Established in 1999
The Queille Festival occurs every odd year over the last weekend in May. QXI, the eleventh Queille Festival will be held over the weekend of 24th to 27th May 2019. Starting on Friday evening and running through until the early hours of the following Monday morning, the festival combines the highest possible standards of performance, repertoire and artistry with the informality of a family gathering. The family numbers about 260 performers, helpers and patrons, who mingle and mix in the buildings, grounds and surroundings of the beautiful Château de Queille in south-west France. Whether they come as friends or not, they invariably leave as such and often return.
Along with music, theatre and poetry come traditions of bonfires at night, to dance around and where stories are told, a short trek or treasure trail to a hidden picnic where a champagne lunch, a stunning view of snow-capped Pyrenees and fun await; a final banquet with circus acts and dancing. The programme comprises classical, jazz and other music, theatre and dance performed in the 11th century chapel or in the "big top" circus tent. Food and wine, some of it cooled by the river that flows around, is provided for all and included within the cost of a ticket.
The Festival is completely inclusive: all the performances, the fringe and ambience; all the food and drink for the three evenings and the two lunches which occur during the Festival are included. Ticket prices in 2019 are £325 per adult (£375 from March onwards) and £75 per child. Tickets for children under 5 are free. A limited number of tickets exist for full-time students at a special price of £215 and there will also be a limited number of tickets for under 30s at £265. The full programme for 2019 will be available early in the New Year and highlights will include a performance of Dido and Aeneas starring Mary Bevan and Samuel Queen, conducted by Christopher Bucknall and directed by Isabelle Kettle. We are delighted that the Castalian String Quartet and Tom Poster will be returning.
Queille itself is an ancient home in Cathar Country, which sits atop a rock from where it looks out to Montségur and the Pyrenees. There is accommodation in nearby hotels, chambres d’hôtes or lodgings People are also more than welcome to camp in the grounds or to hire one of the medieval tents which are pitched all around. Please email Rachel Lethbridge if you are interested in camping or would like to hire a medieval tent.
Queille’s size and location limit the numbers that can be involved. This, coupled with the Festival’s spirit to see and hear sublime things in a remote and wonderful setting, means that the Festival can never become a commercial venture. We rely on the goodwill and generosity of the artists and on a brigade of people who help organise, set up, cook and clear up.
The provisional programme for 2019 can be seen in the link below.
Space is always limited, so it’s wise to book early.
We all had an immensely fun time and I was particularly impressed by the smooth and mellow manner with which the whole affair was conducted. The years of practise and refinement were evinced by harmonious cooperation of a staunchly merry team of strapping lads and lasses. And it was a deep relief to be nestled in a glade by babbling brook with rustle of wind in forest... As for the chapel and programme: divine!
Edward James MacDonald 2015
The music was of the highest standard and the setting just glorious, we tremendously enjoyed the whole experience.
Alon and Anne Caspi 2017
I enjoyed it even more than ever - but that must be true for everybody as they become more at home as partakers at the feast of music and entertainment and riches of Queille!
Belinda Drake 2017
It's really rare to have a complicated event like yours be so well organised but have such a laid-back atmosphere, so that everything appears seamless and relaxed. I know from experience how much work goes into creating that kind of atmosphere.
Clare Brigstocke 2015
Can it only be two weeks since we were basking in heavenly music, good company, fine food, comfortable weather and an idyllic setting?
Susan Baker-Bates 2015
Queille always brings me so much peace and many good thoughts. As well, of course, as all the marvellous and wonderful people that gather together, and the beautiful music.
Edith Greaves 2015
What a wonderful weekend and thank you so much for your hospitality. We had such a good time - inspiring music, glorious weather, ambrosial food, delightful new friends as well as old and presumably a shameful bottle bank delivery! I am also now a very late appreciator of Charlie Chaplin - I laughed until tears were streaming down my face - most unexpected! Catherine Mackintosh 2009
Highlights will include a performance of Dido and Aeneas starring Mary Bevan and Samuel Queen conducted by Christopher Bucknall and directed by Isabelle Kettle
Places are limited. So you need to book quickly!
The Queille Trust, 22 Crooms Hill, London, SE10 8ER, UK
Chateau de Queille, Saint-Quentin-la-Tour, 09500, France