History has rarely been more important than now. The Chalke History Festival programme for 2024 will reflect this, dealing with themes and concerns that dominate our current lives. The festival planning team will also be mixing the timings up a little this year, so as to avoid a wall of events all running concurrently, and there will be an increase in the number of panels and discussions. The aim is to provoke more conversation and debate about how the past guides us to the present and helps us prepare for the future. The line-up will show the threads and patterns of history and help those who visit to think about our history in different ways, and also help people to contextualise and make sense of the current rather tumultuous world we live in.
A number of big household names – including James May, The Rest Is History duo Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook, Max Hastings, Bettany Hughes, musician and record producer Jakko Jakszyk, and Sathnam Sanghera – have already been signed up as well as a greater number of international speakers and experts.
There will be more performance this year, with no less than eight different acts and performers speaking around the site – every day and throughout the week – from light-hearted yarns through to expert traditional crafts people, and from the Iron Age through to the Second World War. In addition, there will be five main venues for talks and discussions, so there will be a huge amount on offer.
The layout of the site will be slightly different too as the team has given thought to the whole experience of how visitors can view the many events on offer. The main tent will be set-dressed on the stage, the second venue will be a vaudeville-style Spiegel tent and the outdoor stage will be a honeycomb dome design and closer to the hub of the main activities. There will also be more live music, including an ABBA tribute act on the Friday night and a D-Day Dance on the Saturday evening. Each night there will be a different live music act, as well as on the Sunday a five-course lunchtime historical banquet.
News of programme developments will be announced over the coming months and those interested in attending are encouraged to keep checking on the new website and the festival social media channels for all the latest announcements. Tickets will go on general release to the public in April.
Over 200 fascinating talks, given by incredible historians and entitled ‘Chalke Talk’, can be heard on the Chalke History Festival podcast. These talks have been taken from more than a decade of festival appearances.
Wiltshire SP5 5DP
Follow the signs to the Festival rather than your SatNav
Nearest train station: Salisbury