Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage

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

Festival 2024 is on Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 September, with preview night 7pm-8.30pm Friday 13 September

Doors of cottages are thrown open as pop-up art galleries in a unique selling exhibition. 

Celebrating the history and heritage of Staithes with a programme of walks, talks, photographs, and film shows.

North York Moors, Scarborough Borough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire
Heart Bottles

Glenn Kilpatrick

Staithes Festival FAQs

For more details, contact us on Keep up to date with the developing Festival programme by logging into our Facebook page and by clicking back here. We'll update this site as the programme is confirmed. 

When is the festival?

Preview night is Friday 13 September 7-8.30pm (some galleries and music). Galleries / music / heritage events / pop-up food run  throughout the weekend 14-15 September. Galleries are open 10am-5.30pm. Events will continue into the evening.  

What does it cost?

Registration fee is £250 for an artist not sharing a venue. If two artists are sharing, it's £150 per artist. If three or more artists are sharing, it's £100 per artist. Fees are paid on registering. Full-time students and full time Staithes residents (those living within five miles) don't pay the registration fee but we do ask for 10% commission of their takings. Commercial caterers pay £250, and pop up tearooms pay £10% commission on their takings. The registration fee is vital for funding this year's and future festivals

We don't charge visitors to get in but we may charge them to get out! There will be collection boxes around the village - please use them!

What do I get for my fee?

The fee buys artists a spot on the festival map used by all visitors to navigate their way around the village. It will include an image of their work, link to their website and number of their venue. We will be distributing thousands of programmes. Our website will also feature an image and an artist's biography, and receives thousands of hits before the festival. We will also be doing press around the event, so there's every chance any of the artists could be featured / picked up.

 How do I pay?

You will be directed to the fee page fee when completing the online application. You will find all the details and a guide on how to register on the Online Registration page. Commission on sales for students and Staithes residents is 10% of takings and should be declared at the end of the festival. Returns should be made to the Treasurer either in Staithes before you leave or soon after. Money raised during the festival will go back into the pot to support next year’s festival. Surplus will be donated to community projects. 

 How does the Festival work?

Artists find their own gallery either through friends in the village or by renting a cottage. We have a non-exhaustive list of properties / holiday companies on the Plan Your Visit page.  Artists and owners must make their own hire / lending arrangements, plus how much is shown and how it is to be hung / displayed plus who will look after the gallery.  We open the festival on Friday evening and galleries open 10am-5.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

 What happens on Friday evening?

The Festival launches on Friday evening 7pm-9pm. It's usually a convivial affair, an opportunity to invite friends, colleagues, patrons and residents of the village, to view your gallery. It is up to the artists and venue owner to send out invitations to their contacts and encourage visitors to view and possibly buy on the first evening of the festival, but all visitors are welcome. A glass of something and a nibble helps the convivial atmosphere, but there is no obligation. It is up to the artist and the venue owner to organise the preview as they wish. 

Who chooses the art?

There is no selection procedure, this is an open festival. Artists who wish to exhibit must register via the website and pay the registration fee.

How do I find a venue?

Artists should find their own venue  before applying to the festival. 

Who curates the exhibitions?

It is for the artist to ensure the gallery is manned throughout the festival. Normally they will look after their own show. If venue owners are there, they may agree to stand-in from time to time, but there is no obligation. Some artists bring friends to help so they can have a peek in other galleries.

Do other festivals work the same way?

Yes. Our inspiration is Pittenweem in Fife, Scotland. Like Staithes, Pittenweem is a fishing village with a collection of small cottages. They began with a few houses opening as galleries and now have over 100 artists exhibiting in private and public buildings making a valuable contribution to the economy and profile of the village. Other festivals operate on similar lines, including the Buxton Festival Fringe.

 What about insurance?

Artists and cottage owners are required to have their own public liability insurance. We may ask to see your insurance certificate. The festival takes out £5m PLI for £5m which does not cover galleries or artists' work. Venue owners may wish to inform their own insurers about the festival. We understand insurers respond differently. Some are just happy to be informed, some will ask for an additional premium to cover the weekend, others will not want to insure at all. 

How do I contact the Festival organisers?

During the festival, the festival office (HQ1)  will be very visible in the High Street. If you wish to contact us prior to the festival, email 

Must all entries be through the website?

Yes. We have now established a simple online registration system and all entries should be made online. If you have a problem with this contact Artists failing to register will not be considered part of the festival. 

How can I find out what’s on?

As artists register and we confirm speakers and events, these will appear on our website and our Facebook page. Our Twitter feed is @Staithesfest.

Where can I find a programme?

The festival programme with artists, maps and events, will be available for £3 as an online download and from our HQs in the village during the festival. Stewards will be on duty at the top and bottom of the village with programmes. The £3 fee goes towards festival funds.

I'm a busker and would like a pitch, how do I find one?

There will be designated pitches for music/entertainers. These will last for no longer than an hour. All buskers must register with the festival - contact Chris Wade at