MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
FESTIVAL: CarFest South, Laverstoke Park Farm, Fri 23 – Sun 25 Aug
A celebration of music, cars, fab food, all curated by a 90s pop culture icon. Chris Evans’ CarFest South is back and even bigger than ever. Located on Formula 1 ledge Jodie Scheckter’s farm (which makes a cracking buffalo mozzarella by the way), check out acts like Tom Odell, Texas, Boy George and many more.
Starting off the month with some cool vibes is Jazz on The Test at the Greyhound on the Test (Sat 3). With acts such as Sticky Toffee Jazz (how cool is that name?), Matt West, Gramophone Grooves and Kingsley Mitchell & The Funk City Trio, with a long drink and good weather this is a fab way to spend a Saturday.
Music, fireworks and a chance to have a nose around Downton Abbey… yes, please! The Battle Proms Picnic on Sat 3rd at Highclere is going to be massive. There’s a Napoleonic Cavalry Display plus the Red Devils will be displaying their free-falling/parachuting prowess in the skies above, before a HUGE gun firing, Spitfire flyby and music by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. You can also order a gourmet hamper from The Little Picnic Company and hire chairs, gazebos and rugs to watch in comfort. Tickets cost £39.95 if booked beforehand or £45 on the day.
Towards the end of the month is The Wight Proms (29 Aug – 1 Sep) and its so much more than waving a flag to Land of Hope And Glory. As well as the musical calendar (Lesley Garett will be popping up as well) there’s also free workshops for kids in things such as drumming, stand-up comedy and even opera singing. Also worth checking out is the fantastic comedy line-up featuring Alan Davies and Shappu Khorsandi and Esther Manito.
The festival calendar for August is rammed and with plenty of shindigs for all ages and tastes. Starting off the month is Great Wonderfest (1 – 4) This is a brand spanking new festival for the Island is at the start of the month, with enough music cred for the teens and lots of fun for the kids. Presented by CBBC’s Dick & Dom, acts include The Vamps, Busted and Sigma, plus appearances from Peppa Pig and Rastamouse. There’s also a whole host of healthy living and wellbeing activities to take part in if you need some R’n’R after all that camping.
Also on this weekend is the Wickham Festival (1-4), one of the coolest, off-the-radar, festivals out there. With Wessex superstars Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls headlining (Hampshire, represent!) and Kiefer Sutherland (yep, Jack Bauer from 24)’s band called… err, The Kiefer Sutherland Band, there’s so much packed into these 4 days you’ll need a holiday afterwards.
If you missed out on Glasto’ then you need to book up for BoomTown Fair (7-11) near Winchester. Less Festival, more megacity of music, arts and general bonkersness highlights include The Streets, Ms Lauryn Hill and the fab kids field with all sorts of crazy goings on.
Get your pedal to the metal for Chris Evan’s CarFest South (23 – 25) on the Bank Holiday Weekend. With amazing music acts (including lots and lots of 80s gems. We love a bit of Rick Astley here at Muddy), they also have a fab foodie offering with GBBO’s Candice Brown and Prue Leith, Hampshire foodie ledge James Martin and much more.
Also on that weekend is Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival (23 – 25) and the music landscape is huge. New Order, The Specials, Doves, Two Door Cinema Club plus an amazing World Music Stage, Comedy and a fab kids field rammed with lots of fun (and free) activities.
FOOD & DRINK
There’s plenty of foodie fun this August. The Lymington Seafood Festival returns on the 10 – 11, with the New Forest town celebrating all things pescatarian.
Over in Portsmouth, the street food pop-up spot Outside-In is channelling some Ibiza vibes with its Balaeric Beats Summer Party on Sat 10, with DJs spinning the tunes and a huge range of awesome street food stalls to check out. If you haven’t had the chance to visit this spot yet then definitely make the trip.
The Myers Touch have another cracking supper club in Winchester this month as well. The Glorious 12th Dining Club with resident chefs McCrimmon & Reid is celebrating the start of Game season and will be held on the 15th. Better grab those tickets now.
And later on that week, two of my favourite foods collide at Winchester’s Cheese and Chilli Festival (17-18). With plenty of cheese and chilli to taste, a chilli eating competition (think I’ll sit that one out, Ouch!), magic shows, street entertainment and plenty for all the family this should be a super spicy event for the week.
For Gin Lovers (aren’t we all?) then super swanky Heckfield Place is holding a fab Gin Tasting Workshop on Sat 24 with Will Lowe – co-founder and master distiller for Cambridge Distillery. For £65 you’ll get to learn and sample at the hands of a botanical master.
And if you want even more gin (plus some beer and fab sea views), then make a beeline for The Cliff House in Barton on Sea during the Bank Holiday Weekend (Thurs 22 – Mon 26) as its holding its ever-popular Gin & Beer Festival. Make sure to head here and check out the spot’s very own FlipFlop Gin as well.
And towards the end of the month is Odiham FlavourFest (Mon 26 Aug). Celebrating the Bank Holiday Monday in style, you can have a peruse around some of the best artisan producers Hampshire and nearby has to offer (not to mention pop to the pubs for a bit of Bank Holiday hair of the dog).
The final month of the Summer and we’ll be making the most of that Summer sun… though maybe not in full Regency Dress? However, if that’s your bag then check out the Andover Shilling Fair (4 Aug) for a full-blown celebration of all things Georgian-style.
And for one of the biggest parties… err I mean sporting events… the Isle of Wight has to offer definitely ship out for Cowes Week (10-17 Aug). Cowes is always buzzing when this is on, with plenty of music, free shows and lots of boaty fun-stuff. It also has its very own Art Trail for something a little more sedate during the day.
For one of the most unusual (and very hidden) spots in Portsmouth, there’s a free Walk around Wymering Manor on Sat 17 Aug. Meeting up by Cosham train station, you’ll get a chance to explore Wymering Manor which is one of the oldest buildings in Portsmouth. Formerly a grand country house it’s got a reputation for being one of THE most haunted buildings in the country and, hand on heart, its both fascinating and equally creepy to check out. It’s very rarely open as well so make sure you jump at the chance to nose around.
And on the Bank Holiday its the Wellington Horse Trials (24-26), as well as a fantastic array of horse jumping, dog events and ferret racing (gotta love the countryside) there’s also an enormous Pimms bus where I’m sure you’ll find me hanging around as well.
August is always a quiet month for the theatres but there’s a couple of shows that are definitely worth a night out on.
One to take the kids to (but you’ll secretly enjoy as well) is the musical adaptation of David Walliams’ Mr Stink at NST City on Mon 12 -Wed 14 August. Smelly but utterly heart-warming too.
The Mayflower in Southampton gets all 70s with Saturday Night Fever between the Tues 20 – Sat 24. Featuring Casualty and Matthew Bourne’s Richard Winsor as ‘Tony Manero’, you best pull out those bellbottoms and start practising your hand jive
For something a little bit naughtier then how about a night with foul-mouthed puppets? The triumphant (and totally cheeky) Avenue Q is returning to The Mayflower between the Tues 27 – Sat 30 Aug.
And for another grown-up only show, then Cherry Trotter and the Dark Room of Secrets (30 Aug) at Portsmouth Guildhall takes the Harry Potter franchise and turns it into something extremely naughty. Not for the faint-hearted, this one comes with a warning of offensive language and full-frontal nudity, this is definitely worth watching after a few vinos for extra mirth.
KIDS & FAMILY
Summer holidays are in full swing and so there’s plenty of family-friendly fun across the counties. Starting off August is PlayFest! in Aldershot (Sat 3), where the whole of Union Street is going to be a giant mass of FUN FUN FUN. From building incredible lego structures with the Brickies Club to a toddler mini-rave with Hartbeeps, there’s magic, games, crafts and to keep all the kids amused this weekend.
Grab your sparkliest dress and a dose of fairy magic for the New Forest Fairy Festival (Sat 10 – Sun 11) in Burley. This is a weekend of making kids dreams come true, mermaid meet-ups and fairy tea parties. Swing by to meet my personal fairy friend, Felicity Fairy who will be teaching kids magic spells and all sorts of fun stuff, I’ve also heard she has a tiger as well…. errr.
Also on the weekend of the 10-11 is the annual Portsmouth Kite Festival, where the skies about the seaside city become a huge mass of colour with some of the largest, and most unusual, kites you’ve ever seen. There’s also some really cool displays of acrobatics from stunt teams from across the world.
Over on the Island it’s getting all a bit medieval with the chance to check out some fab jousting at Carisbrooke Castle on Tues 13 – Thurs 15, however for something a little more sedate and fantastically creative there’s a Children’s Photography Course at Chawton House on the 15th and a Wild Art Day at Gilbert White’s House on the 14th as well.
CULTURE: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, 2 – 26 Aug
Edinburgh’s cultural fandango kicks off this month and is well worth the trip way (way, way) up north with the whole city buzzing with creativity, comedy, theatre, arts, crafts and street performances. Far too many shows to list in detail (over 1,200 groups perform across the city each day!) but highlights include Ian Stirling (of Love Island voiceover fame), Russell Howard, Frank Skinner, plus loads more familiar faces. Full programme here.
NEW EXHIBITION: Sweet Harmony: Rave exhibition, Saatchi Gallery, West London, until 14 Sept
Rave on! This new photo exhibition explores the new world that emerged from the acid house movement in the ’80s and ’90s and the beginnings of rave culture. Photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and Dave Swindells will be on hand at the Saatchi Gallery to explain the stories behind their iconic shots. saatchigallery.com
Exhibitions still on the go this month include a collection of Manolo Blahnik‘s work curated by the iconic shoe designer himself at The Wallace Collection (until Sun 1 Sept). Also on the fashion front is the Mary Quant retrospective at the V&A (Muddy’s been, it’s really cool), featuring over 200 of the seminal ’60s designer’s pieces (until 16 Feb). Or, also at the V&A is the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, a handful of tickets for evening slots have been added so snaffle quick if you want to go as it’s super popular (until 1 Sept).
Other exhibitions include the family-friendly Beasts of London, at the Museum of London, a fully immersive, digital installation exploring the role animals have played in the shaping of London with the likes of Kate Moss, Brian Blessed and Pam Ferris voicing the animals which are brought to life using video projection mapping; the major Van Gogh show at Tate Britain with over 45 of the artist’s famous works including Starry Night on the Rhône and Sunflowers; if you’re heading up north, check out the Keith Haring exhibition at Tate Liverpool, a legend on the ’80s graffiti, pop art and underground club culture scene, the exhibit features 85 works including large-scale paintings, posters, photos and video. Very cool.