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Festivals in Hampshire - Summer 2017

PUBLISHED: 16:08 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:08 29 June 2017

Manic Street Preachers drew fans of all ages last year at Victorious Festival (Photo: Stefan Venter & Sara Venter)

Manic Street Preachers drew fans of all ages last year at Victorious Festival (Photo: Stefan Venter & Sara Venter)

Stefan Venter & Sara Venter: All Rights reserved

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

Basingstoke Festival - June 16-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. 

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.”

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. 

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. 

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.

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) 

Wickham Festival - August 3-6

The historic village of Wickham, north of Fareham, hosts another chilled-out family-friendly festival this summer, with the Grammy award-nominated singer-songwriter KT Tunstall at the helm.

Other headliners include 10CC, The Levellers, Motolov Dukebox and Seth Lakeman, along with Scottish instrumental Celtic fusion band, The Peatbog Faeries.

Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Wickham Festival has been voted Britain’s best festival for a capacity of under 15,000, making it perfect for families with its boutique vibe. 

BoomTown Fair - August 10-13

Our most mind-blowing festival is back with a vengeance. Transforming a beautiful valley at the Matterley Estate, near Winchester, into a sprawling metropolis. With room for 60,000 people, this is the biggest immersive music and theatrical festival in the world, boasting almost 30 stages and nine distinct districts. Artists span a huge variety of genres, including reggae, folk, jazz, world, dub, dancehall, ska, house, techno and garage.

Headliners this year include the American hip hop legends Cypress Hill, The Specials, M.I.A, Arrested Development, The Sugar Hill Gang and Frank Turner. 

Portsmouth International Kite Festival - August 12-13

The skies above Southsea Common will be filled with a myriad of kites of all shapes and sizes. This free event, jointly organised by Portsmouth City Council and The Kite Society of Great Britain, is the 26th Portsmouth International Kite Festival.

This year’s theme is ‘The Seven Continents’ and the festival welcomes kite fliers from six of the continents of the world (as Antarctica proved a little tricky!). Entrants come from China, Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, North and South America as well as countries across Europe. Plus, of course, kite fliers from Great Britain.

The festival will have a stunning and colourful demonstration of the art of kite flying and kite making, reflecting the tradition of kites around the world, with many kites in the sky and on the ground for visitors to enjoy and admire. These include beautiful single line kites, intricately appliquéd or painted with magnificent designs, cellular kites, flying miracles of structural engineering, 3D soft kites in a range of shapes and sizes and kites performing tricks and routines to music. 

New Forest Fairy Festival - August 12-13

Don your finest fairy and elf costumes, sprinkle on some fairy dust and escape to the New Forest for a friendly, uplifting, fun weekend amongst the enchanting home of the New Forest Fairies.

It’s said that nestling in the lea of a hill, where time stood still for hundreds of years, live the Forest Folk, under every leaf, behind every tree. Keep your eyes peeled, as you spend the weekend enjoying family-friendly entertainment and workshops, including handmade arts and crafts designed to help you discover the magic of nature. There’ll be live acoustic bands, story-telling, belly dancing, a healing area, art and lots more. Just come with an open mind – fairy wings optional. 

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival - August 19-20

One of Britain’s top foodie festivals returns to the rolling green hills, just outside Newchurch, on the beautiful Isle of Wight. Now in its 35th year, the island’s unstoppable show is perfect for garlic fiends – with the chance to sample and buy a vast variety of pungent delights.

Beyond the bulbs, this year’s expanded food theatre kitchen will feature BBC star chef and best-selling author Valentine Warner, while on Sunday, catch star baker Jane Beedle, from Britain’s hottest TV show, The Great British Bake Off. She follows Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, who appeared last year. There will be demonstrations of favourite recipes, book signings and a chancne to chat with the experts, along with an array of local food people and talented chefs.

Non-stop live entertainment includes music from classic 60s and 70s hitmakers, Marmalade and The Quo Experience, along with local acts; The Vander Brothers and Garlic games. 

Victorious Festival - August 25-27

Hampshire’s seaside shindig has secured some epic headliners for this year’s summer fest on Southsea Common.

The all-new Friday night opening party will be headlined by Madness, whilst Welsh Rockers Stereophonics and Mercury-winning Mancunians Elbow top the bill for Saturday and Sunday.

Drum and bass pioneer Shy FX and frequent collaborator Stamina MC bolster the dance bill and are guaranteed to deliver an old-school jungle rave.

Other acts include Jake Bugg, power pop trio Feeder, Franz Ferdinand, nu-punk duo Slaves, KT Tunstall and Tanzanian rapper Tiggs Da Author. 

Somerley Beer & Music Festival - August 25-26

Spend a (very) hazy bank holiday sampling over 180 real ales and ciders; a spot of wine tasting, perhaps, or the obligatory festival Pimms. Somerley Beer & Music Festival returns to the beautiful Walled Gardens at Somerley House and promises to be a laid back, possibly horizontal, affair. There will be plenty of delicious local food to line the stomach from Bratwurst to wood-fired pizza. So you can sit back and soak up the live music at this quintessentially British fest.

Graze Festival, Winchester - August 27

This home-grown festival returns to Twyford for its third year, promising a family-friendly day of live music and fine food whilst raising money for local charities in the process.

Expect an onsite pop-up pub with gin and fizz bar and a dedicated kids’ area to keep everyone happy. There’s a live theatre and performance stage, cooking demonstrations.

When it comes to this year’s acts, organiser Nick Seagrave says: “This year we’re focusing on great music from the 90’s - both Stereo MC’s and Republica are hugely popular artists, and are sure to deliver energetic performances to our growing audience of local festival goers.”


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