About Bollington Festival 2026

Bollington Festival History

The Bollington Festival is a registered charity, run entirely by volunteers and supported by grants and donations. It is thought to be the only Festival which is run this way, in the whole of the UK.

The Bollington Festival has been an important part of Bollington life since its inception sixty years ago. The aim of the Festival, which takes place roughly every four years, is to promote civic pride, community spirit and inclusivity.

The Festival was the brainchild and vision of one man, the late Doctor John Coope, MBE.  As the local GP, Dr John realized that many ailments could be remedied by reducing isolation through bringing people together and offering new experiences. His philosophy was that an active community is a healthy one.  After dispensing medical advice he would ask his patients, “now, what can you do? Sing, play an instrument, run?”

Bollington is a strong, close knit and vibrant community. The Festival is a vital part of that vibrancy.  It enriches the lives of Bollington people , both mentally and physically, through the (mainly, free) provision of a range of arts, music, science and sporting activities, both professional and amateur.

The Festival features hundreds of different activities including (but not limited to) music (jazz, opera, folk, pop, brass, classical, rock), science, sports, literature, sculpture, theatre, current affairs, art, picnics, dance, photography.  Since its inception in 1964, each Festival has created a legacy of new groups and community activities  including:

  • The Bollington Brass Band
  • The Bollington Festival Players
  • Sci(ence) Bar evenings
  • The Bollington Festival Orchestra
  • The Bollington Light Opera Group
  • The Bollington Festival Choir

In addition to hundreds of locally organized activities, previous Festivals have also included professional events featuring famous faces such as BBC correspondent Nick Robinson, TV presenter Kate Humble, humanitarian and author, Sir Terry Waite, world renowned scientist Lord Robert Winston, and radio presenter Jenni Murray.