Your Guide To Staithes Festival Of Arts And Heritage

Read our handy guide to the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage.

The Annual Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage provides an opportunity for the village to feature the work of artists from far and wide. All the village gets involved with temporary galleries set up in around 100 different locations including cottages, houses and several public places. It is an important event on the North Yorkshire Calendar of Events with its impact now spreading even further.

In most cases, events are free of charge.

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Buoys and jet outside a Fishermans Cottage in Staithes during Staithes Festival
Buoys and jet outside a Fishermans Cottage in Staithes during Staithes Festival

MUSIC at Staithes Festival

There is an extensive music programme over the weekend:

Saturday, 1300 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o Jack Parker, the Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter from Hull is kept busy performing across Europe. His debut album will be released next year
o Men of Staithes maintain the tradition of performing songs of the sea and old hymns.
o Sixway is a new 6-man jazz band from the Whitby area, including tenor sax Zak Parlby from Staithes.

Sunday, 1600 – 1830 at the Lifeboat House featuring

o White Sail, the popular trio who regularly perform their songs at festivals and other gigs.
o Dire Staithes perform a wide range of music ranging from George Ezra to Ronan Keating, Stones to Beatles.
o The Alligators from Hull whose original music has appealed to the audience on their previous two appearances.

Men Of Staithes singing at Staithes Festival
Men Of Staithes singing at Staithes Festival (Image credit;

GALLERIES at Staithes Festival

Read through the Festival programme for information on the 85 galleries around Staithes where artists are displaying and selling their work. The details of the venue where you can find particular artists are on a map in the programme.


You are not able to pre-book events and you are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment. All talks are free of charge though a bucket is sent around. Speakers do not charge and proceeds go directly towards the Festival Events and village charities. To date, £8,500 has been contributed to local causes.

Preview Evening Friday 1930 – 2030

Preview Evening allows locals and visitors to walk around Staithes to meet the artists, and you can buy there and then. After dark, the village is illuminated by Light Fantastic with the Outdoor Picture Show to follow.

Figure Tableaux from Life by Ian Burke Friday 20:00 – 22:00 is a special exhibition that can be viewed on Friday and then over the weekend and right until 30th September. The venue is the Sunday School, Venue 28.

Simon Chapman: Boulby Ironstone Mine Saturday 10:00 – 11:00

This author, historian and industrial archaeologist returns to the Festival to talk about the ironstone mines which were the main employer in Staithes a century ago. Venue: Smugglers, Venue 21.

A traditional fishing coble at Staithes Festival
A traditional fishing coble at Staithes Festival

‘John' the Sailing Coble Saturday 10:00 – 16:30, Sunday 10.00 – 16.30

Anyone interested in the traditional cobles that used the waters of the North East Coast can learn more from members of the Coble and Keelboat Society who will be there to talk about these boats. Venue: The Staithe

Sailing Out of Staithes Saturday 10:00 – 11:00

The heritage exhibition this year tells about the triumphs and tragedies in Staithes’ maritime history. There are plenty of photographs on show and written text. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33 throughout the Festival

Emma Stothard Wire & Willow Sculptor Saturday 10:00 – 17:30, Sunday 10.00 – 17.30

Emma returns with her wonderful creations from lobsters to dinosaurs. She recently won the gold medal at RHC Chelsea for her life-size polar bear in white willow. Captain Cook’s journey through the North West passage was her inspiration for that figure. Venue: Seaview Garage on the Staithe. Venue 87

A Few Feet Up Saturday 10:00 – 17:30, Sunday 10.00 – 17.30

Same Difference Arts will be walking around the streets throughout the two days carrying a periscope. If you see them, stop and get a different perspective on the village.

Lobster Pots and Fisherman's Tales Saturday 10:30 – 16:00

John Cole from one of Staithes’ oldest families still fishes and over the Festival weekend, he will demonstrate traditional lobster pot making and tell stories of a life at sea. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Garden Venue 33

Staithes Family History Group Saturday 10:30 – 16:30, Sunday 10.30 – 16.30

Try to find any Staithes relatives from records going back 500 years with our genealogy experts. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33

Katie Ventress: Artist Blacksmith Saturday 11:30 – 12:30

Artist Blacksmith, Katie Ventress has been commissioned by the Festival to create a special piece for the harbour. Katie will talk about her inspiration and her career as a blacksmith. Coming from North Yorkshire, Katie studied at York College before taking a four-year apprenticeship with a local blacksmith.

Today she has her own forge KV Artist Blacksmith at Hinderwell (Unit 2A Station View, Hinderwell Industrial Estate, Hinderwell TS13 5ER). You can see more of Katie’s work on her website and be sure to see her creation by the harbour. Venue: Smugglers Venue 21

Bottle Workshop Saturday 12:00 – 16:00

International light artist Mick Stephenson talks about the global use of plastic in a workshop reusing plastic bottles for a dramatic light installation. Free and everyone is welcome. Venue: Cod & Lobster Corner

Saturday Afternoon Concert Saturday 13:00 – 15:00

The Lifeboat House is the venue for a concert featuring Men of Staithes choir, Yorkshire singer songwriter Jack Parker jazz band, Sixway. Venue: Lifeboat House 18.

Sue Nichol Demonstration Saturday 13:30 – 14:30, Sunday 13.30 – 14.30

Sue Nichol’s recently has an exhibition at the Staithes Gallery. Sue will be with us at the Festival behind the gallery to hold demonstration drop-in sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Venue: Laura Knight Studio Venue 37

Guided walks are part of Staithes Festival
Guided walks are part of Staithes Festival – look out for the meeting point!

William's Walk Saturday 14:00 – 15:30, Sunday 14.00 – 15.30

Bill Hinchley, the local historian will take people on a guided through Staithes whilst recounting stories and the hidden history the village. Please meet at Bank Top View Point/Meeting Point at the top of Staithes.

Aonghus Gordon: Autism, Creativity and Engagement Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Sunday 10.00 – 11.00

Aonghus Gordon will hold a fascinating session on providing help for adolescents who present challenges to teachers, the community and families. He founded a charity, the Centre for Cultural Development in 1982 and today there are 8 centres across England and Wales focusing on Practical Skills, Therapeutic Education, the application of biodynamic agriculture and craftwork for people with special needs. A number of workshops will be available for those wishing to try these innovative methods. Venue: Smugglers Venue 21

Rosamund Jordan: A Pioneering Colony of Artists Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Sunday 14.00 – 15.00

Ros and Tom Jordan have spent 40 years with the work of the Staithes Group of Artists. Ros, a retired NADFAS lecturer will give an illustrated talk on the Group with works from the Group available for sale. Venue: Memorial Hall, Cliff Road Venue 8

Expressive Portrait Drawing with Ian Burke Saturday 14:00 – 15:30, Sunday 11.00 – 12.30

Ian Burke, head of art at Eton College will hold a drawing workshop and explain how he tries to achieve personality and character in his subject, rather than a photographic resemblance using charcoal and pencil. All materials will be supplied and beginners are welcome. You can book through Staithes Gallery T: 01947 841840/07972 012464. The cost is £15. Venue: Sunday School, Wesleyan Chapel Venue 28

Busking on the Staithe Saturday 14:45 – 16:15

Come along to the Staithe to be entertained by Jack Parker, Dire Staithes, Sarah the harpist and various buskers.

Andy Blackford: Um Bongo & Other Poems for Children (and Adults) Saturday 15:30 – 16:30, Sunday 11.30 – 12.30

Poet Andy Blackford will read some of his poems for children and a few comical ones for adults. His colourful history includes performing in his early days in support of bands like Genesis and Lindisfarne.

He was a music journalist, a record company executive and a professional skateboarder. He has written 22 books for kids, two novels and books on a vast range of subjects. Venue: Viking Cottage, Seaton Garth 88

Lots to see and do at Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage
Lots to see and do at Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage

Sue Willmington: My Life as a Costume Designer Saturday 15:30 – 16:30

Scarborough born Sue Willmington who lives locally will talk about her work which includes credits at English National Opera, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, the Welsh National Opera, the National Theatre in Prague, the Bolshoi Theatre and La Fenice in Venice.

Sue is exhibiting at Bethel on the High Street, but will talk at Smugglers about her fascinating career. Venue: Smugglers 21

A Talk with John Cole Saturday 16:30 – 17:30

The Coles have fished out of Staithes for 500 years. John Cole may be the last of his line and his reflections on families, fishing and a life at sea are sure to be fascinating. Venue: St Peter’s Centre Venue 33

Swinging the Lamp Saturday 17:00 – 18:30

The true story words and song of the life of a Hull trawler skipper. It was written by Gordon Meredith and Richard Avery, based on the life of Jim Williams.

Several well- known and much- loved songs from the fishing industry are included in the performance. Venue: Kindly Light, Wesleyan Chapel Venue 22

Outdoor Picture Show Saturday 21:00 – 22:00

Come to Kipper’s Corner to enjoy the outdoor picture show projected on to the gable wall with musical accompaniment. Venue: Kipper’s Corner Venue 23

Jack Barber: The Art of Digital Design Sunday 11:30 – 12:30

Jack will talk about how technological advances have affected art and design. An interactive digital artwork will form part of the presentation. For anyone currently interested in art and design this is a must.

Newcomers wanting to learn more and even get involved are more than welcome. Venue: The Smugglers, Venue 21

Chris Toth: Mined Over Matter Sunday 14:00 – 15:00

Chris Toth, a research scientist at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, returns to talk on ‘’dark matter’’ in a way that ordinary folk will understand. Venue: Smugglers 21

Tea Time Concert & Farewell Sunday 16:00 – 18:30

As another Festival draws to a close, it is time for more music. The cast is White Sail, our own Dire Staithes and the Alligators making their third appearance. Dire Staithes will lead the closing procession as is traditional from the Lifeboat House to Bethel. Venue: Lifeboat House Venue 18

For further information about Staithes Festival, visit the official website at

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