John Clare Society website

to promote a wider and deeper knowledge of the poet, John Clare

Festival 2022

The Importance of Tradition (Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2022)


The Festival will take place as usual this year in Helpston, near Peterborough (the birthplace of John Clare), with the Midsummer Cushion Ceremony at the church on Friday 15 July at 1.30 p.m., and the main Festival and AGM on Saturday 16 July. There will be a church service on Sunday 17 July.   The theme for the Festival will be The Importance of Tradition.  Each year, the children from the John Clare Primary School take part in a poetry competition on our theme and it will be interesting to see what they make of Tradition! 

On the Friday evening starting at 7.30 p.m. at the Bluebell, there will be folk singing with Pete Shaw, Mike Stevens and Mark Swingler. This is always an excellent start to our Festival.

We are very fortunate to have Professor John Goodridge as our keynote speaker. He has written extensively on tradition and we look forward to hearing him.  There will be the usual stalls, open gardens, refreshments in the Village Hall and Bluebell, and folk dancing, village walks with poetry reading in the church.  Our concert this year will be given by Innocent Hare, a small group of folk singers who promise us a varied range of John Clare’s tunes and songs.

The Festival will be open from 10.00 a.m. on the Saturday, with the AGM starting at 10.15 a.m. in the church. 

John Clare Cottage will be open from 10:00 am until 4:00pm on Saturday.

As those of you who have been before will remember, we have a Friends of the Festival Scheme. This is a way of offering your support for the Festival whilst ensuring you have a programme beforehand and enabling you to pre-book your tickets and reserve a seat for the concert.  You will also be sent a lovely poetry pack on ‘The Countryside’. You can download the form here.

So Festival 2022 promises to be a happy and full celebration of our poet – we hope to see you there!

Sue Holgate – Festival Co-ordinator.