The idea for a Festival developed from the restoration of the organ in Aldborough church. The Laycock & Bannister organ was built in 1927 in memory of Andrew Sherlock Lawson (1855-1914). By 1990 the organ was in such a poor state that had it been left much longer it would have been beyond repair.
A fund raising committee was formed in 1991, and by 1993 sufficient money was raised for Malcolm Spink of Claypoles to start the restoration.
Anthony Tapp, who headed up the fund raising for the organ, suggested to Richard Cooper, that a Festival of Music could be organsied to celebrate the restoration of the organ. The first festival took place between July 14-17 1994, and proved to be a great success.
Everyone in the village was notified about the idea of making this an annual event. At this stage it was thought that a festival could be a means of raising money for the church. The general response from the village was enthusiastic, and a founding committee was formed and charitable status applied for. The founding committe consisted of Richard Cooper, Anthony Tapp, Chris Tuffs and Anne Stephenson.
The Festival has witnessed significant expansion in subsequent years, under the stewardship of subsequent artistic directors Martin Dreyer, Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred and Robert Ogden, and while it no longer raises money for the church specifically, it continues with a core aim of bringing exceptional music from world class performers to new audiences, in rural locations where it wouldn’t normally be heard. The current organising team of Festival Director Robert Ogden and Festival Co-ordinator Philippa Abrahams reports to the Festival Board chaired by Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred. The Festival celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2018.