The Queille Festival occurs every odd year over the last weekend in May. QX, the tenth Queille Festival will be held over the weekend of 26th to 29th May 2017. Starting on Friday evening and running through until the early hours of the following Monday morning, the festival combines the highest possible standards of performance, repertoire and artistry with the informality of a family gathering. Click here to see a list of some of the performers in 2017. The family numbers about 260 performers, helpers and patrons, who mingle and mix in the buildings, grounds and surroundings of the beautiful Château de Queille in South West France. Whether they come as friends or not, they invariably leave as such and often return.

Along with music, theatre and poetry come traditions of bonfires at night, to dance around and where stories are told, a short trek or treasure trail to a hidden picnic where a champagne lunch, a stunning view of snow-capped Pyrenees and fun await; a final banquet with circus acts and dancing. The programme comprises classical, jazz and other music, theatre and dance performed in the 11th century chapel or in the "big top" circus tent. Food and wine, some of it cooled by the river that flows around, is provided for all and included within the cost of a ticket.

The Festival is completely inclusive: all the performances, the fringe and ambience; all the food and drink for the three evenings and the two lunches which occur during the Festival are included. Ticket prices in 2017 are 350 per adult and 70 per child. Tickets for children under 5 are free. A limited number of tickets exist for full-time students at a special price of 180.

Queille itself is an ancient home in Cathar Country, which sits atop a rock from where it looks out to Montségur and the Pyrenees. There is accommodation in nearby hotels, chambres d’hotes or lodgings (click here). People are also more than welcome to camp in the grounds or to hire one of the medieval tents which are pitched all around (see the ticket booking page for details).

Queille’s size and location limit the numbers that can be involved. This, coupled with the Festival’s spirit to see and hear sublime things in a remote and wonderful setting, means that the Festival can never become a commercial venture. We rely on the goodwill and generosity of the artists and on a brigade of people who help organise, set up, cook and clear up.

Transport to Queille is easy and can be cheap, especially if you book in advance: fly to Carcassonne and you are a less than an hour away; Toulouse and Perpignan are both under two hours; Montpellier and Barcelona are about three hours away. Links to the major carriers, Ryanair, Easyjet, BA and Air France can be found on the Links page. Transport to the festival itself from Mirepoix will be arranged, if there is sufficient demand, but it’s certainly better to hire a car when you make your travel arrangements, if you can manage it.

Space is always limited, so it’s wise to book early.

Elizabeth Watts performing in the Chapel (2007)

At the Moulin Rouge (2003)

Cosmic Sausages with Guest Bassist (2005)

Between Concerts (2009)

Some Characters from Art (2013)

The Sacconi Quartet performing in the Chapel (2013)