The Festival is held in and around Dorchester-on-Thames, a picturesque village in the Oxfordshire countryside, where the River Thame flows into the River Thames. The main festival venue, DORCHESTER ABBEY, has been a place of worship for over 1300 years, and stands on the site of a Saxon cathedral built by St Birinus in the seventh century.


EMF Vice-President Simon Jenkins, in his authoritative book England’s 1000 Best Churches, awarded the Abbey a 4-star rating. The Abbey is a popular concert venue and is often used for recordings by Oxford choirs as well as other groups. The recent restoration and development of the Abbey means increased comfort and better facilities, including disabled access through the South entrance, and enhanced acoustics.


Some morning and afternoon events take place in ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH at Sutton Courtenay (in the churchyard of which both Eric Blair, better known as the author George Orwell, and Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908 until 1916, are buried), and in the SILK HALL at Radley College.


Dorchester is an ideal venue for commuters, being only 7 miles from Didcot, which is in turn a mere 45-minute train journey from London; Oxford is 8 miles north of Dorchester. The EMF runs coaches from Didcot station regularly to Dorchester throughout the duration of the Festival. Both the town of Dorchester itself and the surrounding area are very well-provided in terms of accommodation and dining establishments: please visit the Staying and Eating page of this website for more information.




The Twelfth Festival of English Music will take place in Oxfordshire from Friday 25 to Monday 28 May 2018. A full programme is available on this website.

Booking has now opened for the Twelfth Festival of English Music. Join us for top-quality music-making in convivial surroundings. Highlights include Owain Arwel Hughes and Hilary Davan Wetton conducting beautiful British orchestral and choral works; the UK première of Richard Blackford’s Violin Concerto; the celebrated Armonico Consort in a semi-staged performance of Dido and Aeneas; and a dramatic programme about Dame Ethel Smyth.

On 14th April we are running a Vaughan Williams Odyssey in the Dorking area. Actor Lance Pierson and Vaughan Williams expert Graham Muncy will spend a day taking participants around the homes and stamping grounds of this composer, including a visit to Leith Hill Place. Lunches, wine / soft drinks and tea included. Tickets cost £35 for National Trust members; £40 for non-NT members.

We are delighted to announce the launch of Dr Cuillin Bantock’s latest book on his grandfather, the composer Granville Bantock. A launch event is being held on Saturday 21st April at Schott’s Music, Great Marlborough Street, London, at 6.45p.m., which will include a recital of Bantock’s Third Violin Sonata, as well as a talk by Cuillin and refreshments. Entry to this event is free.

Music and Sweet Poetry Agree is a reading of poetry and prose by Em Marshall-Luck and actor Lance Pierson at St Peter’s Church, Vere Street, London on Friday 15th June at 6.45p.m.. Tickets £15.

Please put in your diaries the dates for our Yorkshire Autumn Festival: 5–7 October 2018. Plans for this look extremely exciting, with concerts at Bolton Castle (including new works written especially for the occasion by Richard Blackford and Paul Lewis), and a screening of the archive films that the EMF has commissioned from the Yorkshire Film Archive, alongside performances of the winning scores from our competition for composers under the age of 30.