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, as well as access to the daytime concerts and talks in St Oswald's Church.  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 and for specific workshops.


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 (at a minimum):

  • 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, at a minimum:

  • 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. 

Most concerts take place in St Oswald's Church, 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 Church, at the earliest 20 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 £12 (concert) or £5 (talk) on the door.

This year we have a new category of Chamber Concerts, featuring more intimate performances by exceptional players. These take place at 5.30 pm on Friday and Saturday, in Queen Mary's Chamber, and are only open to Festival Pass holders. Admission is included in your Festival Pass.

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

  • the Marquee, and

  • the Old Kitchen area (adjacent to the Gift Shop)

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!

castle stage performers

In return for signing up to do at least two spots (around 30 minutes each) over the course of the Festival, Castle Stage performers receive a free Festival Pass and discounts on everything else. You must register as a Castle Stage 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 to be a Castle Stage Performer. - please note that anyone attending as a Castle Stage 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 and in any event by the end of April 2022 to register your interest in coming along as a Castle Stage Performer. 

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


As a Castle Stage Performer 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 Castle Stage 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. 

information points

The main point for all information and help is the Festival Desk in the entrance to the Marquee. 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 Castle Stages,

  • the Instrument Makers (in the Great Chamber),

  • the Marquee containing the Festival Desk, Tavern, Festival Reception and Caterers

  • Queen Mary's Chamber, for workshops and the Chamber Concerts

  • the Tea Room. 

The other venues are

  • St Oswald's Church - adjacent to the Castle - for workshops and concerts

  • Castle Bolton Meeting Room (at the far end of the village) 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. Please show your wristband whenever you want to enter the Castle or Church, or to attend the Tavern in the evening.

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 Marquee. 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...