The Ledbury Poetry Festival's principle objective is to promote the enjoyment of poetry and the use of language, and it aims to build the value of poetry working with poets, sponsors and audiences locally, nationally and internationally. Activities are divided between an annual ten day summer Festival, a prestigious poetry competition that has talent-spotted many renowned poets, and a year round programme which includes projects to encourage access to the arts by young people, vulnerable groups in the community, and anybody seeking cultural enjoyment. Started in 1997, the Festival now reaches a regional and national audience of over 5000, through its core Festival in July and its community and educational programme.

The Festival is run by a small team equivalent to two full-time staff and engages with more volunteers than ever and reaches more people through its website and through social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, email etc. Its reach is further extended through its commissioning of new work, in 2012/13 with the Rural Media Company, a multi-media project involving a new poem and film inspired by how life has changed in and around Ledbury since the poet John Masefield wrote Reynard the Fox in 1921.  In 2014 Juliet Stevenson performed a new poem commissioned from Deryn Rees-Jones called And You, Helen (inspired by the life of Helen Thomas, wife of Edward Thomas). This poem, accompanied by an exquisite animated film of cut outs by artist Charlotte Hodes, was performed in Kempley Church with its delicate and beautiful medieval wall painting, especially the wheel of life, under which is found a memorial for men who died in WW1.

We are particularly proud of our growing international links, good cooperation with small publishers and our developing and potential working partnerships, as well as the breadth of our programme, which always includes lots of street events and happenings as well as featuring leading poets from all over the world. 

Festivals organized