All the fun of the festival - ten West Country specials, photo courtesy of FarmFest
All the fun of the festival - ten West Country specials, photo courtesy of FarmFest
Glastonbury Mendip Hills PLACES

Party on West Country: ten music festivals coming to a field or park near you

Music sounds even better outside.  The granddaddy of all festivals started in right here in the West Country and we have Glastonbury to thank for putting Somerset cool on the map.

Glastonbury needs no introduction but if you’d prefer something smaller we have a whole load of groovy festivals going on around us.

Some of these festivals are carefully crafted boutique affairs, uber-cool events.  Other festivals refreshingly abandon any pretensions to style by not taking themselves too seriously.  Each gives a true character of all the wonderful places we have in the West Country.  Most offer camping so pack up your sleeping bag and enjoy a summer set to music under the stars.

Camping at FarmFest, near Bruton
Camping at FarmFest photo courtesy of FarmFest

Some of the festivals such as FarmFest offer more luxurious glamping options.  All are within easy driving distance so if you don’t fancy a night under canvas you can come back to the comfort of your own bed.

The music festival season gets seriously underway in May. Party in the City kicks off this year’s Bath International Music Festival. Thousands of performers will take over the city’s live music venues, churches, parks and museums to deliver Bath’s biggest free event. Featuring Bath’s choirs, orchestras and up-and-coming bands, expect to hear everything from rock to opera, and jazz to hip-hopera. For the first time there will be two outdoor ‘festival hubs’ with music, local food and drink, head to Parade Gardens and Queen Square for the festival atmosphere on Friday 29 May.

Love Saves The Day returns to Eastville Park, Bristol for its fifth instalment on 28-29 May.  The two day event hopes to immerse Bristol in the very best electronic and bass music, boasting a mix of installations, elaborate decor, with a high level of production.  The line-up is massive, and one of the headlines is Dizzee Rascal – can’t wait.

Festival band
Submotion, photo courtesy of Alex Rawson and Farm Fest

Backwell Festival features world music.  In fact, extra-terrestrials will also be welcome as the theme is inter-galactic.  For the first time the festival will span two days from the 2 – 3 July so go along and enjoy cool global rhythms in a field in North Somerset.

Frome Festival is no mere weekend.  Frome Festival spans ten days from 1-10 July and encompasses art and literature as well as music.  Eclectic activities including ukelele workshops and a Magical Folk Tree feature.  Billy Bragg is headlining.

Hazy Days is Weston-super-Mare’s brand new music festival, the first annual not-for-profit music and arts festival for the town.  Taking place on the weekend of the 8-10th July in 2016, this event will covering a diverse range of live music, contemporary art in the newly refurbished Tropicana on Weston Seafront.  The organisers hope to create a carnival like atmosphere for both people from Weston, and visitors from around the South West to enjoy.  It’s free to enter but it’s best to register a place online.

High on the Mendips, Priddy Folk Festival on 8th-10th July has a loyal following and deservedly so.  A wonderfully authentic festival, Priddy is in its 25th year.  Fab music on the village green with plenty of stalls to check out.  Camping is at the nearby site, this friendly fest is known for a great weekend for all the family.

Live Mendips is more than a little excited that The Proclaimers are returning to the Village Pump Folk Festival for the 22-24 July.  Get grooving to the broad-based line-up of ska and contemporary Scottish folk near Westbury.

Festival people
Chilled out vibe, photo courtesy of FarmFest

Chic Bruton nestles in deepest Somerset.  FarmFest at Gilcombe Farm on 29-30 July has everything you could ask for in a festival: beautiful location, beautiful line-up and beautiful people.  Camping is free is you bring your own tent or book a bell tent and glamp in your own personal marquee.

Farm fest logo
Party in beautiful Somerset, photo courtesy of FarmFest

There will be an extra special Extravaganza at Glastonbury Abbey on 6 August.  The 2016 spectacular, complete with traditional firework display, will be the 20th Extravaganza to be held in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.  Celtic legend Van Morrison will headline the 20th Anniversary Abbey Extravaganza on Saturday August 6th, one of only a handful of dates the singer will be playing in the UK this year.   Jamie Cullum is playing too so two great singers for the price of one.  Camping is sold out but you can go on the waiting list.

Somewhere inbetween Nempnett Thrubwell and Stanton Drew (love these names), Valley Fest has a great location in the Chew Valley.  The festival has a fab line up; Craig Charles’s Funk and Soul Band and the Stereo MCs with more to be confirmed.   It takes place on 2-4 September but it’ll be worth waiting for over the summer.

So what are you waiting for?  Book your tickets and get ready to party in a field.

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