48th Annual Festival

14th September - 28th September 2019

A Message from our new Chairman

This is an exciting day!

Please take a moment to look at our events page and you will see that there are already events available for you to book, with all relevant membership discount privileges. This is the fulfilment of the promise we made at the AGM to open the sales window much earlier in the year in order to allow you not only to plan your own diaries, but to invite your friends to the beautiful town of Rye to enjoy some Festival events with you.


We are particularly pleased to have secured the internationally famous violinist Tasmin Little, who will be playing Beethoven to mark the forthcoming 200th anniversary of his death. Sadly this will be one of her last public performances, as she has recently announced her imminent retirement, so we anticipate this concert being very fully subscribed.

In a new development, the first day of the Festival will be devoted to CRYME, a one day crime fiction event. Four well known writers, including the entertaining Simon Brett, the creator of the wonderful Charles Paris stories on Radio 4, will each take part in a Q&A session, pausing only for a murder-themed four course lunch at the Mermaid Hotel. Again, we anticipate this event being very popular as we already know that people are planning to travel to Rye for it from London and beyond.

I will leave you to look at the event details and book your tickets, but in the meantime let me mention two other changes we will be implementing this year.

First, again as promised at the AGM, we will be making free tickets available to local students (16+) for the CRYME author sessions and various other events, so if you have young people in your household or extended family then please make them aware of this.

Second, we are conscious that we need to find a way of showcasing those VIP speakers or performers who generously agree to lend us their ongoing support for future years. In common with other festivals, we are adopting the term ‘Patron’ for this purpose. To facilitate this, the tier of membership currently called ‘Patrons’ will be renamed ‘Benefactors’. Just to be clear, this is a change of name only; all discounts and other rights will remain exactly the same.

On behalf of the Trustees, Committee Members, and all the wonderful volunteers whose efforts make everything possible, I look forward to welcoming you and your friends to our events this year, and to hearing your ideas on how we can make the Festival even better.

Guy Fraser-Sampson
Chairman, The Rye Arts Festival

2019 AGM

Rye Arts Festival held its AGM on Sunday 25th February at which Mike Eve stood down after three years as chairman.

Four Trustees who had been co-opted during 2018 (John Case, Jane Fitch, Linda Harland & Elsbeth Turnbull) were formally elected, while Andy Stuart was re-elected and Guy Fraser-Sampson was voted onto the Board of Trustees.

The Trustees elected Guy Fraser-Sampson as the new chairman of the Board of Trustees.

If you attended one or more events last September we would be delighted to hear from you – what did we do well, where have we let you down, what would you like to see on offer in future years? Your input is imperative to keep our Festival pertinent, fresh and relevant for all. Please send us an e-mail or drop us a line with compliments or brickbats! Click here to go to our contacts page and send an e-mail to a member of the Committee We really do want to hear from you!

Rye Arts Festival is one of the biggest and most successful multi-arts festivals in the UK. Click here to read more about us including our Personal Data Promise.

If you decide to spend some time in Rye, please click here to find out more about places to stay, eat and drink…