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16 Fantastic festivals to party at this summer

Are you ready to make some noise?! From 80s extravaganzas to chilled retro jamborees, opera weekends and free rock festivals, these are the events you need on your radar this summer. Grab your glow sticks, and let’s go.

Whatever your festival vibe – be it a classy picnic with opera, or wild dancing with your besties, we’ve got a jam-packed festival season ahead of us, and there’s something for everyone.

The UK Fantasy Forest Festival, Sudeley Castle, Cheltenham, 16 – 17 July

Let us whisk you off to a spectacular fantasy festival right in the heart of the Cotswolds. The UK Fantasy Forest Festival is three days of unleashed, fantasy-themed fun for the whole family. With a fairytale backdrop of the grand Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe near Cheltenham it’s a riot of characters, costume, live music, street food and brilliant entertainment. If you’re a fan of GOT, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel superheroes, pirates, fairies and medieval days of yore you will be in total heaven. This lively festival is packed with family-friendly entertainment and activities. The camping has now sold out (better luck next year) but you can snap up a day ticket which starts at £18.95 with children under 7 going free. Book here now.

Witcombe Festival, 26 – 28 August, Gloucester

Music industry titans from Tinie Tempah and Annie Mac come to Gloucester at the Witcombe Festival. The three-day festival will feature local ciders and live music, including big headliners Rudimental DJ, Sean Paul and Craig David among others.

Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton-in-Marsh, until 02 August

This is legit Glos’s very own opera extravaganza! The Longborough Festival Opera is the most soul-lifting, spectacular intro to opera if you’ve never experienced it before. Its fabulous new Greatest Showman-vibe Big Top venue (see above) is very cool. The 2022 festival runs from 30 May to 2 August, and includes Wagner’s Siegfried, Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, Bizet’s Carmen, and a double bill of Caccini’s La liberazione di Ruggiero with Freya Waley-Cohen’s Spell Book for our Emerging Artists. Perfect for a balmy summer evening when you fancy a bit of culture (don’t worry there are subtitles too!). You can order a bespoke picnic hamper for £40 (including vegetarian options) which comes with cutlery, plates and napkins and enjoy your feast with stunning views over the Cotswold hills.

Phoenix Festival, Cirencester, Glos, 27 – 28 August

This one is going to be so BAD! One of Muddy’s boutique faves, the Phoenix Festival is completely free and takes place in the lovely Abbey Grounds in the market town of Cirencester. A brilliant youth and community-led festival you get two days of gratis music, entertainment and family fun. This year headline act is Michael Starring Ben, the largest touring tribute to Michael Jackson in the UK, this award-winning production features an incredible live band, stunning costumes and iconic dance routines. Wooo hoo!

2000 Trees Festival, Gloucester, 07 – 09 July

Rocking indie and guitar fans for nearly 15 years, 2000 Trees Festival makes its return to Upcote Farm near Cheltenham. Festival-goers will be treated to three days of fantastic performances from some of the best act’s rock and indie music has to offer, with headliners including Jimmy Eat World, The Amazons, Idles and Thrice.

The Fake Festival, Worcester, 27 August

What’s not to like about headliners with these names … Queen, The Rolling Stones, Blondie, Bowie and The Jam! Welcome to the UK’s only fully fake festival, what a blast we reckon it’s going to be. The UK’s top tribute acts grace the stage at this festival with a show that is wall-to-wall bangers. There’ll be food and drink on tap in the Entertainment Zone too to refuel in between the ‘greats’.

PRIDE in Gloucestershire, Gloucester, 10 Sept – a brilliant uplifting event for the LGBTQ+ community (and anyone who loves a damn good party).

Cheltenham Music Festival and Jazz Festival, 08 – 16 July – 10 days of exhilarating live performances from top flight musicians across Cheltenham venues, and a free Stage at the open air Imperial Gardens.

Wychwood Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, 5 June – this one is cancelled unfortunately, but stay tuned to their socials for a virtual festival on the same date.

​And a mere wellie wang away …

The Big Feastival, Kingham, 26-28 Aug

Another posh nosh extravaganza, and an unbeatable excuse to eat yourself silly. Hosted on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James, The Big Feastival promises top notch chefs, family fun and chart-topping artists: good food, and great music. The line-up this year includes The Human League, The Stereophonics, Anne Marie and many more.

WOMAD, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, 28 – 31 July

It’s title stands for the ‘World of Music, Arts and Dance’ and it certainly lives up to its name. Fans are keeping everything crossed for it to be able to open this year and so are we, as this fantastic festival is a brilliant family-fabulous event. The line-up for this year is still under wraps as we went to press, but it is sure to be packed with 150+ top names. An adult four-day ticket is £255.

Lakefest, Eastnor, Herefordshire, 11 – 14 August

WIth a line-up of the likes of Tom Jones, Seasick Steve and T’Pau this brilliant boutique festival is just over the border and well worth a visit. Set in the grounds of the stunning Eastnor Castle you can camp or just do a day trip. It has something for everyone from BMX skate parks to yoga workshops, great food and a ton of activities to get stuck into.

Truck Festival, near Abingdon, 22-24 July

This veteran South Oxon festival in a farmer’s field, known to some as “The Godfather of the small festival scene”, hits all the right notes: family-friendly feel, good food, thumping indie tunes. Headlining this year are Bombay Bicycle Club, The Kooks, and Sam Fender among others.

Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, 04 – 07 August

Wilderness returns for a four-day boutique banger. There will be music (line-up TBC, but names have been big in the past), long-table banquets, woodland parties, theatre, film, dance, and a pop up spa (well, we are in Oxfordshire). It’s generally a heady mix of right-on hippiness (yoga, skinny-dipping, hot hubs) and top-tier music. Tickets are now sold out, but you can still book camping arrangements if you’re lucky enough to have got your hands on one.

Retro Carfest, Bicester Heritage, 26 – 28 Aug

A whirlwind timewarp to the days when flares were wider, cocktails had umbrellas, and cars were cooler. Retro Carfest is a brand new family festival jam-packed with music, films, gadgets, cars and legends from the glory days. Hosted by Chris Evans and featuring other TV and radio favourites, the line-up includes Scouting for Girls and the Happy Mondays among others. Adult day tickets start at £74.

Pint-Sized Towersey, 26-29 Aug

Veteran folk celebration Towersey Festival (which, confusingly, is now held at Claydon Estate in Oxfordshire, rather than Towersey village) returns in a pint-sized form this year, but with zero compromise on fun. A smaller, Covid-safe version, there will be plenty of space and lots of activities: yoga, a circus, community singing, Tai Chi, and more.

And further afield…

Wireless Festival, London Finsbury Park, 08 – 10 July. (Line-up: Future, Skepta, Migos)

BST Hyde Park, London, July. (Line-up: Pearl Jam, Duran Duran, Rolling Stones and more)

Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 21- 24 July. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Foals and Snow Patrol)

Kaleidoscope Festival, London Alexandra Palace, 23 July. (Line-up: Orbital, Happy Mondays)

Camp Bestival, Dorset, 28 July – 31 Aug. (Line-up: Rag n Bone Man, RaoLight, Rudimental)

All Points East, London Victoria Park, 26-28 Aug. (Line-up: (Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Charlie XCS)

Boardmasters, Cornwall, 10 – 14 Aug. (Line-up: George Ezra, Kings of Leon)

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