John Clare Society Festival

John Clare Photo: National Portrait Gallery London EMN-150707-100033001
John Clare Photo: National Portrait Gallery London EMN-150707-100033001

The John Clare Society is holding its annual festival in Helpston this weekend, with the theme ‘John Clare and the Seeds of Change’.

The three day festival, which starts today, will begin with the midsummer cushions ceremony at the church at 1.30pm and the results of the children’s poetry competition, followed by an evening of folk music from 7pm, with Pete Shaw in the front bar of the Blue Bell in Helpston.

On the Saturday, there will be a number of booksellers and stalls in Botolph’s Barn, near the church. Along with a village trail, willow weaving and traditional dancing. An afternoon talk with Dr Robert Heyes, a member of the society and the committee, will take place in St Botolph’s Church.

There will also be the usual lunches and teas in the village hall and the Blue Bell, along with light lunches in John Clare Cottage.

The evening concert will be in the church from 6pm to 7pm, and will be given by Chris Harrison, who will include 19th century folk songs related to Clare in his programme.

On the Sunday it is hoped that the Rev Dave Maylor, 
vicar of St Botolph’s, will preside over a Clare-related church service at 10.45am, following the conclusion of the festival with light refreshments.

For further information about the festival, including concert tickets, please contact Ann Marshall on 01400 282409 or e-mail

A programme can also be purchased for £2.