Westben Arts Festival Theatre
Welcome to World Class Music, Wide Open Countryside.
Bringing culture and nature together in perfect harmony, the magnificent 400–seat timber-frame barn opens onto a lush meadow, surrounded by the gently rolling hills of Northumberland County. The stage hosts an incredible array of renowned Canadian and international artists, from full symphony orchestras & choruses to chamber music and soloists. The best in class in a relaxed country setting!
As its primary series, Westben presents Concerts at The Barn every summer from late June throughout July. This five week festival presents music ranging from Bach to Broadway, and jazz. The Main Series of weekend matinee concerts are grand offerings of wide-ranging orchestral, chamber and choral music. The Music of the Night concerts on Tuesday evenings are an intimate exploration of classical repertoire by soloists.
Other colourful events include musical wine-tasting and Viennese balls. At Christmas, The Barn presents a seasonal celebration to warm the heart!
In addition, Westben’s year-round activities include educational initiatives such as in-school presentations, master classes and the 45-member Westben Festival Chorus, which performs at various venues throughout the year.
Co–founders, Brian Finley (Artistic Director) and Donna Bennett (Marketing Director), lead Westben’s wonderfully energetic full-time staff of five. The 12-member Board of Directors heads up a huge support team of volunteers, sponsors, donors and members. Westben also appreciates the support from all levels of government and several foundations.
Westben’s primary venue, The Barn is located three kilometres north-west of Campbellford, on gently rolling farmland previously owned by three generations of the West family. West School and West Cemetery lie just to the north, while the area’s principal brick-making machine sits in retirement in the front field. Purchased by the Bennett family in the 1960’s, the area was dubbed “Westben,”. Westben’s co-founders, Donna Bennett & Brian Finley built The Barn in 2000 with the help of the community. The Westben Board of Directors formed in 1999 and received charitable status in the year 2000.
Conceived to compliment its naturally beautiful setting, the timber-frame structure was designed and built by Didier Schvartz of Lakefield’s Sun Wood Company. With its massive fir and hemlock beams and locally-milled pine ceiling, The Barn has excellent acoustics. Walls and doors roll back to allow music to waft over the surrounding meadow. The stage is elevated by 4 feet. 300 cushioned theatre seats are located directly in front of the stage in 20 rows of 15 seats, all with an unobstructed view. Each of the two wings can accommodate an additional 50 folding chairs which offer good proximity to the stage and generally good sight-lines. These seats are offered at a discounted rate. You are welcome to bring a cushion with you.
Due to the open nature of the facility, Meadow Passes allow listeners to experience the music from the surrounding grounds. Sit at one of the picnic tables or on a bench next to the pond. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the music al fresco! Feel free to bring a picnic or order a picnic basket from Westben (see below). Meadow Passes are half the price of a ticket inside The Barn and are available on the day of performance (weather permitting) 90 minutes before performance time. Please call ahead to make sure they are available.