Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage

Staithes Festival has established itself as one of the friendliest festival on the coast – a must-go-to event in the regional arts calendar.

During the weekend some 100+ cottages in the village become temporary art galleries in a unique selling exhibition. Staithes heritage is also celebrated in fossils, fishing, historic photographs and film shows.

North York Moors, Scarborough Borough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire
Light Art on the Beach

Glenn Kilpatrick

Staithes Festival: 7th & 8th September 2019. 

Important Information for Artists

Next Festival: 12/13 September 2020

Artists Registration opens on 1st February 2020 and closes 31st May 2020. There will be a late registration fee of £50 for anyone applying after 31st May.

Artists Registration fee for 2020 is £250. Artists will not be required to pay any commission on sales. 


Calling All Buskers

If you would like to come along and busk in the streets during the Festival you should contact our Musical Director Chris Wade on



Grant McKee (1951-2019) RIP


It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of our Festival colleague Grant Mckee on Sunday 7th April 2019.

Grant was one of the founders of Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage and from the beginning worked tirelessly to create and develop this enjoyable and heartwarming event. He chaired the Committee for a number of years and was dedicated from the outset to ensuring that the Heritage aspect of the Festival in particular was lively and interesting for villagers and visitors alike. He worked with local people to uncover fascinating aspects of village life past and present and each year discovered and invited stimulating speakers on a wide variety of heritage related subjects.

Perhaps his contribution to the Festival will be best remembered through the fascinating and moving film shows he put together each year to be shown outdoors in the heart of the village to a rapt crowd.

He will be very sadly missed by us all.


Changes to Artist Registration

As predicted we’ve had to make significant changes to the way artists register for the Staithes Festival. This is in order to meet our running costs, which have grown considerably over the last seven years as visitor numbers have increased. The changes also help us to reduce and simplify administration and the workload of volunteers who work all year round to put on such an enjoyable and worthwhile event.  


Artists exhibiting at the Staithes Festival 2019 will not be required to pay any commission on sales, however we have substantially increased the registration fee to £250. All participating artists will be charged this fee, whether or not they are sharing a venue.  Students in full-time education and permanent Staithes residents may register free of charge. They should submit commission of 10% of sales at the end of the Festival. 

Car park management costs covering both Staithes and Cowbar are now substantial. We also now have to commission professional car park stewards, insurance and an independent accountants review. We provide portable toilets, first aid and a taxi service to make the festival accessible to less mobile visitors.  

The speakers, musicians and public artists provide their services free or at reduced cost. Each year the Festival committee also makes contributions in support of good causes in the village. One volunteer receives a small honorarium because of the very substantial amount of time dedicated to the festival; all committee members give their time free of charge. 

This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly but have looked carefully at the fees charged for other similar events around the country. We want to continue to support the people who help to make the Staithes Festival so special and distinctive and which in turn attracts more visitors to the events and to the galleries.   We feel strongly that Staithes Festival still provides excellent value, bringing several thousand art-lovers into the village over the weekend, and we hope you share our view.  


As the Festival has grown, more and more artists are wisely taking it upon themselves to find venues in the village.  This means that each year we have fewer and fewer options for helping artists without venues to find somewhere to exhibit and our volunteers simply don’t have the time to do it.  For this reason we have decided that artists registering for Staithes Festival 2019 must have a venue.  You can search for a venue on the Accommodation pages of this website via the Plan Your Visit page.  

Late Registration

 Artists registering after the closing date cause a considerable amount of extra admin work for our volunteers as the Festival draws closer.  For this reason we will charge a late registration fee of £50 for registrations after 31st May 2019.

We hope artists will understand the reasons for these changes and accept that they are essential if we are to continue to host such an entertaining and worthwhile event for years to come.     


You can see who is exhibited in 2019  by clicking on Artists

To find what's on click on  Events and Music

For the latest festival news visit our Facebook page. 


Staithes Festival Bursary Opportunity 2019

The Staithes Festival Bursary is offered to support a young artist (under 25) participate in the Festival.  The bursary will cover the cost of a venue, registration fee and framing/display costs as well as mentoring from a professional Staithes artist and a gallery director.  If you would like to apply for the bursary you should email a brief description of your work along with 3-5  hi res images to Applications open on 7th March 2019 and close on 30th April 2019. For more information follow this link


Thank you to the supporters of the 2018 Festival

ICL UK – Cleveland Potash for their generous sponsorship of the specially commissioned sculpture by Katie Ventress. 

Saville Audio Visual and Ed Everard for the loan of equipment to run the outdoor picture show.


Staithes Festival Good Causes 2018 

The Festival has given financial support to the following good causes:

Pensioner's Christmas Party

Children's Christmas Party

Roxby Church Christmas Candlelit Service

War Memorial Fund

Hinderwell Church

Staithes Sports Association 

Staithes Community Fund

Coble Courier Bus Service

Village Hall Fund

Staithes Youth Group

Seton Community Primary School Art Fund

St Peter's Church Repair Fund

Fishermen's Lifejacket Servicing

Batteries for the village defibrillator