18 festivals around Hants & IoW
They're coming back! Diaries at the ready for our ultimate guide to the festival season in Hampshire, Isle of Wight and a bit beyond.
Quirky capers, muddy wellies, local food a cup or three of Pimms. Boy, how we’ve missed our festivals. After a year of just about everything being cancelled, we’re bang up for some Summer fun. Diaries and credit cards at the ready, book an early bird ticket or save the date for these fabulous festivals in or around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Winchester Hat Fair, Fri 2 – Sun 4 July
With a tagline of “the art of the unexpected”, Winchester becomes a cacophony of curious sights and moments during the Hat Fair in July. With street theatre, dancing and bonkers things at every turn, this is Winchester in a totally different light. This year, for safety, all three days will take place at North Walls Recreation Ground and the festival will be ticketed. Keep a close eye on the website and socials – this one will go fast!
Victorious Festival, Southsea Common, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Aug
Did you know that Victorious actually started out as a vintage event in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard? Fast-forward a few years and it’s become one of the highlights on the UK festivals calendar. Baggy trousers at the ready for this year’s headliners: Madness, The Streets, Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass, Rag’n’Bone Man and loads more. Dance the August Bank Holiday away on Southsea seafront with great tunes and a beautiful view of the Solent.
Wickham Festival, Thurs 5 – Sun 8 Aug
The Wickham Festival is a super family affair, just outside of Fareham. Just because it’s slightly smaller than other local festivals, don’t expect anything less. With the the legendary Van Morrison headlining plus the usual mix of folk, ska, psychadelic country funk (!), circus acts and more, the 2021 line-up is extremely varied and ticks the boxes for most tastes.
Kitesurfing Armada, Hayling Island, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Sept
The sleepy spot of Hayling Island becomes a non-stop action-packed spot each Summer with the Kitesurfing Armada. Bumped forward to September, this part-festival part-gala is where the great and the good of the kitesurfing world descend to Hants and fill up the skies with their aerial acrobatics and pretty-coloured canvasses. And they can certainly party too, with live music, food and the Baywatch theme tune blaring out for good measure, this is one for all you who like to hang loose.
Lymington Seafood Festival, Sat 16 – 18 July
If you want foodie fun in the New Forest, check out Lymington Seafood Festival. An absolute Muddy must-visit, the festival is packed with artisanal street food from local producers. Demonstration kitchens will get you cooking like a pro. Plus there’s a line-up of soul, rock, pop and folk music to go with your lobster. This year, advance tickets (£5) are a must, so grab ’em now.
Dogstival, Burley Park, Sat 5 – Sun 6 June
One of the few festival survivors of 2020, this woofing fabulous event in the New Forest will return with more human and doggy fun. New for 2021 is ‘Barkour’, an adventure playground for dogs. The poochy fun continues with pup participation activities, a giant ‘K9’ dog diving pool, IQ games and loads more. Then there’s live music and 140-plus independent stalls selling doggy delicacies and kit, plus locally-sourced food and drink for hungry hoomans.
Lendy Cowes Week, Sat 31 July – Sat 6 Aug
If all that mud and camping isn’t your cup of tea (or flute of champers), then Lendy Cowes Week could be a better option for your festival calendar. This week-long regatta of sailing prowess in the Solent is also a huge social event. Think parties, music and a spectacular fireworks display. Watch from your yacht or head into the Cowes town for all the fun and games.
CarFest South, Laverstoke Park Farm, Fri 23 – Sun 25 Aug
CarFest South may sound like a souped-up car show but its actually a family weekend extravaganza. Hosted by auto-nut Chris Evans, you can ogle over fancy cars and even take a spin in some. Then, sing and dance your heart out with the likes of The Charlatans, Happy Mondays, Razorlight and Marc Almond. There’s an awesome retro lineup including Soul 2 Soul, Human League, All Saints and Rick Astley. Plus DJ sets from Basement Jaxx, Judge Jules, Faithless and more. Not to be missed.
Nostalgia Show, Stanstead Park, Fri 25 – Sun 27 June
We travel back in time now to a kitschy little number in Rowlands Castle’s Stanstead Park. Dig out the wiggle dress for this one and get ready to party like it’s 1959. Expect pimped prosecco, retro donkey rides and lots and lots of taffeta. On stage, there’ll be vintage delights including Johnny Victory, Dawn’s Vintage Do and Lady and the Dukes.
Park Proms, Fri 27 – Sat 28 Aug
All set to be a future Hampshire festival staple, they don’t get much bigger than this new, orchestral big hitter. The magnificent Broadlands Estate near Romsey will play host to Park Proms. On the opening night bill are the world-famous, 78-piece Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, top tenor Aled Jones and superstar soprano Laura Wright. On Saturday, it’s James Morrison, Pixie Lott, Scouting for Girls and indie folk act, Eliza and the Bear. Watch out for Muddy going crazy at the front…
Isle of Wight Festival, Newport, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 September
Tents at the ready – the Isle of Wight Festival is one of the original and best. Bumped forward to September, you can pitch up and rock out to the sounds of Liam Gallagher, Snow Patrol, David Guetta, Duran Duran, Tom Jones, The Script, Sam Fender, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and more.
Rhythmtree, Shalfleet, Isle of Wight, Friday 9 – Sun 11 July
More under-the-radar than its internationally-recognised Island neighbour, The Isle of Wight Festival, Rhythmtree is an altogether smaller boutique affair. Which is precisely what fans on and off the Island love about it. On the lineup of 120 live acts across 7 stages are the likes of The Wailers, Badly Drawn Boy and The Skatlatites as headliners. Look out too for the gorgeously eclectic Transglobal Underground. Expect great local Island food, kooky costumes, arty activities and more.
Hampshire Country & Garden Festival, Whitchurch, Sun 27 June
A blooming lovely affair in the rolling Test Valley countryside, this altogether more sedate festival has loads to offer. The Hampshire Country & Garden Festival will be held at the picturesque Bere Mill, a farm, garden and 18th Century Water Mill on the banks of the Test. A must-visit for gardeners, with cooking demos, Pimms galore and loads of family fun for a grand day out, it’s a celebration of all things Hampshire. All profits are donated to the Hampshire Medical Fund, supporting local hospitals and patients. We’ll raise a glass to that.
HAVE TENT, WILL TRAVEL
Latitude, Suffolk, Thurs 22 – Sun 25 July
Latitude has always been a hot ticket in the festivals calendar with its laidback vibe and impressive lineup. This comeback year looks set to be no different. With big-name pop rock from Bastille, Snow Patrol and folk duo First Aid Kit – plus one of the best comedy tents in the calendar – best get your ticket sorted fast.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, Thurs 29 – Sun 1 Aug
The enduring offshoot of Bestival (RIP), Camp Bestival is set in the gorgeous grounds of Lulworth Castle. Headliners include Fatboy Slim and Groove Armada and its jam-packed with entertainment. There’s also a huge kids’ area (2021 headliners are Mr. Tumble and Andy and The Odd Socks – aka mini mudlet Glasto…).
Summertime Live with Classic Ibiza, Berks, 14 Aug
Windsor’s answer to the White Isle. The Urban Soul Orchestra will be banging out classic Ibiza anthems on 14 Aug, with live DJ and vocalists. Giddy up to the Royal Windsor Racecourse, bare some flesh and party till dawn. OK, OK, 10pm…
Nocturne, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon, 16 – 19 June
A festival for people who’s idea of slumming it is popping to a posh portaloo. More a series of alfresco concerts than a face-down-in-the-mud-at-2am-type affair, Nocturne will host David Gray, UB40, Simple Minds and Lionel Richie on consecutive summer nights.
Pub in the Park, Chichester College, West Sussex, Sat 24 – Sun 25 July
Don of pub grub Tom Kerridge is bringing his foodie fiesta just over the border in Chichester. Naturally, The Hand and Flowers will make an appearance, along with other top notch pubs and restaurants. There’s also a great music line-up including Rudimental DJ, Beverley Knight and Gabrielle.