Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts
Now going strong for 65 years, this festival on the Suffolk coast focuses on classical music but has expanded beyond its original remit to include literature, poetry, drama, lectures and art exhibitions.
Composer Benjamin Britten, singer Peter Pears and librettist Eric Crozier set up Aldeburgh's distinctive arts festival in 1948 as a home for their opera company. It has always been active in seeking to present new pieces or interpretations and neglected works; several works by Britten have premièred here.
Held over 17 days in June, the Aldeburgh music festival takes place in various atmospheric venues in and around the coastal town of Aldeburgh but is centred on the concert hall just inland at Snape Maltings. The latter, which opened in 1967 and comprises a converted Victorian barley malthouse, is at the heart of a complex that also includes craft shops and boutiques, galleries, restaurants and cafés picturesquely situated alongside the Alde Estuary, part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with splendid wildlife.
If you cannot make it to the June music festival, Aldeburgh hosts a year-round arts programme encompassing music and related art forms, including Spring Weekends, A Celebration of Schools' Music, the Easter Festival, Snape Proms and Snape Dances. Performances take place in a selection of local historic churches and halls and within the Snape Maltings.