Perdido Records




original artwork by Victoria Holton


On 14, 15 & 16 July 2017, the Dankworth family and friends get together for a weekend of world class performances in a magical setting.  Dame Cleo Laine plays host to a stellar line-up of artists as she once again opens to the public her enchanting private gardens at the Old Rectory for the 2017 Dankworth Family Festival.  All profits after expenses from this year's event will go to the Beds and Northants MS Therapy Centre.


This year's line-up* includes renowned vocalist Lesley Garrett with clarinet virtuoso Emma Johnson; the internationally acclaimed Brodsky Quartet; poet, playwright and novelist Ben Okri; jazz & soul vocalist/songwriter Natalie Williams; classical guitarist Craig Ogden; some very special guests - plus a full complement of Dankworths!


On Sunday afternoon, get set for Dame Cleo Laine and Friends (in anticipation of her upcoming 90th birthday!) hosted by jazz vocalist and radio presenter Todd Gordon and featuring guest performances by classical guitar great John Williams, musician/comedian Earl Okin, violinists Chris Garrick & Peter Fisher, American vocalist Lorna Dallas, and many more. 


The Dankworth Family Festival is being organised in conjunction with the Blenheim Palace Festival of Literature, Film and Music and will be a preview event for this year’s festival, which takes place at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, between Thursday October 12 and Sunday October 15, 2017.


Artist accommodation provided by Woburn Hotel

the official hotel of the 2017 Dankworth Festival.


Dame Cleo's beautiful garden will be one of the stars of the show.  On Saturday and Sunday, bring along a picnic basket, a blanket, a bottle or two of wine (no corkage fee - additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase), an umbrella and a smile and enjoy a summer picnic on the lawn.  Kids twelve and under get in for free, so bring the whole family!


The Old Rectory in Wavendon, a romantic Gothic Revival greensand and limestone vicarage built in 1848 by architect William Butterfield, has been home to the Dankworth family since the late 1960s.  Alec and Jacqui Dankworth grew up there and Dame Cleo lives there still.


The late Sir John Dankworth thought the idyllic, Victorian garden would be the perfect setting for hosting his own music festival, which he started in the 1990s.  There are lots of interesting nooks and crannies which Sir John delighted in naming after beloved musicians, such as: Acker's Archway, a woodland pathway; Shearing's Clearing, an area devoted to the British jazz legend; Tracey's Trace, devoted to the great British pianist composer; to name but a few.  Over the years John and Cleo played host to such diverse performers as Eddi Reader, Maureen Lipman, Fenella Fielding, Darius Brubeck, Alexander Armstrong, and numerous others from the worlds of music, theatre, literature and the arts.


PLEASE NOTE: Guests are kindly requested to utilise the Main Entrance of the Old Rectory, 3 Stockwell Lane (just follow the signs!) rather than the Stables Theatre entrance or car park, which will be in use for other events.  Limited on-site parking is available in the front driveway and front lawn of the Old Rectory on a first-come first-served basis.  Nearby additional parking available throughout Wavendon village.  The garden has full access for disabled guests.  Please contact if you have any questions or need further information.


*subject to confirmation.  DFF reserve the right to revise programme if necessary, due to unforeseen circumstances.