Established in 1999
The Queille Festival occurs every odd year in late May/early June. 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 dress-up banquet with 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 next festival will be held 2-5 June 2023. Tickets are now available. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you back after these four fallow years. As always we will have at least six concerts, with much more besides. Lucy Crowe makes her eagerly-anticipated Queille Festival debut, after her stunning set at Special Queille back in October 2016. She will perform a sublime programme of baroque showstoppers, and a second programme of Strauss songs together with our much-loved pianist Tom Poster. We will also hear Lucy in a more relaxed cabaret style, as she and her composer/arranger/horn player husband Joseph Walters treat us to a late night jazzy soirée. Our young string players will be the Adelphi Quartet. Formed in 2017 and based in Germany they have won many prizes in international string quartet competitions, and have performed all over the world.
Our latest provisional programme for 2023.
The Festival is completely inclusive: all the food and drink for the three evenings and the two lunches which occur during the festival are provided. Please choose the ticket price you would like to pay and can afford. Festival ticket sales only raise about 60% of the total needed amount as we are constrained by the limited capacity in the chapel where the concerts are all held.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Children: £75 per child (children under 5 are free).
Concessions: a limited number of tickets (20) for full-time students/under 30s/low income at £250. This price will rise to £295 when these 20 are sold.
Standard: a subsided standard ticket price of £425.
Cost: The festival ‘cost price’ of £595 – this is what the festival costs to put on per person.
Cost +: If you would like to subsidise others who may not otherwise be able to attend the festival, the option to add a donation.
To book tickets please email Rachel Lethbridge including your price choice.
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.
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.
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