The ideas festival, Big Ideas by the Sea, returns to Scarborough for a ten day extravaganza of culture, music, discussion and activism from 20 May - 3 June 2022.

Following its triumphant debut festival in 2021, which saw over a thousand people attend, festival Directors Kane Cunningham and John Oxley have announced an even bigger and better exciting festival programme for the 2022, building on last year’s success.

This year’s festival will see a variety of events, concerts, workshops and activities will taking place across multiple venues in Scarborough, all based around the festival theme of ‘Transition’.

Festival highlights will include:

Award winning folk musician, Eliza Carthy will perform work from her new album in the iconic Scarborough Market Hall.

Popular poet, Ian McMillan, known as the Yorkshire Bard, will read from his new book, My Sand Life, My Pebble Life.

Flautist, Rob MacKay, will be performing his composition, ‘Networking the Flight of the Monarchs’, live at the Old Parcels Office Artspace, alongside fellow musicians streamed live from across the world.

A performance by the charity 6 Million+, including giant puppets representing 5 female refugee experiences from across the world. <add more detail/image

Festival Co-director and Artist, Kane Cunningham said, ‘We have a full and exciting programme exploring the contemporary issues and themes that people care about. This year we are working with Our Stories* on our Agents of Change! event, which focuses on environmental activism and includes free workshops, stalls and storytelling. We also have incredible speakers, such as campaigner Phoebe L Hanson, a key speaker at last year’s COP 26 and Judy Ling Wong, founder of the Black Environment Network.’

The festival will also include the return of ‘Big Dig 2’, an archaeological dig where residents are able to take part and try their hand as an archaeologist!

Highlights found in Scarborough gardens during the Big Dig 2021 included a Neolithic flint arrowhead and a fragment of a Scarborough Ware face jug, which was determined to be approximately 800 years old. Visitors will once more have the opportunity to see and handle objects found this year and will be able to learn about their fascinating history and purpose from experts.

Budding archaeologists will be taken to the Jurassic era and back again in the Ancient World by the Sea workshop, led by Joann Fletcher and Marie Woods and hosted at Woodend. This event is hugely popular, so booking is essential.

Co-director and Archaeologist, John Oxley said, ‘The Big Dig 2 will be our biggest and most ambitious community project yet! Working in partnership with the Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society and other community groups, we will explore the rich archaeology of Scarborough’s Old Town.

Time Team’s Professor Carenza Lewis (pictured) will be joining us to review the finds, and there will be an exhibition and children’s activities in Scarborough Market Hall. Fun for all the family!’

Speaking of Yorkshire Coast BIDs involvement, Chair, Clive Rowe-Evans said: “We are delighted to continue our support of such an exciting festival, that brings so many people together.

“The themes discussed and developed through the work undertaken by Kane, John and the team is a testament to the talent not only here in Scarborough, but also by those inspired by the town over the years.”

Big Ideas By The Sea 2022 is funded by the Yorkshire Coast BID, the National Lottery Community Fund, Anglo-American, and supported by Scarborough Borough Council.

*Our Stories: Whitby, Scarborough and Filey is supported by the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area and campaigns improve social mobility and education standards in the area by inspiring children to read.

For more information go to Tickets can be purchased from