events are on sale now, with the full programme released in 2020. The festival is organised and funded by York Archaeological Trust, with no external funding or sponsorship, and all proceeds contribute to our work as an educational charity.
York Food & Drink Festival
York Food & Drink Festival runs events throughout the year celebrating local and regional food and drink, with the main 10 day festival held at the end of September. It is a not-for-profit organisation and any money generated from ticket sales goes back in to the festival to improve it year after year! Some aspects of the festival include: Schools Programme – The Schools Programme invites York primary schools to attend workshops and demonstrations from local producers and chefs. Over 700students attend each year to learn about cooking local, healthy meals. To register your interest in the Programme. Junior Chefs Competition – The Junior Chefs Competition allows young food enthusiasts to show off their cooking skills and one is ultimately awarded the accolade of Junior Chef of the Year. 400,000 visitors are expected over the ten days in September, as well as 1000 school children. Chocolate Festival Parliament Street & Shambles Market 9th to 13th April 2020. Taster Festival Parliament Street & Shambles Market 13th & 14th June 2020. Main Festival Parliament Street & Shambles Market 18 - 27 September.
York Festival is a major new outdoor music festival headlined by a host of global stars. The inaugural festival will take place over 19 - 21 June and promises to be an exciting annual event which will bring international icons to York. The brainchild of live music promoters Cuffe and Taylor, York Festival will put this ancient city on the UK festivals map. Cuffe and Taylor are part of Live Nation – the world’s leading live entertainment company – and have extensive experience of staging major concerts in Yorkshire. Established for more than 10 years, they present breath-taking tours, festivals and theatre shows across the UK. They work with artists including Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Sheridan Smith, Britney Spears, Little Mix, Bryan Adams, Noel Gallagher, Kylie Minogue, Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Stereophonics and Lewis Capaldi. They continue to take shows to the fans, specialising in presenting concerts in unique locations and are very excited to be expanding into York. Global icon Lionel Richie, pop superstars Westlife and British music legends Madness will headline the first ever York Festival, held at York Sports Club.
Did you know that York is the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts? Picking up the mantle from Illuminating York and taking it to a whole other level, York Mediale is an international digital arts festival across the city. The inaugural festival was in 2018, presenting work by over 100 artists, with more than 20 world premiere pieces, covering interactive installations, live performances, cutting-edge innovations, new music and much more. Expect it to be back with a bang in 21 - 25 October.