In 1997 the first Daphne du Maurier Festival of Arts and Literature was held to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Daphne du Maurier’s birth. Designed to be a mix of guided walks of the area, an exhibition to celebrate Daphne’s life and works with talks about Daphne du Maurier by visiting professors and authors, the event was part of Restormel Borough Council’s Culture Department to bring a Festival to the South Coast of Cornwall.
Originally conceived to be a long weekend the idea gradually grew to a ten day celebration between the two Bank Holidays, in May, which also included Daphne’s birthdate – 13th May. The festival was to embrace the original ideas but widened to include a wide range of music, particularly in the evenings.
From a large marquee in the grounds of Fowey Hall to two marquees in the grounds of Fowey River Academy. The Festival continued to grow until 2012 when the funding for the Festival was withdrawn. The running of the Festival was offered to the Fowey Chamber of Commerce and the Town Council. With a new Festival Director and a name change to the Fowey Festival of Words and Music, the Festival was taken to the heart of the town using the wonderful Parish Church and the Fowey Town Hall as our main venues.
The Festival continued to thrive, despite being shorter in length and with smaller venues. Covid meant we were unable to have a Festival in 2020 and 2021 due to lockdown. It also meant that the Festival had little income in those years.
Determined to carry on the Festival board worked hard with our Festival Director to bring you the 24th Festival in 2022. Run by a very enthusiastic hardworking group of volunteer trustees and helped by an even larger number of volunteer Festival Makers we are delighted to be celebrating our 25th Festival in 2023. We also have a very loyal group of Friends and Festival goers and we thank you for your support through the years.
With an Art Trail and some Secret Gardens, guided walks, workshops and an array of authors, commentators and musicians – there’s plenty to see and do in wonderful surroundings.
We are looking forward to welcoming many Festival goers again this year. Whether it’s your first time or you have been a regular since 1997, you are from afar or just down the road, we look forward to welcoming you to the 25th Fowey Festival.