About Us

Stroud Arts Festival is a charity promoting and supporting all types of artistic activities throughout the Stroud District. Founded in 1946, it’s the ‘grandparent’ of all the wonderful festivals this area has to offer.  It brings the best of music, poetry, drama, art and dance to Stroud and the Five Valleys.

In 2021 / 2022 Stroud Arts Festival celebrated its 75th Anniversary.  We appointed Dave Ayre, double bass player, composer and music educationalist, as Artistic Director, to curate and lead an exciting season of events to highlight the scope and reach of our charity.  We also redesigned our grant application process for 2022  and application dates and deadlines are announced each year. To receive updates on our Festival  plans, please subscribe to our newsletter.


In its earlier years Stroud Arts Festival gained a national and even international reputation for the calibre of its events, sponsoring a poetry competition in the 1960s and ’70s which drew more than 900 entries from over 35 different countries!


Opera Up Close

We always wish to inspire and encourage home-grown talent and aim to introduce children and young people to the arts, so we regularly bring well-known artists to Stroud, giving the chance to enjoy world class performances on our doorstep. Where we can we attach an element of workshops or masterclasses to these events, giving opportunity for education as well as entertainment.  Our annual visits from Ballet Cyrmu always played to a full house and we have developed a following for the touring opera companies we bring every few years. 


Printmaking Workshop

Each year, the charity has distributed funds on behalf of the Margaret and Netlam Bigg Trust – local patrons of the arts whose legacy was a bequest to promote education in the arts within the District of Stroud.  Many local arts organisations have started with the help of funds from this Trust.  Over the years we have supported new ventures and even new festivals, which then go on to be independent. The latest of these, Stroud Book Festival, was founded by our charity in 2016 and is now run by a separate organisation, going from strength to strength each year. An even more recent addition to the festivals calendar, Hidden Notes, was sponsored in its first year and again when it returned in September 2022  and 2023 

Organisations and individuals can apply for a grant to support artistic projects within the Stroud District. We favour projects which are aimed at involving or educating children and young people so you should specify how your project will achieve that.  Grant applications are discussed at special meetings of the Committee held twice a year in line with the Grants Application timetable.  Decisions are taken swiftly and applicants notified in writing. 

Applications for grants are now closed until January 2025


Come and join us!

We are always keen to see new faces at our committee meetings and on our team of dedicated volunteers. Full committee meetings are held approximately 6 times per year. If you are interested in helping to promote the arts in Stroud and would like to come to a meeting to see what we are about please email info@stroudartsfestival.org



Tribute to Festival Organiser Rick Vick 

Our Festival Organiser for many years, Rick Vick, passed away at the end of 2019.  Rick was a prominent member of the arts and culture scene in Stroud and some of his achievements can be found on our Tribute to Rick Vick page here.