The principal venue for the Festival is the Priory. The Priory, founded in 1169 by Robert de Vaux, stands as a witness both to a turbulent history and to the persistence and endurance of the Christian faith in this part of Cumbria. The Church of St Mary Magdalene serves as the Parish Church of Lanercost, which is part of a benefice including the nearby St Mary’s Walton, St Mary Magdalene’s Gilsland and St Cuthbert’s Nether Denton. The fine acoustic qualities of the Priory make it an ideal venue for musical expression.
In recent years, the festival has extended to embrace the Dacre Hall, believed to be the oldest Village Hall in the country. The Hall was at one time the banqueting hall of the western part of the Priory when the latter was the home of the Dacre family The hall is used by a number of local groups and for functions such as concerts, wedding receptions, etc.
The Lanercost Tea Room is now included among the venues for the festival. In addition to playing host to a concert by Bandidos, a Latin-inspired folk-jazz combo on the evening of Friday 24th June, the Tea Room gives valued support to the festival in the form of discounted lunches for people attending the lunchtime concerts and recitals, and also food, by prior arrangement, for concert performers and audience members.
The Lanercost Cricket Club is much more than its name suggests. In addition to providing a venue for the appreciated and well-supported cricket matches during the summer season, the pavilion serves, all year round, as a Friday evening pub and gathering place for local people and any visitors to the area. It is also used as a venue for local functions such as quiz and racing nights, and also for jazz, blues and folk music concerts, for which the small, cosy, low-ceilinged surroundings make it an ideal venue. This year, the cricket club will host a performance by guitar duo John Bailey and Matt Wells, to take place on the evening of Saturday 25th June.