Did you miss out on tickets to Glastonbury Festival in the re-sales? If so, don't worry, there are lots of other fabulous family friendly festivals in the South West! With so many festivals to choose from now, we really are spoiled for choice. We have a round-up of the best 15 festivals in the South West. We are so lucky to live in this area, with so many festivals so close by. All have something for the whole family, giving you a magical weekend away and memories to last a lifetime! Get reading and decide which would be best for your family!
1) Wychwood Festival 29th – 31st May, Cheltenham Racecourse.
The south west's first festival of the season, Wychwood Festival returns to Cheltenham Racecourse featuring an eclectic line-up of music, comedy, literature and family entertainment.
Nominated “Best Family Festival” every single year in the UK Festival Awards, this will be its 11th year. It offers something for everyone with over 100 bands on 4 stages, over 100 workshops for all ages, kids Literature Festival, Real Ale Festival, great food and much, much more!
This year’s fantastic line-up includes UB40, Boney M, The Undertones and The Proclaimers. As well as this children will be very excited about the appearance of BAFTA Award-Winning, Justin Fletcher a.k.a Mr Tumble. Destined to draw in thousands of eager fans to the Sunday midday slot, Fletcher's performance will be a favourite for families across the weekend.
The idyllic campsite sits beneath the Prestbury Hills, complete with areas for caravan, campervans and luxury camping options such as; Tipis and Yurts and pre-erected tents and bell tents. Facilities for campers include hot showers, a campsite shop, café, and a lock up to store any valuables. The campsite is located a short walk from the main arena and the site as a whole is very compact and easy to get around. With lots of nice flat paths, which are ideal for wheelchairs and buggies. Setting up and packing away is also nice and easy, as they allow campers to drive on to the campsite to set up their tents before moving cars to the free car park. No need to carry heavy tents and camping gear a great distance!
Weekend and day tickets are available from www.wychwoodfestival.com.
2) Home Farm Fest – Chilthorne Domer (just outside Yeovil) Somerset 5th – 7th June
Get the Festival Season started with this fantastic local festival. This year they celebrate their 10th anniversary and it’s set to be the biggest and best Home Farm Fest yet! Running from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th June, it’s a great festival set in the beautiful Somerset countryside. It’s the biggest annual fundraiser for the UK charity, the Piers Simon Appeal, raising money for its main initiative, School in a Bag (www.schoolinabag.org), with the last nine festivals having raised over £147,000 thanks to the generosity of the amazing bands/artists/performers who play for free, and all the volunteers who help run the festival to support the cause.
There are four stages with lots of different music as well as bars, food stalls, children’s activities and market stalls activities over the three days.
Children’s events include the Fun Zone play area with lots of inflatable slides and obstacle courses, a Play Art marquee full of lots of activities ranging from circus skills to face painting and story- telling to hand puppet workshops. There’s also Bug Fest with their insects and reptiles, a children’s cinema for a bit of chill out time (which the parents themselves may need!) and if that’s not enough for a weekend’s entertainment, there’s also a children’s disco!
Friday night kicks off with our infamous ‘Posh Frocks and Wellies’ which makes for a delightful sight seeing a field full of people in lovely dresses and DJs, complete with all sorts of wellies! The style of music on the Friday also works with the ‘dress code’ and the headline act this year on the evening is from local band Trick Bag. They then have Dorset-based DT8 headlining on Saturday and Yeovil-based favourites and the band who initiated the festival from the beginning; Storm.
Tickets are on sale via website: www.homefarmfest.co.uk
3) Tiverton Balloon & Music Festival – 10th, 11th and 12th July
How about this exciting ballooning, music and aerial extravaganza in Tiverton. It looks perfect for a magical family weekend, visitors will be able to gaze up at over 40 balloons gracing the Devon skies. On Friday and Saturday evening the awe-inspiring hot air balloon Night Glow will be ignited, with balloons performing a stunning fire and light show, choreographed to music with talented fire jugglers and a lantern procession.
Throughout the weekend, a host of fantastic bands will provide a brilliant soundtrack to your weekend with live music on the Main Stage and on the Origin Stage. Whether you like to party to ska and reggae, sing along to rock or chill out with some easy listening folk then the Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival has it all waiting for you.
It is also host to the popular Devon Food Festival. Tantalise your taste buds with a huge selection of delectable local dishes, delicious drinks and worldwide cuisine right on the festival site.
Along with all of this, there will be children’s entertainment, stalls selling a range of hand crafted goods and many exciting events. Last year the festival saw everything from falconry workshops to planetarium sessions to a comedy night and circus skills lessons!
This year the festival is expanding with extended festival camping and facilities and even more happening throughout the weekend. Across the weekend the festival will raise money for two fabulous charities Children’s Hospice South West and the Devon Air Ambulance.
For more information and tickets visit www.tivertonballoonfestival.co.uk
4) 3 Wishes Faery Fest – Torpoint, Cornwall 19th-21st June
Ever fancied spending the weekend dressed as a Fairy? Well get yourselves to award winning festival 3 Wishes Faery Fest. With music, walkabout fairytale performers, camping, free workshops & activities all based around a faery theme.
3 Wishes believes in family, fun and faeries! So there are no separate children’s areas, instead everything is integrated, so parents can watch their children playing, whilst they watch the music on the main stage, or partake in a workshop, or fairy school. Parents have praised the event for being so child friendly.
Taking place in the ancient wooded site of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, at Torpoint in Cornwall, not far form the Devon border, each day has a theme! Friday is Polkadots and Pixies, Saturday is Nautical but Nice! And Sunday is Alice in Wonderland!
Festival founder and organiser, Karen Kay says, “Each year the atmosphere seems to be more and more magical, like a real-life fairy-tale. The looks on the faces of all the children, and adults too, is a sight to behold! They pride themselves on creating a safe and happy space where families can come together and celebrate faeries at this very special time of year – the summer solstice.”
Once inside the site, you’ll feel as if you have been transported into a ‘real life’ fairyland full of all kinds of magical creatures, with wings, wands, and sparkle!
For a full line-up and camping information visit www.faeryevents.com/
5) Priddy Folk Festival, Somerset 10th-12th July
Tucked away in beautiful Mendip Hills, the Somerset village of Priddy has been hosting its Folk Festival since 1991 and in the intervening decades has earned a reputation for being one of the friendliest festivals in the country.
It’s a small festival but to many of its regular visitors that is part of its charm. Based around Priddy’s large village green, the festival has the feel of a village party to which all are invited.
Folk music is an important strand of the event with two large marquees at either end of the green hosting the main acts and a smaller Fringe tent for up-and-coming artists among the many craft stalls in the market area.
But there’s plenty of other things happening - craft demonstrations, a dance festival, history and wildlife walks, drama and late night ceilidhs in the village hall.
There’s also a children’s festival with a full programme of events for little ones including music-making, dance and craft workshops as well storytelling and a few fun surprises too. All contained within the safe, traffic-free haven of the village green.
There’s plenty of food available - including the ever-popular Priddy PTA cafe which serves breakfasts, lunches and dinners - all homemade by PTA members. And there’s a beer tent selling a fine selection of local real ales and ciders.
Camping is available close to the festival with facilities for tents, caravans and campers.
You can check all the details including the world-class folk line-up, a gallery from last year’s festival and ticket details at the Priddy website. http://www.priddyfolk.org.
6) Chagstock Festival Friday 17th – Saturday 18th July, Devon.
Chagstock Festival is one of the Westcountry’s best-loved festivals. Set in 70 acres of farmland on the edge of Dartmoor, Chagstock is renowned for its stunning location, diverse line-up of artists and non-corporate, family friendly atmosphere.
The full Friday billing has been confirmed, and is without question the biggest single-day line up in the festival’s 9-year history. Headlining the main stage are the mighty alt-rockers, New Model Army. Joining New Model Army on the main stage line up are Neville Staple Band, BBC Folk Award nominee Martha Tilston, and Irish Music Award winning Celtic Fusion band Roving Crows.
The full Saturday line up will be announced later in the Spring.
The festival also has a special family and kids area. Chagstock Green has many activities to keep kids busy and safe during the festival. They endeavour to make sure that all children have a great time, allowing their respective adults to have a brilliant worry-free festival. With some great activities planned for 2015, including Vintage swing boats, Dartmoor Reptiles, Water Zorbing, Physics in a field and a 20ft climbing wall.
There is also a quiet camping field for families available and all children under 12 get in free.
For tickets go to www.chagstock.info Day tickets will be available closer to the festival.
7) The Godney Gathering Saturday 18th July, Godney near Glastonbury, Somerset
The Godney Gathering, is fast making a name for itself within the festival industry. Near Glastonbury, this one-day event, has very reasonably priced tickets with a good array of acts. This year headliners include, UB40 and Dr Meaker, as well as many other fantastic acts playing throughout the day on 6 different stages.
In addition, this year will see the kids area quadruple in size and move to its very own space. They will have their own kids stage which will see Krazy Kev and Dinky Dino headlining with many other acts including Cuthbert the clown, magic shows, traditional Punch & Judy, Balloon Modelling and many fantastic workshops such as, circus skills with Diablo Dave and USkate and music workshops from the Champion Music Group. All making a perfect family day out!
There is no camping at the festival, but Garslade Campsite is adjacent to the site and can be booked in advance. The tranquil location has views towards Glastonbury Tor, shower and toilet facilities and electrical hook ups available.
For more information and tickets visit http://www.thegodneygathering.com/
8) Larmer Tree Festival – Nr Salisbury 15th – 19th July
Larmer Tree Festival returns this summer to celebrate its 25th festival with what promises to be its most exciting year yet. With its eclectic and varied blend of music, comedy and activities for all ages, this original boutique festival delivers five magical days in the intimate grounds of Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury on the Wiltshire/Dorset border.
With six unique stages spread across the festival site, festival-goers can immerse themselves in a variety of music with well established artists playing alongside emerging talent. Headliners this year include Tom Jones, folk punk band Levellers, acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force and closing the festival on the Sunday, Jimmy Cliff.
The unique setting of the Larmer Tree Gardens allows for a plethora of interesting and imaginative artistic activity. Festival-goers can delight in discovering art installations, sculptures and decorative touches in the nooks and crannies of the festival site, while street performers are waiting at every corner to entertain and amaze with fancy dress, imaginative props, puppetry and clownery.
Larmer Tree Festival is renowned for catering to all ages,with entertainment and activities to suit the littlest Larmers as well as the teenage crowd. The Larmer Lawns host all-day delights for children, including bubble discos, circus skills, and arts and crafts workshops, whilst elsewhere teens can escape to an adult-free chill out space.
Adults will not be disappointed with an exciting mix of music. Following an electrifying opening performance at Larmer Tree Festival 2014, the legendary Tom Jones is back to kick things off on Wednesday 15th July headlining the Main Stage.
Folk-punk band Levellers are one of the headline acts on Thursday evening. Taking to the main stage on Friday are acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela and closing the festival on Sunday night Jimmy Cliff completes the festival’s headline line-up. Comedian Bill Bailey has also just been confirmed!
Larmer Tree prides itself on providing happy campers with excellent facilities; panoramic views of the countryside with no over-crowding. Award winning toilets, free hot showers, ample water points, cafés, shops, and options including quiet, family and comfy camping, the camping experience is guaranteed to be as relaxing and fun as the festival itself.
Check out http://larmertreefestival.co.uk/ for tickets. Check out Day tickets which are also available if you wanted to dip your toes and experience a wonderful family day out!
9) Somersault Festival – Castle Hill North Devon 23rd – 27th July
Somersault is a festival with a new vision. A true summer holiday experience packed full of music, adventures and the best of outdoor living.
Created by the team behind the award-winning Wilderness Festival, Somersault promises five days of stripped-back happiness and blissful outdoor life. With seaside escapades, field trips, trekking, mountain biking, horse riding, surfing, craft and culture, wellbeing and yoga!
All of this, as well as a fantastic line-up including Passenger, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Laura Marling!
There is an impressive range of circus theatre and dance confirmed for revellers to enjoy, Gorilla Circus will return with their stunning trapeze show and will be joined by a variety of newcomers including; The Invisible Circus, Acrojou and Cscape Dance Company – all with their own brand of unique theatre production.
Younger members of the Somersault audience will also have a great deal to look forward to at this year’s festival. Whilst on site, little ones will enjoy an array of activities and classes such as circus skills, craft sessions, fancy dress and face painting. Theatre production company Rhubarb Theatre will also be on hand to host their walkabout storytelling and fantastical theatre shows for all the family to enjoy.
For different ticket types visit http://somersaultfestival.com
10) Camp Bestival – Lulworth Castle, Dorset 30th July – 2nd August
This is an amazing festival for the whole family! A continuous parade of fancy dressed young and old, magical bubbles and laughter and merriment from all. The site itself is big, but easy to walk around and so much to see for everybody… jousting, a ferris wheel, a blow up chapel! With the added excitement of Lulworth Castle as the back drop.
There is an adventurous mix of truly wild fun and games throughout the weekend, including Explore Your Inner Beast, which will be all about bushcraft, den building, foraging, survival skills and wild cooking, and Woodland Adventures, which will maximise the wild times with mud kitchens, campfires, nature hunts, mass sleep outs, daily picnics and falconry!
The line-up is also very heavily aimed at children in the daytime with delights such as festival favourite Mr Tumble and back by extremely popular demand, Dick V Dom Go Wild in the Ring will see the duo unleashing their unstoppable madness for everyone to enjoy. There will also be a thrilling mix of theatre, shows, attractions, activities, poets, authors and talks for all the family, including some incredible new shows like The Cat in the Hat.
But it’s not all about the children, this year the older punters will be entertained with an impressive range of headliner acts such as Underworld, Kaiser Chiefs, Ella Henderson, Professor Green and Soul II Soul.
This festival is so well established and has thought of everything to make the weekend a magical experience for everybody. Camping Plus means you can book and pick your very own camping spot with very easy access to showers, nice loos and a brilliant café. There are also many Glamping options available to book from Tipis, yurts and bell tents.
11) Farm Fest, Bruton, Somerset 31st July – 1st August
Farmfestival started as a party for friends and has stayed that way!
They pride themselves as a festival that doesn’t believe in hype or inflated prices. What they do believe in is a genre-defying selection of music from emerging talents, cult heroes & local gems, inspiring arts activities, amazing charities and great local produce, set to a beautiful Somerset vista.
The summer of 2015 will see Farmfest turn the ripe old age of 10 and as you would expect they will be going big on the celebrations – expect giant party games, overblown site decorations, enormous cake and massive fancy dress. The celebrations will see plenty of special events, new stages and one or two surprises which are being kept firmly under the Farmfest hat.
Over the years they have expanded their family / entertainment and due to this and the super relaxed atmosphere in the day, many families return to enjoy this festival each year.
For the full line up and further information visit http://www.farmfestival.co.uk/
12) Port Eliot Festival, St German’s Estate, Cornwall 30th July – 2nd August
The Port Eliot Festival is an annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun. Taking place each summer in the woodland gardens and park of an ancient stately home and mediaeval monastery in south east Cornwall, Port Eliot Festival remains a rare original event. The festival is hard to pin down – recent years have seen Barbara Hulanicki leading a fashion drawing masterclass for children; Kate Winslet performing a Sunday morning children’s story; Tracy Chevalier discussing her love of trees; Dominic West hosting a spelling bee; Britain’s finest wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson, presenting a ‘nature disco’; and Martin Scorsese handpicking the film programme.
This year’s line-up include Archie Bronson Outfit, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Kurt Jackson and John Sauven ,Stealing Sheep, Chris Watson and Andrew Weatherall amongst many others.
Amongst many other stages and areas there is a fantastical kids area called Hullabaloo, transformed by Rogue Theatre into their acclaimed Wild Woodland Summer Ball. Expect all-day activities, face-painting, live music, theatre, workshops, performance and dance.
Unlike most other festivals, staying in the grounds of Port Eliot during the festival is a fantastic and relaxing experience, with lots of space to set up your temporary home in over 6,000 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by Repton, surrounded by ancient woodland and beautiful views of the house and estuary.
Although it’s easy to find yourself a nice peaceful spot, you’re also never more than a few minutes’ walk from the goings-on in the house, Cabaret tent, Walled Garden and Bowling Green.
More details here... http://www.porteliotfestival.com/
13) Beautiful Days 21st – 23rd August
Beautiful Days is the Levellers' family music festival organised by DMF Music which takes place at Escot Park in Devon with six stages, site art, a huge children’s area, comedy, theatre, family camping, licensed real ale bars from Otter Brewery & a great choice of food and craft stalls. Beautiful Days has no sponsorship, branding and does not advertise
Dropkick, Murphys, Happy Mondays, Levellers, Gogol bordello, Idlewild, Freeborn John, Jack Savoretti, Wilko Johnson, Rich Hall's Hoedown, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, Katzenjammer, Hoffmaestro, Eddi Reader, The Circus of Horrors, 'This Garden' Theme and Many More!
The Children’s Area at Beautiful Days is co-ordinated by Majical Youth Theatre and has been for the last 10 years. There are loads of activities, hands-on workshops and entertainment all weekend long for children of all ages. They have crafts, theatre, dressing-up, circus, rides, story-telling, music and craft workshops, comedy, face painting and more.
The main children’s area is situated right in the middle of the festival site between the Main Stage and The Big Top (Stage 2) but there are also story-telling and play areas in the campsites and family-friendly performances in the brand new Theatre Tent starting with wake-up sessions from early in the morning.
For tickets visit http://www.beautifuldays.org/
14) Watchet Music Festival, Somerset 28th – 30th August
What better way to spend the August Bank Holiday weekend than at this not-for-profit family-friendly festival with amazing views of the stunning West Somerset coastline and beyond. Three live stages will host more than 50 live acts, bringing a wide range of high-calibre musical acts not normally found performing in West Somerset, at a very affordable price.
The line-up looks fantastic with infamous Sir Bob Geldof and The Boom Town Rats taking the stage on the Saturday night. Sunday night’s headliners are the magnificent Big Country. Also headling the billing are 80’s New Wave legends The Blow Monkeys, the always entertaining Dr & The Medics, double-necked guitar wizard John Otway along with long-term collaborator ‘Wild’ Willy Barrett, Merry Hell, Tankus The Henge and many many more – and there are still 2 major main stage headliners yet to be announced!
Following the success of last year’s sold out event (the festival’s third in a row), Watchet LIVE Festival has made financial donations to local groups including The Children’s Hospice South West, West Somerset Brass band, and the local “Stand Against Speed” young driver’s awareness campaign.
2015 will see a doubling of the camping and car parking space available in previous years. There will again be even more emphasis on youth-oriented daytime and evening entertainment & workshops. A shuttle bus from the main town to the festival site in the afternoon and evenings on each day has been introduced.
Alongside a wide variety of high quality food stalls, the extensive in-house Cider and Real Ale Bar prices are always kept as low as possible, providing one of the best-value refreshments offerings to be found at any event in the UK.
15) The Big Feastival, Kingham The Cotswolds 28th – 30th August
Not forgetting one more fabulous affair to close the summer! Be sure not to miss The Big Feastival, which returns on the Bank Holiday Weekend. Jamie Oliver & Alex James are behind the Summer's top music, food & family festival in the Cotswolds. The extravaganza promises great music, mouth-watering food and drink experiences and a fully-charged, fun-filled program of entertainment for all ages.
On the music bill, The Big Feastival welcomes Groove Armada (DJ Set), to headline the main stage on Friday 28. Fresh from winning Best British Female at the BRIT Awards last week, iconic songstress Paloma Faith will bring the weekend to a close on Sunday 30 August. With the Saturday Special Guest Headliners still to be revealed, this year’s festival is set to be the best yet.
Known for bringing sensational culinary talent to the stage, The Big Feastival has announced the initial programme of chefs set to join Jamie Oliver this year. Two Star Michelin masters Raymond Blanc, Ashley Palmer-Watts and Nathan Outlaw will all grace The AEG Big Kitchen, alongside critically acclaimed rising star James Lowe and the inspirational Monica Galetti. The irrepressible Gennaro Contaldo makes a welcome return as everyone’s favourite Great British Bake-Off finalist Richard Burr gets set to make his debut.
To feed the foodies, the ever-popular Street Food Alley returns to the festival with the best of British street food. Visitors are invited to sip, sample and shop The Producers Markets, cook up a storm in The AEG Cooking Club and get behind the grill with the all new Weber Grill Academy On Tour.
The Big Feastival boasts an enviable line-up of children’s entertainment across the weekend including Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, Little Dudes’ Den, The Big Top, The Village Green Games and the iconic Vintage Fairground. The full programme of fun and games and this year’s Very Special Guests will be announced soon!
For tickets and more information visit http://www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival/
So…there is our list of 10 great family festivals in the South West. With so many to choose from that keep both the adults and children happy we hope you have fun deciding where to head for some family fun with your little ones this summer! Look out for our article on ‘How to survive Festivals (with young children)’ coming soon AND some fantastic festival related competitions coming soon!
Country Mummy would like to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to our lovely contributor Jess Clements who very kindly complied all this helpful information and wrote this wonderful piece.