Whatever your age, taste or background there are a whole
host of festivals to get your musical juices flowing, writes Liz Nicholls
Festival season is upon us – which is great news for us here at Round & About (we’re big fans of a bash). Perhaps you are one of the supremely dedicated / lucky few to have bagged yourself a Glastonbury ticket..? Yes the Mother Of All Festivals is back at the end of June but if, like me, you’ll be enjoying it from the comfort of your sofa there are loads more to get fully immersed in…
“I’ve been going to festivals with my wife and festival buddy Josie since the early ’90s and made some halcyon trips to Glastonbury and Reading,” Rob de Bank, Bestival curator tells me. “I’ve slept in a collapsed tent partially underwater, canoed down a Glastonbury thoroughfare, got emotional watching Stevie Wonder and Elton John at Bestival and tried Fuji Rocks in Japan and Coachella in the American desert for a change… but the festival I’ll always come back to is our very own Camp Bestival. We created the show for our kids and their kids and future generations so it’s very close to our heart but it’s also so much fun. And the ultimate way to have some fantastic family time away from screens and technology. I can’t wait to see Chic, Annie Mac and The Human League here this year.” This summer’s dance-deluxe Camp Bestival at Dorset’s Lulworth Castle, 25th to 28th July, has a heroes and superheroes theme and also offers bangers in the form of Jess Glynne, Sister Sledge, Goldie and others including Omid Djalili and Mr Motivator. Visit www.campbestival.net
Quirky beauty Boomtown returns to Matterley Estate in the South Downs from Wednesday 7th to Monday, 12th August, featuring a stonking line-up including Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets, Chronixx, Chase & Status, Groove Armada, Slaves and Salt-N-Pepa to name just a few. District AREA 404 is the new home for techno, headlined by Carl Cox, Amelie Lens, Fourtet and more, www.boomtownfair.co.uk
Don’t go thinking it’s all about raving, though…. Guildford International Music Festival, 10th to 25th May, showcases impressive classical recitals, specialist guitar and cello days, experimental electronica and more; www.surrey.ac.uk/arts
Down in Brighton, The Great Escape, 9th to 11th May, is the place to go for fresh new music; www.greatescapefestival.com. Foodies will love family-friendly Althorp Food & Drink Festival on 11th & 12th May in Norfolk, with demos from Jean-Christophe Novelli and Ken Hom OBE. www.spencerofalthorp.com. And raise a glass to the family-friendly Elstead Royal British Legion Beer Festival, 24th to 26th May, with a Surrey Blues Society Summer Bash on the Sunday from 2pm in aid of Phyllis Tuckwell.
Dogstival, hosted by Chris Packham in the New Forest on 18th and 19th May, has fields, woodlands and its own beach for you and your canine pals to enjoy; www.dogstival.co.uk. This is not to be confused, pet-lovers, with local Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick’s DogFest at Knebworth House this month; www.dog-fest.co.uk. Foodies will flock to Alresford Watercress Festival on Sunday, 19th May, and Alresford Music Festival is on Saturday, 8th June. Visit www.alresfordmusicfestival.com while the Southampton Mela Festival returns to Hoglands Park on Saturday, 13th July; visit www.southamptonmela.com
Family-friendly Winchestival returns on 15th June with The Magic Numbers, Cassia and Lauran Hibberd, comedy from Milton Jones, Zoe Lyons, Jonny Auwsum, street food and more; www.winchestival.co.uk. Half a century on from the Summer Of Love, the Isle Of Wight Festival is still pulsing, 13th to 16th June, with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, George Ezra, Fatboy Slim and more; www.isleofwightfestival.com. Once again, Hampton Court Palace is the stunning backdrop for Jools Holland, The Jacksons, Nile Rogers & Chic, Kylie and Michael Bublé during June; www.hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com.
Enjoy the Windsormania Family Music Festival on Sunday, 30th June and Rita Ora will play at Royal Windsor racecourse on Saturday, 24th August; www.windsor-racecourse.co.uk
Latitude at gorgeous Henham Park near Southwold, 18th to 21st July, offers Primal Scream, EverythingEverything, Underworld, George Ezra, Slaves, Lana Del Rey and more; www.latitudefestival.com. Giddy up for some Jockey Club Live musical highlights at UK racecourses, including Madness (24th July), Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra (31st July) and Jess Glynne (8th August); www.thejockeyclublive.co.uk
Staycation Live returns to Godalming’s Phillips Memorial Park on August 2nd, 3rd & 4th offering a broad range of music, local food and entertainment. www.staycationlivefestival.co.uk. The same weekend, Frimley Lodge Live will dazzle you with some superb cover bands and more; call 01276 707600 for details.
Wild wonderland Wilderness Festival returns to dazzle high society festivalgoers in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, 1st-4th August. You’ll find banquets and feasting, plenty of celeb-spotting opportunities, lakeside hot tubs, yoga and intellectual and cultural brain food and lectures as well as Robyn, Groove Armada and Freya Ridings. Visit www.wildernessfestival.com
Held in Tilford every August since 2007, Weyfest has built a great festival reputation (think a polite party with posh loos). This year’s shindig at the Rural Life Centre, 16th-18th August, features our cover star Gabrielle, The Lightning Seeds, Reef & The Brand New Heavies. www.weyfest.co.uk
Reading Festival rocks the August bank holiday weekend (23rd to 25th August). This year’s stars are The 1975, Foo Fighters, Blossoms, plus Fredo, Billie Eilish, Stefflon Don and Camelphat; visit www.readingfestival.com. Over the same weekend Victorious returns to Southsea Common starring Rudimental, Plan B, All Saints and more; www.victoriousfestival.co.uk
Love kitesurfing, watersports and live music? Kitesurfing Armada, 21st to 23rd June on Hayling Island is the biggest event of its kind in Europe and is free to attend; www.armadaevents.co.uk/kitesurfing-armada. Supporting children’s charities, Chris Evans’ Car-Fest heads to Hampshire’s Laverstoke Park, RG25 3DR, from 23rd to 25th August; www.carfest.org
The UK’s longest running outdoor arts festival, Winchester Hat Fair, 5th to 7th July has free fun for all ages; www.hatfair.co.uk. And Hampshire Food Festival takes place 1st to 30th July with fun for all tastes; www.hampshirefare.co.uk
A dazzling black-tie party in a stunning riverside location, Henley Festival, 10th to 14th July, has another great line-up this year including Boy George, Jessie J, Bjorn Again and Jo Wiley with her ’90s anthems as well as comedy from Ed Byrne, Andy Hamilton, Julian Clary and more;
Curated by the mighty Nile Rogers, Meltdown Festival is a series of gigs at the Southbank Centre, 1st to 13th August; visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk
British Summertime brings global superstars to Hyde Park for your aural pleasure. On Friday, 5th July it’s Celine Dion, Saturday is a celebration of Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand is Sunday 7th, Florence + The Machine and The National on Saturday 13th, and Robbie Williams, Texas, Feeder and Black Eyed Peas are on Sunday 14th. There’s also the BST open house with free fun, 8th to 11th July; www.bst-hydepark.com
Groove Armada will headline Greenwich Music Time on Friday, 5th July, against the backdrop of the city at the Old Royal Naval College. This is one of a series of concerts, 1st to 7th July, also including Paul Weller and Cliff Richard. www.greenwichmusictime.co.uk
Further afield, Y Not? festival in Derbyshire will star Elbow, Wolf Alice, Reverend and the Makers and more, 25th to 28th July; visit www.ynotfestival.com
Enjoy your summer!