offical Bruton Town website - photo by Gareth Griffiths
15 December 2019 10°C

Packhorse Fair

Packhorse Fair

The first Bruton Packhorse Fair was held in 1999, born of a proposal at a meeting between John Howard Greaves, Honey Pegg, Andrew Pickering and Martyn Trevellyan to form the Bruton Festival of Arts. From then the first year of the Arts Festival programming began.

The Packhorse Fair was, from the start, really well supported (Lisa Pickering was volunteered in her absence to organise it, and still does!). We wanted to focus on all that Bruton has to offer and to create a fun, community event to launch our festival week. We aimed to provide opportunities for charities, voluntary organisations and local businesses, as well as to promote our huge array of local musicians, artists and artisans.

In a very short time the Packhorse Fair established itself as a huge community event that people assumed had been a tradition over centuries, not just a few years. After its two first successful years the Fair outgrew the space in Lower Backway and we were given kind permission by King’s School to use some of their grounds. This provided us with a wide grassy area and the space to put up a stage.

The Packhorse Fair ran for ten consecutive years, although the 2008 one was rather hindered by sixty-mile-an-hour winds and the Brue rising nearly to the refreshment tent, and after a bit we realised we had to tell the remaining brave souls to pack up, because of the extreme conditions.

There was then a break for a few years, for a number of reasons, one being the increased costs of laying on an ever-expanding event, with new licensing regulation and rising insurance costs to contend with. The Fair returned triumphantly in 2012, and is now firmly in the Bruton calendar, held on the late May Bank Holiday,

For more information please call Lisa Pickering 01749 813 772 or email
For booking a stall please contact Abi Baker by email at
For advertising/sponsorship please contact Lisa Pickering. Artwork should be sent to Wilf Swann at