A guide to putting on the ultimate classical music festival, at your own home!

18 June 2020, 14:52 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 15:52

An opera festival, from your garden? Or how about a summer symphony from your sitting room? Here's how you can make it happen...

We might be enjoying summer 2020 from our own homes and gardens – but with so much amazing music online at the moment, we can still find a way to indulge in the world's classical music festivals. All without going too far!

Whether you fancy a summer opera festival or heading to the concert hall on a balmy July night, here's our guide. You're just a few steps away from your own symphonic occasions, fit for the age of lockdowns and social distancing.

  1. Choose the genre and your type of festival

    One of the silver linings of a world in lockdown is the amount of incredible music that's being published online. The world's greatest orchestras and most spectacular venues have all been showcasing their finest performances.

    Your first step is to choose what you want to see at your personal festival. Play the programmer, and indulge your musical fancy. Is it the power of a symphony orchestra, the gentle refinement of a chamber concert, a passionate opera, or an uplifting musical? Follow your heart and what would thrill your festival audience.

    Orchestral concert
    Picture: Getty
  2. Pick the music

    You've chosen the genre, now pick the piece.

    Summer music festivals always need big, show-stopping music. Go for a banger of an opera or an orchestral performance of a great symphony or a favourite West End musical.

    Some might require subscriptions online, some suggest donations. This can be a great way to do a little to support the arts at this time.

  3. Choose the location

    If you fancy your Overtures thundering through your HD TV, a festive living room might be the spot.

    If you're lucky enough to have a sun-filled garden or patio, head there and stream from laptops or tablets. Make sure you head online and get a good Bluetooth speaker (you'll be thankful, laptop speakers don't always do a full orchestra justice!).

  4. Now, decorate!

    Indoor or out, things need to look festive! So bring out the table cloths, bunting, an ice bucket, summer blooms and candles as the evening draws in.

    Head online and order the special touches you need for your special-occasion summer decor.

    Union Jack bunting
    Picture: Getty
  5. Plan your food and drink

    Summer festivals are the time to indulge in good things. Smoked salmon, cheese, fresh summer strawberries and clotted cream (that's got you in the mood, hasn't it?).

    Head online and treat yourself. Order a delivery for the morning of your festival, and don't forget to add a few festive treats to your cart!

    Picture: Getty
  6. Get social

    In recent weeks, work-life and social life has become something we are increasingly doing virtually from home. Video meetings are now a regular part of life, and a great way to bring in friends to your at-home festival.

    Invite them to take your lead, and then have a virtual catch-up over a glass of bubbles, and then – with mute buttons activated – settle in for a joint musical main event.

    Video call
    Picture: Getty
  7. Dress up

    If you've been working from home, you've probably been wearing your tracksuit bottoms quite enough.

    It's time to slip into something colourful, summery and fancy – take that summer dress or linen jacket for an outing. If you're heading to your garden, make sure you add sunglasses and hat.

    (And here's a little inspiration from lovers of operatic live streams!)

    Bow tie
    Bow tie. Picture: Getty
  8. Have fun and enjoy!

    Music festivals are all about having a great time, enjoying the company, quality time with friends, indulging in good food, and losing yourself in the music.

    Have a final strawberry, fill your glasses, turn the music on, and then sit back and drift away. We think that's what we all need this summer.

    Picture: Getty

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