John Clare Society website

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

The John Clare Society Festival

This year’s John Clare Society festival will be held in Helpston, near Peterborough from 14 – 16 July 2017.

This year’s theme is ‘Influences on John Clare’. We are using St Botolph’s Church for the AGM, talks and the Saturday concert. The stalls will be mostly in Botolph’s Barn, with a couple on the Green, near the Memorial. The field opposite the John Clare School will be used for parking. Only disabled parking will be allowed outside the Church.

Friday 14 July, we begin with the Midsummer Cushions ceremony at the Church at 1.30pm. As usual, there will be folk evening at the Blue Bell pub, at 8pm – a great evening!

Saturday 15 July, coffee and tea will be available at the Blue Bell pub from 9.30am and in the John Clare Cottage from 10am. Botolph’s Barn will be open from 9.30am with various stalls, including 3 book stalls. Our sales stall will hopefully be outside 1a West Street. Membership, Programme and Ticket stalls will be inside the Church.

Carry Akroyd will give her Presidential Address; the afternoon lecture will be by John Goodridge, based on Robert Bloomfield (a poet much influenced by Clare); and the evening concert will be the folk group, Decent Scrapers.

Friends of Festival Scheme 2017


We will again be running the Friends of Festival Scheme. The cost is £8 and the benefits of becoming a Friend are:

  • Free programme
  • Free poetry pack
  • Priority booking for the Saturday early evening concert with The Decent Scrapers
  • All posted to you in advance
  • You are supporting the Society – even more so if you are able to Gift Aid the £8.

You can download the Friends of the Festival Booking form here.

Read about our past festivals here.helpston