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Festivals in Hampshire - Summer 2017

PUBLISHED: 10:30 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:09 08 June 2017

Sun Queen on the main stage at last year's Isle of Wight Festival. Picture: Liz Murray

Sun Queen on the main stage at last year's Isle of Wight Festival. Picture: Liz Murray


The sweet scent of summer means that festival season has arrived in Hampshire. Whether you want to slurp your way around a wine fest or dance all night in a field we’ve got it covered. Natalie French brings you our festivals special

Isle of Wight Festival - June 8-11

Across the Solent, the Isle of Wight Festival has another colossal line-up, including hip hop legends Run DMC.

Organiser John Gidding says: “Being the first festival of the summer is a fantastic opportunity for us to put our stamp on the season. This year we have such a huge breadth of acts, with almost every genre and age-group catered for, we really have something for everyone. Arcade Fire will be playing their only UK festival date of 2017, dance superstar David Guetta and Rod Stewart will be closing the festival on Sunday night. We have a great line-up of younger acts like Zara Larsson, Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Bastille, George Ezra and Nothing But Thieves, who are all doing incredible things at the moment.”

Lasham Music Festival - June 8-11

The Lasham Music Festival takes place at venues in Alton and Lasham, bringing exciting musical talent from across Europe to a Hampshire audience.

Artistic Director Josh Hall, said: “The festival is a professional showcase of iconic chamber music and includes instrumental and vocal works by composers such as Schubert, Brahms and Bach, while introducing rarely performed works.”

The programme includes Schubert’s string quartet, Death & the Maiden, by the Mowsbki Quartet, Louis Spohr’s rarely performed Nonet and Johannes Brahms Symphony No.2 for 13 players under French conductor, Chloe van Soeterstede, who was assistant conductor with the Halle Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic.

Tickets to each event are £10 adults, £5 children & students. An early bird pass to four concerts is £30.

Let’s Rock Southampton - July 8

Let’s Rock Southampton is bringing retro back for one day only. Don your best shoulder pads or neon attire and sing your heart out to 80s classic from the likes of Human League, Tony Hadley and Belinda Carlisle. This family-friendly event has lots of free stuff for the little ones – including face painting and circus workshops, leaving the grown-ups to reminisce about their youth over a few 80s cocktails. 

Basingstoke Festival - June 16-Sunday July 9

Basingstoke Festival returns for its sixth year, with a new theme: ‘Born in the borough’ – with a special nod to local talent. This ties in nicely with the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen – who was born in the borough of Steventon, just down the road. The festival will celebrate the world-renowned author, who penned some of her best known work whilst living in the local area.

The ‘home-grown’ focus will continue with plays and food festivals, hosted by local organisations and held across the borough to help bring arts and performances to underused places.

The festival ends in style with Basingstoke Live – a two-day, free music festival on July 8-9 at the War Memorial Park. Offering up an eclectic mix of music, including headliners, Dub Pistols – who are guaranteed to draw in the crowds. 

Alresford Music Festival - June 10

This super-chilled, family-friendly one day-er is a little-known secret gem of a fest. Welcoming 3,500 folk to Arlebury Park for a hazy day sprawled out on the grass, listening to good music (from the five stages), decent booze and a plethora of free stuff to keep the kids entertained all day long.

This year, headliners Molotov Jukebox promise to ramp up the atmosphere in an explosion of colour and energy, fusing violins, accordions, vocals and rhythm in a mixture of ska, latino, soul and funk.

The band, whose fans describe their style as gy-step (a combo of dubstep and gypsy styles) is fronted by Natalia Tena – who you may recognise as Game of Thrones wildling, Osha, as well as Tonks from Harry Potter.

Tickets start at £15 and under-5s go free. There are free shuttle buses between the festival and Alton and Winchester stations, or you can camp from £5 per night.

Blissfields, Vicarage Farm, Nr. Winchester - July 6-9

Wedged between Winchester and Basingstoke, Blissfields transforms a beautiful Hampshire valley into a beat-filled wilderness.

Founders Paul and Mel Bliss said: “We’re so proud that our little festival is getting bigger, without getting bigger. We’ve added more to the programming this year without increasing the capacity, meaning even more bang for your buck.”

“This year we’ve opened a door onto the bizarre, and will be dressing Vicarage Farm accordingly with a lot of cross-dimensional beings and happenings. Our references come from all over, but culturally speaking there’s a few nods in there that people will recognise. For instance, we’ve got DJ Yoda performing his Stranger Things Mixtape live on the Thursday night. He’s headlining the all new and improved Larch stage”

Other headliners include: The Cinematic Orchestra, Metronomy and the Dub Pistols. 

The Ginchester Fête - June 10

When life gives you lemons, stick them in your bag and head straight to Ginchester.Ginchester Fête will take over the Great Hall in Winchester on ‘World Gin Day’, offering locals the chance to celebrate our region’s buzzing gin scene.

This will not be your run-of-the-mill event, and whilst you’ll get to sample some fantastic gins, you’ll also have some fun as you enter into the spirit of a quintessential English summer fête. Expect gin cocktails, complimentary punch and the chance to meet local distillers such as Gorilla Spirits, Pothecary Gin and Winchester distillery. What better way to while away a few gin-soaked hours?

Hampshire Food Festival - July 1-31

Organised by Hampshire Fare, the festival showcases the county’s foodie credentials with a month-long line up of events. From gin distilleries to vineyard tours; walking with buffalo to meandering through lavender fields – there is something for everyone. Try charcuterie making, master new cooking skills, or dine at pop-up events with chefs including MasterChef 2016 champion Jane Devonshire and fellow contestant Juanita Hennessey.

Jane will host a fine dining experience packed with Hampshire ingredients at The Myers Touch in Kings Worthy near Winchester on July 6 at 6.30pm. All profits go to Ark Cancer Charity in Basingstoke.

Tracy Nash from Hampshire Fare said: “The festival is now in its 17th year and continues to grow in popularity. As a county we have such a thriving local food scene we love being able to celebrate it and encourage people to discover the flavour of Hampshire.”

Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival - July 23

Hampshire fizz is holding its own in the wine world and, to celebrate, the vineyards of Hampshire take it in turns to host an annual sparkling wine festival. This year’s event is in the charming vineyard maze at Cottonworth Vineyards, with the River Test at the bottom of the field. Soak up the views and sample sparkling wines from eight Hampshire vineyards, meet the winemakers, take part in a workshop or join a guided tour of the winery. Just don’t forget to book a taxi home.

£10 per person, workshops £5 per person (food & wine pairing; wine & chocolate tasting; Chardonnay tasting) 

Curious Arts Festival - July 21-23

This eclectic boutique festival is back for a fourth year with a stellar literary line up of authors, fantastic comedy, kids programme and music, all in the idyllic grounds of the privately-owned Pylewell Park in the beautiful New Forest.

Highlights include: Music from Tom Odell and Izzy Bizu; author events with Dave Eggers and people’s poet Lemm Sissay; comedy from TV stars Ed Byrne, Paul Tonkinson and Simon Evans; opera, cricket, poetry trails, snail racing, night bat-walks, life drawing and even a spot of mindfulness.

For the children, other curious happenings include a special poetry event with Lemm Sissay; a Jabberwocky Hunt led by a pop up theatre group for children aged 3 and above, and a dedicated children’s comedy show by Howard Read. Children 13 and under go free.

Winchester Hat Fair - June 30–July 2

The UK’s longest running festival of street theatre and outdoor arts is back for the first weekend of July and what’s more, it’s totally free! Two jam-packed days of arts and culture will take over the ancient cobbled city – offering up everything from magic, contemporary dance, music, mime, ariel and circus to installation art. Finish up on the Sunday at the all-day family picnic at Oram’s Arbour, with some of the world’s most spectacular street performers.


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