Enjoy music, poetry and art at the Dankworth Family Festival in Wavendon

Celebrating her 90th birthday, Dame Cleo Laine and her family will play host to a stellar line-up of artists she once again opens up her enchanting private gardens to the public for the 2017 ‘Music In the Garden: The Dankworth Family Festival’.

Artists will include Lesley Garrett, clarinet virtuoso Emma Johnson, classical guitarist John Williams, the internationally acclaimed Brodsky Quartet, veteran of British Jazz and Soul Natalie Williams, poet, playwright and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri plus classical guitarist Craig Ogden and more special guests.

This year the festival will be donating all profits (after expenses) to Beds and Northants MS Therapy Centre, a charity close to the family’s heart as Dame Cleo’s son Stuart suffers from the debilitating condition.

Since its inception by the legendary John Dankworth, the Dankworth Family Festival brings together the extended Dankworth family (Cleo, Jacqui and husband Charlie Wood, Alec and daughter Emily) plus very special friends each year for a weekend of world-class performances in a magical setting.

The Old Rectory in Wavendon, a romantic Gothic Revival greensand and limestone vicarage built in 1848 by architect William Butterfield, has been home to the Dankworth family since the late 1960s.

In the 1990s it was the late Sir John Dankworth who thought the idyllic Victorian garden would be the perfect setting for hosting his own music festival, The Dankworth Family Festival, an event that offers a humble, honest and real experience to any serious music fan.

There are lots of interesting nooks and crannies which Sir John delighted in naming after beloved musicians, such as Acker’s Archway, a woodland pathway, Shearing’s Clearing, an area devoted to the British jazz legend, Tracey’s Trace, devoted to the great British pianist composer; to name but a few.

Over the years John and Cleo played host to such diverse performers as Eddi Reader, Fenella Fielding, Darius Brubeck, Alexander Armstrong and numerous others from the worlds of music, theatre and the arts.

2017 LINE-UP:

FRIDAY – Doors 6.30pm – Apératif and canapé reception:

  • 8pm – Lesley Garrett and Emma Johnson accompanied by Andrew West. A specially devised recital programme for the soprano voice and its instrumental counterpoint, the clarinet.


SATURDAY – Doors 12pm: ***JUST ANNOUNCED: after-show VIP dinner with performers, sponsors and guests.  More details coming soon…

  • 12 – 1.30pm Craig Ogden and Jacqui Dankworth
  • 30 – 4.30pm Charlie Wood and Ben Okri
  • 30 – 7.30pm The Brodsky Quartet
  • 8 – 9pm – Natalie Williams


SUNDAY – Doors 12pm:

  • 12 – 2pm Alec Dankworth & The Million Dollar Band
  • 3 – 5pm Peter Fisher and The Chamber Ensemble Of London
  • 6 – 8.30pm Celebrate with Dame Cleo Laine – compered by jazz vocalist and radio presenter Todd Gordon. Special guests include Earl Okin, John Williams, West End and cabaret star Lorna Dallas, Peter Fisher, jazz violinist Chris Garrick, plus duets by daughter Jacqui Dankworth and son-in-law Charlie Wood, songs from multi-talented/multi-lingual granddaughter Emily Dankworth, and more!


Dame Cleo’s beautiful garden will be one of the stars of the show.

Festivalgoers will enjoy a very intimate setting where they can mingle with artists and fellow music fans, as well as stroll through the beautiful surroundings admiring the exceptional art and horticulture.

On Saturday and Sunday, bring along a picnic basket, a blanket, a bottle or two of wine (no corkage fee – additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase), an umbrella and a smile and enjoy a summer picnic on the lawn.

Priding itself as a family friendly event, children go free all weekend and will be able to enjoy activities onsite as well as a complimentary soft drink.

But let’s not forget about the adults! An apératif and canapés reception will be available before Lesley Garrett opens the Festival on Friday evening (all included in the ticket price), and with a host of captivating performances for each day of the festival this unique event offers exceptional value for money.

Day or Weekend tickets are available from: http://www.perdido.co.uk/dff/

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