Edward Gillespie Chair of the Music Festival Advisory Board

Welcome to the 2021 Music Festival

Welcome to the 2021 Cheltenham Music Festival. Those are words that we have hoped above hope we would be able to say as we look forward to eight days of high-quality entertainment that, for over 70 years, have been a hallmark of Cheltenham’s summer.

That welcome is extended to the artists who faced so many challenges during the pandemic, to the volunteers who are able to add to deliver our renowned Festival Experience, to sponsors and patrons without whom the event would simply not exist and to you our audience who will be able to enjoy the luxury of reduced capacities in wonderfully iconic buildings, especially our Town Hall and Cathedral.

As a charity, Cheltenham Festivals reinvests all revenues into an extensive education agenda for local young people. I hope many of those will be able to sample the events and identify role models who can further inspire their passion with live music.

On a personal note, this Festival brings my time as Chair and Trustee to a close as I retire, by rotation. This has been my second term on the Board and, prior to that I was on the Festival’s Development Committee back in the 1980’s. It has been an extraordinary privilege to sit alongside Sir John Manduell, Michael Berkeley, Martyn Brabbins, Meurig Bowen, Alison Balsom and now Camilla King – no pressure, Camilla! It was horse racing that brought me and Alyson to Cheltenham; it has been the amazing arts scene that has kept us here so long.

Thank you for trusting us by being part of this year’s Festival. I hope you have the time of your life and that 2021 will prove to be the start of a brilliant new era as Music leads the way into a bright and exciting future.

Edward Gillespie
Chair, Cheltenham Music Festival