Alternative festivals to visit


There are hundreds of music festivals across the UK, some with huge artists and non-stop sets playing across multiple stages, but there’s also a wide range of festivals where music takes a back seat and you can experience all manner of arts, food and entertainment. Visit one of these great alternative festivals and try something a little different this summer!

Barefoot Festival


Barefoot Festival is all about getting back to basics, getting grass in between your toes and taking time out from the pressures of modern life. It’s family friendly with lots to do for kids including an arts and crafts tent. The ‘big top’ tent will host some great entertainment including cabaret and burlesque shows or if you’re feeling tense you can head over to the chill out tent and enjoy some relaxing yoga, dance or even get a massage. You can finish off the day with a late night fire show from the Combust UK crew. With all this as well as interactive art installations, walk-about entertainers, great food stalls and themed fancy dress days, this little festival is packed full of fun and not to be missed!



Wilderness Festival mixes music, nature and grand feasts to create a festival unlike any other. You can wake up early and swim in a clear lake, indulge in a long table banquet or head over to one of the many stages to enjoy music, theatre and debate. This festival is a foodie’s dream with BBQs, old fashioned feasts, and cooking from celebrated chefs. There’s walk about entertainers and a wide variety of workshops to take part in including archery, silver casting and perfume making. Running from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August, you’ll need all 4 days to make the most of all this festival has to offer.

Edinburgh Fringe


The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks across various venues in Edinburgh. In 2015 it spanned 25 days and featured 50,459 performances! From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. There really is an act for everyone here and it’s a great way to experience something new.

Robin Hood festival


For something really family oriented, why not head over to Sherwood Forest where you can enjoy jousting tournaments, story tellers, comedy acts and of course, Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham as they clash once more in the home of the outlaws!  Walk through the forest and encounter many of the festival characters, take part in a range of activities, visit the legendary Major Oak and enjoy refreshments and lunch in the cafe at the welcome centre. This is a great festival to attend if you have kids as a lot of the activities are really child focused and they can even get involved in the main performances with Robin Hood himself.



The Shambala Festival has a little of everything to offer and features a variety of music, including rock, pop, folk and world music. There are independent films, workshops, talks and debates, comedy, a fresh organic market, fair trade coffee, practical demonstrations, a speakers’ corner and a new art trail with a range of get-involved sculptures. There’s plenty to do for kids of all ages such as creative workshops, shadow dancing, circus fun and trampolines. Many activities address cultural awareness, the environment and rights and children are able to add their messages to the Rights Tree to be posted on the website for the world to see. This festival gives you a great chance to take a real time out and get involved with some good causes while enjoying a real sense of community.

Secret Garden Party


Secret Garden Party is an annual independent arts and music festival which takes place on part of the grounds of a Georgian farm house which has its own lake, river and landscaped gardens. The festival was launched by Fred Fellowes in 2004 as an alternative to the established mainstream music festivals. There are so many different things to experience and each year is different. There are huge art installations, a giant paint fight, a stage on the lake, kids areas and arts and craft areas. There’s a little something for everyone here and it attracts people from all walks of like. This festival is a great one for variety and beautiful scenery.

How the Light Gets In


The world’s largest philosophy and music festival returns to Hay-on-Wye this summer. This festival is a great way to feed your mind, body and soul with music, debates, documentaries, a spa, comedy and vintage rides. This week long festival has so much to offer and really gets you involved, whether it be becoming a member of the Institute of Art and Ideas or joining in the open debate with some of the speakers. There are some great glamping options available by the riverside and the evenings offer some fantastic entertainment including live music, circus acts and cabaret. A great festival to enrich the mind as well as having fun!


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