The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Warwickshire Edition

Early-bird summer festival guide 2017: Don’t miss out!

13 Feb 2017

Glastonbury 2017 sold out within an hour last October and tickets for many of the other big ones are already selling like hotcakes. You must book super early these days if you don’t want to miss out. It may be depressingly chilly and damp now but before you know it the festival season will be upon us.  Yay!

No longer about hedonism and staying up all night, now it’s about entertaining the kids and the option of a luxury tent.  In Warwickshire, Lunar at Tanworth-in- Arden, is off the festival calendar returning in 2018, but the fabulously exciting, and intellectually stimulating, Also Festival at Compton Verney is back for its fourth year.

Here’s a round-up of some of the best family-friendly festivals on our doorstep & beyond:

WARWICKSHIRE & THE MIDLANDS:

Also Festival, Compton Verney, June 30-July 2

Also is a small boutique family-friendly festival with big ideas in a stunning lake-side setting close to Compton Verney Art Gallery.  Think sunrise wild swimming in the lake, glamping bouquets and a theatrical Truth or Dare banquet with Pudding Procession. Created by Salon London it’s been described as ‘TED Talks in a Field’. Writers, musicians, academics and experts will be assessing the meaning of dreams, Brexit one year on, ancient mythology and, analysing the ways radicals use tech. For teens and children there’ll be a bonfire night, lantern workshop, little beasts costume workshop and woodland midnight feast (until 9pm). DJs and live musicians provide the weekend soundtrack.

Park Farm, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, also-festival.com

Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Birmingham, July 7-9

70’s funk star George Clinton, De La Soul, Blackalicious & Grandmaster Flash headlined to a sell-out crowd at Mostly Jazz  last year in Moseley Park. This festival for jazz afficionados abd hip hop fans alike continues to attract an increasingly impressive array of artists since it started in 2010. Previously headliners include  Nile Rodgers and Public Enemy, as well as the best of contemporary jazz, funk & soul. This year’s line-up is due to be announced this month. There’s no camping, but a wide range of accommodation in Birminham City Centre from boutique hotels to serviced apartments and affordable B&Bs.

Mosely Park, Birmingham, mostlyjazz.co.uk

Warwick Folk Festival, Warwick, July 27-30

York-based Rachel Croft

The 2017 line-up for the 38th Warwick Folk Festival includes the likes of veteran folkies Oysterband, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, Andy Kershaw, Jack Blackman and Gaelica – one of Venezuela’s top bands combining Celtic and Latin American music. Rising artists include York-based singer- songwriter and busker Rachel Croft and Coventry’s Stylusboy.

The Panic Circus and Wyld Thyngz Forest School will be running varied children’s workshops. Also, expect a Fringe Festival around the town, cracking ceilidhs, comedy, theatre, singarounds and storming sessions. There’s a free festival shuttle bus, a family-friendly school camping site and indoor swimming pool at the festival’s Warwick School location.

Warwick School, Warwick, warwickfolkfestival.co.uk

V Festival, Staffordshire, Aug 19-20

V Festival is a pop fest with the youngest audience of any major festival. Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Sia, Jess Glynne, Bastille and Swedish 19-year-old Zara Larsson headed last year’s line-up. This dual-site event also operates at Hylands Park, Chelmsford.

Weston Park, Staffs, vfestival.com

Camper Calling, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire, Aug 25-27

Camper Calling is a new family-friendly festival on the 6,500 acre restored Ragley Estate, home to the 9th Marquess of Hertford and his family, is set up by the founders of Camper Jam at Staffordshire’s Weston Park. The 2017 line-up so far includes 90s Britpop Cast, Reef and The Lightning Seeds. There’ll be woodland walks and House tours, free lake activities including kayaks, pedal boats and Canadian canoes; an adventure playground, campfire tales andfairground as well as lots of lovely locally-produced street food/drink.

Reef

Ragley Hall Estate, Alcester, Warwickshire, campercalling.com

The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds, Aug 25-27

Jamie Oliver and the ex-Blur bassist’s annual intimate foodie-music fest attracts big name headliners and top chefs. Food is always going to be an important part of a festival run by a chef and a cheese-maker.  Very family orientated, it has the Little Dude’s Den field, children’s TV stars, cookery classes, Family Olympics and the new for 2017, Amy’s Kitchen Village Green.

Alex James’ Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds, thebigfeastival.com

Mosely Folk Festival, Birmingham, Sept 1-3

This year is the 12th Mosely Folk Festival. In 2016 The Levellers, The Coral, The Proclaimers, Billy Bragg and female folk star This Is The Kit were top of the bill. Moseley Park, two miles south of the city centre is an 11-acre woodlands glade in the centre of Moseley Village. Best reached by the No 50 bus it’s unsuitable for camping but Birmingham city centre and the surrounding suburbs has plenty of affordable accommodation such as Nite Nite, a hotel with stylish cabin rooms.

Mosely Park, Birmingham, moseleyfolk.co.uk

AND BEYOND… 

Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, June 2-4

One of the highlights of Wychwood when we took our children a few years ago, was the fab Kid’s Literature tent. It’s packed over the weekend with authors, illustrators and activities. Cbeebies’ I Can Cook presenter Katy Ashworth is already booked for 2017 and there’s a Comedy Club for Kids. The musical backdrop, revealed so far, will be provided by The Levellers, OMD, Billy Brag, Electric Swing Circus, BBC 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews favourite 6-piece busker band CC Smugglers and Congolese soukous musician Kanda Bongo Man.

Cheltenham Racecourse, Wychwood Festival

Camp Bestival, July 27-29

Bestival’s less wild little sister, the award-winning Camp Bestival, is the Rolls Royce of family festivals. There’s tonnes for kids to do and the music bookings are always high calibre. This 10th anniversary year will see the dapper Mark Ronson getting the party started, with ’90s favourites Leftfield and All Saints also in attendance. If you’re tearing your hair out at the cost of taking the family to a festival (when did they become the same price as a holiday?!), it’s worth noting that Camp Bestival do a brilliant payment plan to spread the cost.

Lulworth Castle, Dorset, campbestival.net

Green Man, Brecon Beacons, August 17-20

Green Man is set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons with the Black Mountains as a backdrop to the Mountain Stage. This year’s line-up includes the wonderful PJ Harvey, Ryan Adams, Future Islands and Michael Kiwanuka. 100% independent, it still draws a brilliant line up of performers spanning indie, psychedelia, Americana, electronica and folk…Also Comedy, Cinema, art, Einstein’s Garden (fab family-friendly science area), Nature & Nurture (spa, yoga & therapy), Little Folk (for 2 – 12-year-olds) and Somewhere (for 13 – 17-year-olds with DJ & song-writing workshops, fire shows, film-making & football).

PJ Harvey

Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons, greenman.net

Festival No. 6, Portmeirion, Sept 7-10

An amazing setting with views over the stunning Snowdonia mountain range and peninsula in the slightly surreal Italianate village of Portmeirion (where the pottery comes from) designed by architect William Clough-Ellis. There’s a Welsh-Manchunian flavour with artists ranging from Catfish & The Bottlemen and Gwenno to Noel Gallaher’s High Flying Birds, plus the likes of the iconic Grace Jones, Kate Tempest and the brilliant Brythoniaid Welsh Male Voice Choir. Other highlights: a banquet overlooking the estuary, a Swedish spa and Paddle Boarding sessions. The 2017 line-up will be revealed very soon.

Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Festival No 6

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Warwickshire Edition