About Us





The first Cheltenham Festival of Music was held in 1945, and it is now internationally regarded as one of the UK’s most prestigious celebrations of classical music. The CMFS was founded (as the Cheltenham Festival Society) in 1952 to assist with the financing of the Festival.  Since then our remit has broadened somewhat to include forms of support other than the purely financial. In 2015 it was decided that members should often be referred to as "Friends of the Cheltenham Music Festival", and the two terms are now used interchangeably.

The Society today

The support of the CMFS is vital to the continued success of the Music Festival. By becoming a member you help us to:
• sponsor concerts
• commission new works (see list)
• support the educational outreach programme

In addition, you have the opportunity to be personally involved in other ways such as:
• helping with publicity
• offering hospitality to visiting musicians
• providing feedback to the organisers


We have an active programme of events, both during the Festival and throughout the year. A lunch takes place during the festival and all members/friends can attend this.

For full details of membership benefits and how to join, see our Membership page. The Society is a registered Charity, No. 281044.


The Society as a whole has in recent years contributed over £10,000 annually to the Music Festival.  Furthermore, several groups of our members have formed syndicates which provide additional funding for performances, and in the past many have contributed funds to enable recently qualified young musicians to perform alongside seasoned professionals.


Relationship with Cheltenham Festivals

The Society works closely with the artistic direction and management teams for the Music Festival.  We like to think that our comments and advice greatly contribute towards the Festival's continuing success.


Cheltenham Festivals have their own Membership scheme, which gives discounts and priority booking for all four of their festivals (Jazz, Science, Music and Literature).  Please note that Cheltenham Music Festival Society members no longer enjoy complimentary membership of the Festivals Membership scheme, but from the 2016 Festival members have had a short period of booking before booking for members of Cheltenham Festival starts.


Our Diamond Jubilee


In 2012, we marked 60 years since our foundation in 1952 - our own Diamond Jubilee! We celebrated with a special cake at our annual reception during the Festival in July, which after being admired, was duly eaten by those present.


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