AUG 31 - SEPT 2, 2018

The Lapwing Festival is a unique event celebrating its third year in 2018. Four outstanding artists will perform in the magical setting of the Coastguard Cottages, Cuckmere Haven. This year we are expanding to a beautiful marquee with views of the cottages, the Cuckmere Valley and the cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Only 60 tickets are available for each of these incredibly intimate recitals. Profits will be donated to the Cuckmere Haven SOS campaign, which seeks to save the cottages from coastal erosion.

Concert Tickets: Adults £40, Under 16 £5.
Lunch Tickets: £35, Guest Speaker, author Juliet Nicolson
Festival Pass: All four concerts and lunch for £175, a saving of £20

All tickets include drinks and canapés. 


On Friday and Sunday evenings we have the great privilege of screening 'Cuckmere: A Portrait', a 30-minute collaborative film made by Cesca Eaton and composer, Ed Hughes. It premiered this year at the Brighton Festival and tells the story of the Cuckmere River from its source to the sea. This film will follow the concerts by Maya Youssef and Thomas Dunford.

On Saturday evening we are thrilled to host a pre-screening of Manu Delago's new 30 minute film 'Parasol Peak', a unique and awe-inspiring movie in which Delago leads an ensemble of 7 musicians on a mountaineering expedition in The Alps. Along the way, the group perform a collection of brand new compositions in different locations, at varying altitudes.

Ticket holders for any Lapwing event are welcome at these screenings.

Wild Spirit Nature Walk:

On Saturday morning Cole Moreton will lead a 'Wild Spirit' walk, beginning at 10am at the South Hill Barn Carpark.

"We gather for an hour or so in the open air. We take time to breathe in where we are, to experience it through all of our senses for a while in a very gentle, led meditation and to try to understand the place, its history and geography and what is going on... The idea is that the divine – by whatever name is used – is present in the natural world, if we will take time to stop, breathe and listen.

There is no cost, no membership and no expectation of you, beyond being present.



Providing delicious local produce

hepworth logo

Hepworth Brewery


Providing our festival marquee

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - Once frequently seen and heard on the wing at Cuckmere Haven, Lapwing populations have suffered significant declines in recent years and the bird has now been given Red Status by the RSPB. The Lapwing represents the fragile and ephemeral state of the beauty of this beloved place.

Lapwing call, accompanied by skylarks, bitterns, redshanks, pheasants and sedge warblers (audio by Lawrence Shove)



Cuckmere Haven - "A breathtaking scene...", Simon de Bruxelles for The Times, April 2016

The Cuckmere Haven Coastguard Cottages were built shortly after the National Coastguard Service was founded in 1822. The Lapwing Festival is an extraordinarily intimate occasion to experience music performed by world-class musicians. Guests will be seated in a snug acoustic marquee with views of the cottages, the Cuckmere Valley, the Seven Sisters and the sea. Evening performances will be by candlelight, accompanied by the waves and, hopefully, the cry of the Lapwing.

Learn about the Cuckmere Haven
SOS Campaign

Find out more about the Cuckmere Valley



Option 1. Park at the South Hill Barn Car Park off Chyngton Way. Walk past the gate on the left and it's a ten minute walk to the marquee, on the left of the track about 100m from the cottages. A good level of fitness is required. There is limited parking at the cottages, and we must be very careful not to mark the grass on the reserve. Please contact us if you have any mobility issues. Disabled guests can be brought to the marquee by vehicle.

Option 2. Park at the Cuckmere Inn and walk twenty-thirty minutes along the Cuckmere Valley. Please note you must be on the western side of the Cuckmere River when you begin the walk!

Option 3. Public Transport: Catch a bus to the Cuckmere Inn and walk for 30 minutes on the western side of the Cuckmere River to the Coastguard Cottages. A good level of fitness is required. Alternatively, catch the train to Seaford and catch a taxi (about £10) or walk for an hour along the cliff tops. Lifts can also be arranged in advance. There are trains or train-replacement buses running from Seaford to Lewes, Brighton and beyond until late in the evening.


Manu Delago


„amazing percussionist and Hang player“ (Björk)

When Manu Delago discovered the Hang - an enchanting sound sculpture Manufactured by PanArt in Switzerland - he simultaneously discovered his passion for writing music. His Hang solo piece Mono Desire was in the Top30 music videos on Youtube.

With his ensembles Manu Delago Handmade and Living Room he has released several albums and performed in prestigious venues all over the world. The Austrian musician also frequently collaborates with Björk, Anoushka Shankar, The Cinematic Orchestra, Joss Stone, Andreya Triana, Shpongle, Bugge Wesseltoft, Aurora Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Thomas Dunford


Hailed as a "rock star" of the lute, Thomas Dunford began studying the instrument at age 9. He was enrolled in the class of Charles-Edouard at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, where he won first prize with honors in 2006. He continued his studies with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum in Basel. He has performed internationally as a soloist and as a chamber musician, frequently appearing with modern chamber orchestras and period ensembles across Europe and in Asia. He regularly plays with Ensemble Marsyas in classical and jazz works, and he has recorded with Monica Huggett, Andrea Benedetti, Jean-Michel Fumas and the Eliza Consort, La Sainte Folie Fantastique, La Cappella Mediterranea, Ensemble Clématis, La Serenissima, Capricio Stravagante, Arcangelo, and Pygmalion.

This recital will feature works from his recently released 'Bach' album on the Alpha label. 

Maya Youssef


From Syria, speaker, humanist and virtuoso of the qanun disseminates peace through the healing power of music.  

Damascus born Maya Youssef is hailed as “queen of the qanun”, the 78 stringed Middle Eastern plucked zither. She moved to London under the Arts Council’s “exceptional talent” scheme and has played at the Proms and alongside Damon Albarn. When the war started in Syria, writing music was “no longer a choice” and that was the birth of her highly acclaimed debut album Syrian Dreams (produced by the legendary Joe Boyd). For Maya the act of playing music is the opposite of death; it is a life and hope affirming act. For her, music is a healer and an antidote to what is happening not only in Syria, but in the whole world.

Lea Desandre

Mezzo Soprano

An operatic newcomer award winner at France’s Victoires de la Musique Classique 2017, the Franco-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre also won the the HSBC prize at the Festival of Aix en Provence in 2016. Having trained in Paris, then in Venice, with Sara Mingardo, she was also a ballet dancer for 12 years.

At the young age of 20, she was the winner of the prestigious Jardin des Voix of William Christie with whom she set off on a world tour: Alice Tully Hall, Sydney Opera House, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, KKL Luzern, Philharmonie de Paris. After embodying Dorabella in the premiere of Nicolas Bacri’s Cosi Fanciulli at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in 2014, she first appeared at the Shanghai Symphony Hall in the works of Handel, as Sesto (Giulio Cesare) and Ruggiero (Alcina) conducted by David Stern, then at the Theater an der Wien with Raphael Pichon as Céphise in Zoroastre (Rameau).

juliet nicolson

Juliet Nicolson - guest speaker

Juliet Nicolson is a social historian and biographer. Her first two books of social history were “The Perfect Summer” about the year 1911 and “The Great Silence” about the period 1918-20. Juliet’s most recent book, “A House Full Of Daughters” is a family biography. She has multi-generational connections to the area and now lives in Alfriston. Juliet will discuss how iconic structures such as the Coastguard Cottages contribute to our cultural identity and sense of place.


Seckou Keita - kora

Maria Martinez - cello

Ignacio Prego - harpsichord

Cheng Yu - pipa, guqin

David Dimbleby - guest speaker


Liam Byrne - viola da gamba

Joseph Tawadros - oud

Anthony Albrecht - cello

John Crockatt - violin

Dr. Glenn Albrecht - guest speaker



Invalid Email

Join our mailing list

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.


Lapwing Festival 2018: August 31st – September 2nd

July 7, 2018

We are thrilled to announce the third Lapwing Festival, running from August 31st to September 2nd, 2018. We have an outstanding line-up of artists: Maya Youssef – “the Queen of the Qanun” Manu Delago – hang drums, frequent performer alongside Bjork and Anoushka Shankar Lea Desandre (with Thomas Dunford) – mezzo soprano, exquisite performer in…

Lapwing Festival 2017 has launched!

May 10, 2017

We are thrilled to launch the second Lapwing Music Festival, taking place from September 8-10 this year at 5 Coastguard Cottages, Cuckmere Haven. Our four soloists this year include: Dr. Cheng Yu, a traditional Chinese instrument specialist Ignacio Prego, an internationally renowned harpsichordist, performing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations Maria Martinez, a stunning Spanish cellist Special guest, Seckou…

Lapwing returns in 2017

February 18, 2017

The Lapwing Festival returns for its second year from September 8-10, 2017. Stay tuned for announcements about artists and other delights!

Lapwing 2016 a huge success!

August 10, 2016

The Lapwing Music Festival, held for the first time at the Cuckmere Haven Coastguard Cottages on August 5-7 this year, was a stunning success. Featured artists includedJoseph Tawadros, a multi-award winning virtuoso oud player and composer, Liam Byrne, professor of viola da gamba at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, John Crockatt, violinist and a member…

Lapwing Festival launches today

August 6, 2016

We are so excited to have begun the Lapwing Music Festival with yesterday evening’s beautiful performance by Liam Byrne, professor of viola da gamba at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It’s a glorious sunny day here at Cuckmere Haven. Sales for the festival have been a great success, with at least 20 tickets…

© Lapwing Music Festival 2018