🇬🇧 Kent Pilgrims’ Festival
21 Settembre - 25 Settembre
Discover a modern-day pilgrimage festival full of walks, performances, and events to help you reconnect with Kent’s rich pilgrim heritage, beautiful landscapes and nature, and like-minded people.
The packed and varied programme for the Kent Pilgrims Festival, which is being coordinated by the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Trust and the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome, in partnership with match funders and stakeholders, has just been announced.
The festival takes place this autumn from the 21 – 25 September, and will celebrate both the rich pilgrim heritage of the county of Kent and pilgrimage itself as a wider tradition. Pilgrims have been following the county’s ancient paths and following in the footsteps of the millions gone before them since the medieval times, and our members will be familiar with UK’s own 30km-stretch of the Via Francigena.
As our members will know, pilgrimage is, in its modern form, open for all to enjoy and experience. It can be transformational, and invites locals and visitors alike to experience new people and places. The simplicity of pilgrimage is the perfect antidote to our fast-paced modern living, and making a connection with the natural environment, your surroundings and other people is encouraged. The Kent Pilgrims Festival this September will celebrate the county as a global destination for a modern interpretation of pilgrimage through a series of walks, talks, exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, and events.
The festival hopes to reach out to audiences and inspire those who never thought of pilgrimage as something for them to enjoy. In addition to the abundance of walks, there are a host of accessible events to suit all ages and interests. From performances of poems and music evoking the experience of walking from Canterbury on the way towards Rome, to three-day workshops on saint icon painting culminating in an exhibition, and the release of Red Billed Choughs, there really is something for everyone.
As well as the Confraternity’s coordinating role, we shall be giving a series of short talks on the practical aspects of pilgrimage in Dover (see below), and Victoria Field – known to many members for facilitating our online conference last year – will be giving a series of recitals, O Roma Nobilis, with her husband Eduard Heyning on each day of the festival in different venues along the Via Francigena.
Carlo Laurenzi OBE, chair of the Confraternity’s Board of Trustees, commented: “This modern-day pilgrimage festival encourages everyone to join, whether you’re seeking natural beauty and places of glorious creation, looking for real connections – with yourself and something greater, or improving your health and wellbeing while reconnecting with your faith. All you need is a love of the great outdoors.
“Pilgrimage doesn’t have to be religious at all. Improving wellbeing, recovering from a loss, or even raising money for charity are just some of the reasons people take part. Pilgrimage welcomes people of all faiths or no faiths. It’s open to all. Bring your own beliefs.”
The seven pilgrim routes surrounding the festival include the North Downs Way, the Via Francigena, the Way of St. Augustine, the Augustine Camino, the Old Way, the Pilgrims Way and the Royal Saxon Way. The routes range from short and easy to follow walks for beginners to much longer UK to Europe ventures for those seeking a greater challenge.
For the full programme of events visit: www.kentdowns.org.uk/kent-pilgrims-festival