how does the booking process work?

All festival-goers need to buy a Festival Pass for one, two or three days. This Festival Pass entitles you to admission to Bolton Castle on whatever days you have booked for including access to the daytime concerts in the Great Chamber.  It also entitles you to book for workshops on the relevant day(s). Finally, the Festival Pass also allows you to access the Tavern scene in the evening - day visitors can't do this and have to leave the Castle at 5pm. 

You need to book separately for the evening concerts. You can book for everything you want​ online and will be able to download a ticket and confirmation of each element. You should bring this ticket and confirmation with you to the festival.

Please note - you can't book for workshops unless you also book a Festival Pass. However, you can book for the evening concerts without buying a Festival Pass.

So - for example:

Example One

"I want to come to all three days of the festival. I also want to attend the daytime concert by X on Saturday, the harp workshop on Sunday and the evening concert on Friday"

You need to book

  • a three-day Festival Pass, This will include X's concert during the day on Saturday

  • a ticket for the Friday evening concert   

  • a ticket for the harp workshop on Sunday

Example Two

"I want to come to attend the harp workshop on Sunday

 You need to book:

  • a one-day Festival Pass for Sunday

  • a ticket for the harp workshop on Sunday

You can also visit the Tavern in the evenings of the Festival.​

Example Three

"I just want to attend the evening concerts on Friday"

You need to book:

  • a ticket for the Friday evening concert

Example Four

"I want to attend the evening concerts on Friday and a couple of the Friday daytime concerts. and finish off the evening in the Tavern"

You need to book:

  • a ticket for the Friday evening concert

  • a one-day Festival Pass for Friday

Concerts and Castle Stages - what's the difference?

Firstly, attendance at all or any of these is included in your Festival Pass. 

All Concerts take place this year in the Great Chamber of Bolton Castle, and feature the 'headline' bands and performers. Daytime concerts last 50-60 minutes. You can't book for a particular concert in advance (unless you are a Friend). Instead, if you have a Festival Pass, just come to the Great Chamber, at the earliest 30 minutes before the concert is due to start. If you don't have a Festival Pass, any remaining free places will be made available from 10 minutes before the concert is due to start and you will need to pay £5 on the door.

The Castle Stages are performance areas inside Bolton Castle, in:

  • the Marquee

  • Queen Mary's Chamber

  • and occasionally in the Great Chamber

Performances at the Castle Stages are more informal. Each performance lasts from 20-30 minutes, and the Castle Stages are home to the many Performers both amateur and professional attending the Festival. Just turn up at any time and make yourself comfortable!

performer pass

The Performer Pass is available to those wanting to perform on the Castle Stages, either as bands or individuals. In return for signing up to do at least one spot (around 30 minutes) per day (Friday - Sunday only) on the Castle Stages, Performer Pass holders receive a free weekend ticket and discounts on everything else. You must register as a Performer - you can't just turn up on the day.

Workshops are predominantly in the morning, Castle Stage spots in the afternoon, so you should be able to combine both without too much trouble.

The more the merrier, so just fill in the Registration Form to apply for a Performer Pass. - please note that anyone attending as a Performer must sign up as an individual, even if they are performing in a group. You need to get in touch as soon as possible by the end of March 2019 to register your interest in coming along as a Performer

You can then book through the box office - from March 1st if you are also a Friend, and from March 21st for everyone else. You will be given a discount code to get your Performer discount - this will be notified to you by email, so watch your inbox!                          

As a Performer Pass holder you will also get access to backstage areas for storing instruments and simply sitting out for a bit! You can also have your CDs for sale at the Festival Desk - we take a 10% commission fee on anything that we sell. Instruments for sale, or relevant books, are also welcome - again, a 10% commission fee will apply. However, you must notify me in advance of everything that you want to sell - it won't be possible just to drop things off on the day without pre-arrangement.

You are free to perform in medieval kit or modern clothes as you prefer. Regarding instrumentation, we prefer but do not insist on medieval instruments. In fact there is only really one rule for Performers. but it is a Golden Rule and must be strictly adhered to -  only medieval music please - and for our purposes this means music that can be sourced between 500 and 1500 AD. In 2019, we are focusing on the music of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and we encourage all performers to include music of this period in their sets -  but any medieval repertoire is welcome.

information points

The main point for all information and help is the Festival Desk in the Old Kitchen of Bolton Castle. You can also look out for any of the Festival Stewards, who will be wearing clearly marked sashes. Any Steward should be able to point you in the right direction, even if that is only to the Festival Desk.

festival venues

The principal venue is Bolton Castle itself. Here you will find the Concerts (in the Great Chamber), the Instrument Makers (in the Solar), the Festival Desk (in the Old Kitchen), the Castle Stages (in Queen Mary's Chamber and the Marquee), a workshop space (Lord Scrope's Chamber) and the Tea Room. Further catering options - including the Festival Tavern - are available in the Marquee

The other venue this year is:

St Oswald's Church - adjacent to the Castle - for workshops and One-to-Ones



Really sorry, but Bolton Castle does not permit dogs in the castle or gardens. You are welcome to keep your dogs in the carpark or camping areas, and there are lots of lovely walks to hand.


When you arrive you'll register for the event and receive a wristband. Please put this on right away (help will be on hand if required). This wristband will ensure you entry to festival venues for the days that you are registered for and get you any discounts if applicable. 

money and shopping

Please note there are no cash points at Bolton Castle. The nearest money machines are at Leyburn (six miles away). Likewise you'll need to go to Leyburn for supermarkets, chemists etc.

tickets on the day

Depending on availability after the advance bookings, tickets for workshops and evening concerts will be available on the day from the Festival Desk in the Solar. Workshop tickets on the day cost from £10-£20, evening concert tickets on the day cost £16. For general admission to non-ticketed events (castle stages, exhibition) you can just pay admission to Bolton Castle as usual.


The Yorkshire weather is a law unto itself and can change very quickly. However, if the weather does turn bad, the Castle has various wet weather alternatives for outside activities. The weather on Saturday in 2016 was absolutely abysmal, but we still all had a great time! It's an excuse to light all the fires for a start...