The Dorchester Festival is back on 3rd May for a tenth year

Headliners at the festival, based around Dorchester Abbey in Dorchester on Thames, include the Olivier award-winning Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, CBeebies megastar Nick Cope, the world-renowned Tallis Scholars, choral legend John Rutter, and folk legend Sam Kelly. 

The eclectic mix of entertainment, activity and laughter is the “biggest and best programme yet!” says Steph Forman, Festival Chair. Whether looking for opera, jazz, comedy, art, Michelin Guide chefs, gifts, local produce, the dog show, a 5k fun run, a vicar walking on custard or an abseil descent of the 100 foot tower; the festival has something for everyone.  

Profits from the 2024 Dorchester Festival are shared between Restore, the Oxfordshire mental health charity, and Dorchester Abbey, adding to the quarter of a million pounds for local good causes since 2005. Restore supports over 500 people locally each year towards recovery from mental ill health, with over 40% of individuals who are coached at Restore moving towards employment. 

Restore is at the heart of the Festival throughout, leading a ‘cafe takeover’ and bringing events that demonstrate the great work they do. Restore’s Oxfordshire Recovery College will exhibit video stories of mental health recovery at the renowned ‘Library of Life’, lead workshops on Mindful Art, and host Mindful Movement for Well-Being in the Abbey grounds.

The festival has a fantastic silent auction, plus a raffle, with 45 prizes including a signed cricket hat from Monty Panesar, Truck and September Song Festival tickets, a private dining experience, and stewards enclosure badges for finals day at The Henley Royal Regatta. 

Opening day (Saturday 4th May) sees the Bishop of Dorchester cut the ribbon and lead intrepid fundraisers in a sponsored abseil down the 100 foot Dorchester Abbey tower. 

Highlighting the festival’s unique charm, Forman adds, “Our programme has something for everyone. We encourage people to support local mental health by buying tickets, bidding in the online auction, or sponsoring a brave abseiler today!”

Restore’s CEO, Libby Peppiatt, says “Just like physical health, mental health is something we all have. Dorchester Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the community to challenge the stigma that persists about mental health, and to raise vital funds, making a difference to the lives of anyone needing support in our locality. We are excited to be a part of this wonderful event.”

All events are selling out fast and booking is advised to avoid disappointment.  Tickets and information can be found online: