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 Cancelled

We are very disappointed to have to announce our decision to cancel Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage 2020 which was due to take place on 12th/13thSeptember.

This is in line with current government advice to avoid unnecessary travel and large gatherings to limit the spread of the Corona Virus. While we are aware that by September the contagion may have peaked and the restrictions may be relaxed, this is far from certain. Even if it were the case, we feel the economic impact of the pandemic will continue for some considerable time to come and this in turn will adversely affect our Festival.

We are taking this decision now to avoid incurring any costs in advance of this year’s Festival so that artists and caterers who have registered will be able to receive a full refund of their fee. Our Treasurer is aiming to make repayments back through the Stripe registration system, directly to everyone who has registered with the Festival already. He is looking into this urgently, but, if it is not possible, we will contact those artists with alternative arrangements.

We hope artists, heritage enthusiasts, devotees of Staithes and all our visitors who were looking forward to another hugely enjoyable Festival this year will understand the reasons for this … and join us next year to make SFAH 2021 a celebration to remember!


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



Artist Registration

Last year we made 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 2020 will not be required to pay any commission on sales, instead they will be asked to pay a one-off registration fee of £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. 

The registration fee allows us 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 2020 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 30th April 2020.

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 Good Causes  

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