This year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is like no other. A slightly shortened version due to the pandemic, the organisers have none the less packed it with a more complete and wide-ranging programme than ever before. The full line- up is now online and can be found at www.cvhf.org.uk.
The festival promises to offer a full assault on the senses. Those attending will be able to watch our greatest living playwright and learn how to build a Roman road. There will be a former Archbishop of Canterbury and political party leader alongside some of the best-known and loved TV historians. There will be demonstrations from the Tudor kitchen, stone age flint-knapping and a Cold War-era armoured brigade headquarters. It will be possible to learn about the dark art of 19th century body- snatching, how to make wattle and daub, and learn how to make a Tudor salve and herbal cure. The head of the UK’s Armed Forces, the best-known shepherd in the land, and the most eminent international human rights lawyer in the UK will all be speaking. There will be Sword School, a vintage fairground, some of the country’s
most brilliant, successful and eminent historians but also late-night storytelling around the fire with Dan Snow and Michael Wood, and fast and furious fun with the History Tellers.
And as with any English country festival, there will be food, glorious food – and historical fast food too – as well as drink, camping, glamping and live music every single day of the festival from 1920s flapper music to the ancient ballads of English folk music.
Those coming to the festival will be able to see history, touch history, taste history and smell history too – and all in the stunning ancient downland of the Chalke Valley – a place of immense history in its own right.
Festival Chair, James Holland, says: “I’m really very excited about this year’s festival. Despite the challenges of the last year we’ve been able to produce a really inclusive and very wide-ranging programme that feels fresh, vibrant and fun. It will be midsummer, lockdown will be over, and I can’t wait to unleash this historical pageant.”
The stellar list of historians and speakers at this year’s festival include: Tracy Borman, Sir Vince Cable, General Sir Nick Carter, Diana Cavendish, Niall Ferguson, Anne Glenconner, Sir Max Hastings, Charlie Higson, Tom Holland, Katja Hoyer, Cat Jarman, Hermione Lee, Professor Margaret Macmillan, Rana Mitter, Al Murray, Jim
Naughtie, Neil Oliver, James Rebanks, Dominic Sandbrook, Dan Snow, Sir Tom Stoppard, Rowan Williams, Marina Wheeler and Michael Wood.
Due to government guidelines, there may be restrictions on the number of tickets for sale at the festival this year. The festival strongly advises those wishing to attend to book tickets early to avoid disappointment. All of the Outdoor Programme will be available on a single daily ticket (with add-ons for Sword School and fairground rides), and at a price that has been kept deliberately low and which promises astonishing value for money awhile tented events will require an individual ticket, as was the case in the past. Tented ticket prices will, however, also include access to
the Outdoor Programme.
This year, there will be no Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, although the festival is producing a programme of curriculum-based films, ready for the start of the academic year this September, and which will be entirely free for all teachers, pupils and schools. A special and separate online portal will be created for this.
All profits from the festival are ploughed back into the Chalke Valley History Trust, which operates to promote the enjoyment and better understanding of history for all ages but especially to school children.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19th May and will be released two days earlier on Monday 17 th May to the Friends membership.
Talks given by incredible historians, taken from the past ten years of the festival, can now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. Entitled #ChalkeTalk, the podcasts are released three times a week.