Since 1957 the Festival has been held initially at 5-yearly but from 1967 at 4-yearly intervals. Its aims are to bring world-famous artists, rising young stars and award winners to Saddleworth with some very talented local organisations, all adding to the rich cultural mix.
The roll-call of past performers includes such names as Janet Baker, Cleo Lane and John Dankworth, Peter Donohoe, Dmitri Alexeev, Steven Kovacevich, Nikolai Demidenko, Evelyn Glennie, Wayne Marshall, Huddersfield Choral Society, Prunella Scales, Timothy West, Dorothy Tutin, John Amis, Humphrey Littleton and Helen Shapiro, John Mortimer, Julian Lloyd Webber, Barry Cryer . . . . .. the list goes on.
Orchestras and instrumental ensembles who have appeared include the Hallé Orchestra, the Guildhall String Ensemble, The Northern Sinfonia, the Goldberg Ensemble, the Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra, the Medici Quartet, the Skampa Quartet and many more.