The Queille Festival occurs every odd year over the last weekend in May. Q8, the eighth Queille Festival, ran from 24th to 27th May 2013. The next Festival will be over the weekend of 23rd to 25th May 2015. Starting on Friday evening and running through until the early hours of the following Monday morning, the festival combines the highest possible standards of performance, repertoire and artistry with the informality of a family gathering. Click here to see a list of performers in 2013. The family numbers about 260 performers, helpers and patrons, who mingle and mix in the buildings, grounds and surroundings of the beautiful Château de Queille in South West France. Whether they come as friends or not, they invariably leave as such and often return.

Along with music, theatre and poetry come traditions of bonfires at night to dance around and where stories are told; a short trek or treasure trail to a hidden picnic where a champagne lunch, a stunning view of snow capped Pyrenees and fun await; a final banquet with circus acts and dancing. The programme comprises classical, jazz and other music, theatre and dance performed in the 11th century chapel or in the "big top" circus tent. Food and wine, some of it cooled by the river that flows around, is provided for all and included within the cost of a ticket.

The Festival is completely inclusive: all the performances, the fringe and ambience; all the food and drink for the three evenings and the two lunches which occur during the Festival are included. The total cost is £295 per person. Young children are very welcome at £70 per child. Children are free under 5. Full time students are invited too at a special student, inclusive price of £150.

Queille itself is an ancient home in Cathar County, which sits atop a rock whence it looks out to Montségur and the Pyrenees. There is accommodation in nearby hotels, chambres d'hotes or lodgings (click here). People are also more than welcome to camp in the grounds or to hire one of the medieval tents which are pitched all around (see the ticket booking page for details).

Queille's size and location limit the numbers that can be involved. This, coupled with the Festival's spirit to see and hear sublime things in a remote and wonderful setting, means that the Festival can never become a commercial venture. We rely on the goodwill and generosity of the artists and on a brigade of people who help organise, set up, cook and clear up.

Transport to Queille is easy and can be cheap, especially if you book in advance: fly to Toulouse, Carcassonne or Perpignan and you are an hour or less away; to Montpellier or Barcelona and you are two or three away. Transport to the festival itself from Mirepoix will be arranged, if there is sufficient demand, but it's certainly better to hire a car when you make your travel arrangements, if you can manage it.

Space is always limited, so it's wise to book early. Details of the next Festival in 2015 (May 23rd-25th) will be posted in 2014.

For current and previous festival programmes, click here.
To book tickets for the next festival, click here.
To enquire about the festival email rachellethbridge@mac.com