The Words & Music Festival was born in 2008, the brainchild of Cheshire-born musician/record producer, Nigel Stonier, internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore and violinist/local youth orchestra leader, Clare ‘Fluff’ Smith. The trio expressed a wish to develop an event that brought original music, poetry and literature to the market town of Nantwich.

The mission: To bring an unlikely mix of international names and new acts to the core of Nantwich, to find and celebrate the many points where original music, poetry and literature meet, was quickly embraced by the town. As the festival's name has spread, audience members have travelled from all corners of the UK, as well as Japan, France, Scandinavia, Germany and Spain to enjoy the unique intimacy of the gigs and the beauty of Nantwich.

Nine years later, the festival goes from strength-to-strength. Gigs featuring iconic and internationally known musical names sit alongside poetry readings in the town's museum, and performances from new up-and-coming names in cafes, bars and restaurants.

Headliners have included Badly Drawn Boy, The Lightning Seeds, Mike Scott, John Cooper Clarke, Athlete, Simon Armitage, The Magic Numbers, John Bramwell (I Am Kloot), Mary Gauthier, Tim Burgess, Stuart Maconie, King Creosote, The Wonder Stuff, Mark Radcliffe, 'Whispering' Bob Harris, Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots), Eliza Carthy, Martin Simpson, Rod Clements and Don Paterson.

The festival, which is driven and staffed by a team of local volunteers, attracts hundreds of visitors from all over the UK and beyond. Words & Music remains an independent event supported by ticket sales and the generous contributions of our sponsors.

Nigel, Fluff, Thea and the team are always interested in your opinions and ideas. Please don't hesitate to contact us at

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