Dates have been announced for the annual festival which will be commemorating D-Day.
From Monday 24 to Sunday 30 June, a usually quiet field in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, will come alive and be transformed into the world’s largest festival entirely devoted to history.
Spread over 60 acres, it is a unique combination of talks, discussions and topical debates, plus a vast living history encampment, where the very best living historians bring history to life with their extensive knowledge and passion for their subjects. The Festival also boasts a range of interactive tents and activities such as SOE Commando training and Royal Signals Morse code lessons; as well as archaeology walks, vintage vehicles, a book store, shopping emporium, a bar, fine dining and street food.
This summer, over 150 talks and debates will be delivered by eminent historians, writers and commentators. Speakers already confirmed include: Victoria Hislop, Michael Wood, Mariella Frostrup, Niall Ferguson, Kate Williams, Max Hastings, Elif Shafak, Ian Kershaw, Kwasi Kwateng, Neil Oliver, Antonia Fraser, Ben MacIntyre, and Olivette Otele. Plus, appearances by Ken Tout, a veteran of one of the most famous tank engagements of WWII, and John Jammes, French resistor and winner of the Croix de Guerre.
The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings will also be marked at Chalke Valley this year, and there will be a special D-Day morning to commemorate all those who fought in the Normandy campaign. For the first time, the Festival will also be recreating a World War II trench. The scene will be set in late June in 1944 and members of the public will be thrown into a fly-on-the-wall scenario that will demonstrate the equipment, conditions and dangers facing British troops on the Normandy frontline.
In addition, the festival weekend will see a new programme of living history events, showcasing the age of the Anglo Saxons and Vikings, right the way through to World War II.
Brand-new themes for 2019:
Exploration: How exploration and navigation has changed, demonstrating the techniques of the Vikings, Tudor explorers such as Drake and Raleigh and also Captain James Cook.
Historic Home: Exploring the changing ways in which we live. From the Vikings to the Age of Chivalry and from the Tudors to the Stuarts, living historians will be showing how clothing and dressing has changed over the centuries, and how cleanliness and attitudes to hygiene have also progressed.
The Royal Anglians: The Festival weekend falls on Armed Forces Day, which this year will be centered round the local cathedral city of Salisbury. To tie in with this event, the Festival will play host to over 20 current British Army infantrymen from the Royal Anglian Regiment who will be transformed into British infantry from 1944. Using their current skills, they will be demonstrating both what has changed in the intervening years and what has remained much the same with a series of events that will showcase equipment, weapons, tactics and infantry skills.
Tickets will go on sale on 30 April. Further information about the Festival will be posted on the website at www.cvhf.org.uk over the coming months. The Chalke Valley History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DS.
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