An opera singer is hoping to do her hometown of Barrow proud at an upcoming festival.

Jess Dandy, 34, will play a key role in the Ulverston International Music Festival, which is set to run between Friday, May 31 and Sunday, June 9.

Read more: 2024 Ulverston Music Festival 20th anniversary information | The Mail (

This year represents the 20th anniversary of the festival, which means the performance is going to be even more special for Jess.

She said: "I moved back to Barrow in September after living in London so the show is a way of exploring my own heritage, as well as the town.

"The whole festival focuses on highlighting the creativity of the area so I'm more than happy to play a role in that."

The Mail: Jess will be performing alongside Anthony Hewitt and Neil Curry in 'Knowing Your Place – Ideas of the North in Words and Music'Jess will be performing alongside Anthony Hewitt and Neil Curry in 'Knowing Your Place – Ideas of the North in Words and Music' (Image: Ulverston International Music Festival)

Jess will be performing alongside Anthony Hewitt, the organiser of the music festival, and Neil Curry, a local poet. 

Read more: Where to catch the 'BeethoVan' for Ulverston Music festival | The Mail (

The trio will use their talents to bring the audience on a journey of the north of England, moving from coast to coast to shine a light on what the region has to offer artistically.

"It's a real privilege, if just because the Coronation Hall is such a beautiful location," Jess added.

"I used to go there as a lot as a kid so it played an important part in my childhood - so I probably still look at it with that childish wonder and glee."

For the singer, this is just the latest step on a musical journey that has seen her perform all over the globe.

The Mail: Jess has performed all over the worldJess has performed all over the world (Image: Submitted)

"I went to Cambridge to study languages, French and German, but then there was an opportunity to sing in the choir.

"It was really intensive training and was a baptism of fire in that sense, but I fell in love with it all the same."

Whilst Jess might have taken part in singing lessons as a kid, it was this exposure that changed her trajectory, with a stint at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

Jess will be performing on Friday, June 7 at 1pm with an informal, introductory Q&A taking place at 11:30am.

You can get your tickets here for the performance and all the other shows at the festival too.

It is not too late to book your seats, with highlights including performances from Nicolas Daniel and Huw Watkins, the Dave Bristow Quintet, and the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Festival highlights include:

Nicolas Daniel & Huw Watkins: Tuesday June 4, 12.30pm

Nicholas Daniel is regarded as one of the world’s greatest oboist. In this performance he is joined by his frequent collaborator Huw Watkins who is equally highly regarded as a pianist and composer. The programme ranges from a Mozart Sonata for Oboe in F major to ‘Monata Taylor’s Blues' by Matthews. 


Anthony Hewitt and Friends - French Impressions: Thursday June 6, 7.30pm

This is a celebration of French Chamber Music on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy It includes a gorgeous programme of works by Debussy, Fauré and lesser known Cancan & D’Indy. Be drawn into the experience of an evening with friends palpably enjoying playing together.


Dave Bristow Quintet: ​Friday June 7, 7.30pm Jazz Night 

For Jazz afficiandos who like their jazz more gentle and subtle, without the ear-splitting decibel levels that often accompany contemporary groups - this is for you. To quote Anthony Hewitt, pianist & Festival Director: 'The blend and balance of sound is glorious, the most refined jazz sound I have heard in a long time. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to Bach.'