Summer festivals happening across Sussex in 2019

The Great Escape Festival takes over Brighton's streets and venues with new music

The Great Escape Festival takes over Brighton's streets and venues with new music - Credit: Archant

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or high-octane thrills, there’s a festival for every tast - from music and sport to art and culture - in Sussex this summer


The Great Escape - 9-11 May

Various venues, Brighton

This festival for new music specialises in under-the-radar rising stars. There are performances across more than 30 venues. This year's Spotlight Shows include performances by Lewis Capaldi, Kara Marni, Easy Life, Foals and Blaenavon & Boniface.


Glyndebourne - 18 May - 25 August

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One of the quintessential British summer events, Glyndebourne must be experienced to be believed. Performances this year include La damnation de Faust, Cendrillon and Rinaldo. A picnic in the glorious gardens is the perfect pick-me-up for the long interval.


Love Supreme - 5-7 July

Glynde Place

The three-day jazz festival returns to the Sussex countryside, with a line-up including Ms. Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight and The Cinematic Orchestra. This relaxed, family-friendly festival has options for even the most reluctant campers including glamping, above-average festival food options and wellbeing sessions.


Magical Festival - 19-22 July

Borde Hill Garden

This boutique three-day festival is billed as an empowering experience that will "inspire you to be your best, happiest, most positive and confident self, all the while having a total blast." Performers spanning a mix of genres from folk to funk include The Electric Swing Circus, Fizzy Gillespie, Bloco Branco and Mr Tea and the Minions.


Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival - 23-26 August

Various venues

This year will see the eighth instalment of the popular jazz festival. The line up for 2019 includes an intimate concert with Rumer, Beverley Knight, Jon Cleary and legendary bluesman Lucky Peterson.




Elderflower Fields - 24-27 May

Pippingford Park

Designed especially for families with children, this event offers music, sports, adventure and the arts. There's so much to do, from catching a band perform on Dragonfly Hill to wildlife and nature activities. If your family's not quite ready for the full Glastonbury experience, this could be your perfect first festival together.


Floral Fringe Fair - 1-2 June

Amberley Museum

Here you will find horticulture, vintage fashion, classic cars and acres of foodie treats. There are stalls selling plants and contemporary crafts while lots of activities mean there's always something new to see and do. This year the event will have a steampunk/vintage theme, with fancy dress encouraged.


South of England Show - 6-8 June

This major rural event includes dazzling displays along with demonstrations of British agriculture, horticulture, forestry, equestrianism, rural crafts and skills. The 150-acre showground is arranged into ten zones including Food and Drink, Garden, Plants and Flowers, and hundreds of retail stands. Highlights include the high-energy, micro-sized Shetland Pony Grand National, Artisan Food Village and the Heritage Zone.


Loxwood Joust - 3-4 and 10-11 August

Venture into our chivalrous past at this medieval extravaganza: spectators can expect daring displays of weaponry, archery and cannon fire as armoured knights prepare to meet in battle.




The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting - 20-23 June

Near Burgess Hill

International showjumping superstars converge on the Sussex countryside to showcase their skills and prove their mettle in the Derby. The fiendishly difficult course includes one of the widest water jumps in the world.


Eastbourne International - 21-29 June

Devonshire Park

World-class tennis played at a combined men's and women's event, made all the more scintillating by its proximity in the calendar to Wimbledon. Last year's champions were Caroline Wozniacki and Mischa Zverev.


Festival of Speed - 4-7 July


A must on any petrolhead's calendar, the event in the grounds of Goodwood House provides a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with historic motor racing vehicles.


Cowdray Gold Cup Final - 21 July


One of the pre-eminent polo tournaments in the world, the Gold Cup decides the British Open Polo Championship. The event, held against the stunning backdrop of Cowdray Park, attracts the highest calibre of international players and some very glamorous spectators.


Qatar Goodwood Festival - 30 July-3 August

One of the highlights of the flat-racing calendar on one of the most beautiful courses in the world, Glorious Goodwood provides five days of thrilling equestrian action - plus the opportunity to ogle some fabulous outfits.



Arts and culture

Chichester Festival Theatre Festival 2019 Season - 20 April-29 December

This is Daniel Evans' third season as Artistic Director, and Festival 2019 features a range of work including, but not limited to two musicals, a family-friendly production, talks and workshops.


Brighton Fringe - 3 May-2 June

Across Brighton

One of the biggest events on the Sussex calendar - and the largest open access festival in England - Brighton Fringe is back with a line-up embracing every art form, from food tours to comedy. With more than 4,500 performances going on over the month it is hard to know where to start. Popular venues include Komedia, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, The Warren which is moving to a new location in Victoria Gardens and the Sweet venues spread across the city. Get a taster at Fringe City every weekend.

Brighton Festival - 4-26 May

Across Brighton and Hove

Sussex will see the return of the hugely popular Brighton Festival this month. Taking place across Brighton and Hove, some of the highlights include a celebration of Maya Angelou's legacy at the Brighthelm Centre, comedy from artists like Ruby Wax and Andy Hamilton and a sound installation at the Prince Regent Swimming Pool.

There will also be a number of outdoor activities, including the incredible Museum of the Moon in Queens Park from May 17 to 20 where you can see Luke Jarram's realistic 7m model of the moon using detailed imagery of the lunar surface taken from NASA. Each centimetre represents 5km of the moon's surface.

Artist Open Houses Festival - 4 May-26 May

Across Brighton and Hove

The Artists Open Houses festival 2019, the largest event of its kind in the UK, will take place in Brighton, Hove and beyond, over four weekends from 4 May. Free to visit, the festival will see more than 1,500 artists and makers open the doors to their houses or studio spaces along 14 trails.

The coastal trail follows artists like Colin Rayne in Saltdean who is showcasing paintings and sculptures.


Charleston Festival - 17-27 May

Firle, near Lewes

Charleston, the country seat of the Bloomsbury Group, plays host to ten days of debate about arts, culture, science and politics.

Petworth Festival - 16 July-3 August

Various venues

There is a line up of major names and art forms at this year's Petworth Festival with Rick Wakeman, Julian Clary and Sir John Tomlinson on the bill.


Chichester International Film Festival - 8-25 August

Over 18 days, the south coast's leading film festival screens films over venues across the city (plus open air screenings on 3, 4 and 5 August.


Artwave - 17 August-1 September

This annual festival of artists and makers in Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven celebrated its quarter-century in 2018. The concept is simple: visitors can buy directly from local painters, sculptors, jewellers, textile designers, ceramicists and printers, exhibiting in a number of venues across the area.


Byline Festival - 23-26 August

Pippingford Park, East Sussex

At this festival, opened by John Cleese, there's entertainment from the likes of Matt Bianco and The Blow Monkeys, while speakers include Carole Cadwalladr and Bonnie Greer. Add a range of workshops and themes for discussion and you have an unusually cerebral festival programme.




Loxfest - 11 May

North Hall, Loxwood

A music and beer festival raising funds for Loxwood Pre-School. Up-and-coming bands perform a wide variety of music, with a second acoustic stage in the beer tent featuring local artists. A range of food will also be available plus an exciting array of beers and ciders from top local breweries and a Pimm's, Prosecco and wine bar.


Beach Dreams Festival - 21-23 June

Beach Green, Shoreham Beach

A unique free community event boasting live music, attractions and culture for the whole family.


Wiston Steam Rally - 13-14 July

Wiston Park

More than 1,200 exhibits range from steam traction engines to vintage vehicles. Around the field are fascinating displays of buses, tractors, cars, lorries, military vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles. There is also a large fun fair with traditional rides and side stands, while the Working Area hosts steam-powered demonstrations including woodcutting at the saw benches and stationary engines.


Pride - 2-4 August

Brighton Pride is widely acknowledged as the country's most popular event of its kind. This year's Preston Park line-up is extraordinary, with Kylie Minogue, Clean Bandit, Fleur East and Björn Again all performing.


Arundel Festival - 16-26 August

A ten-day, volunteer-run arts festival which includes street entertainment, a gallery trail, theatre trail and foodie events.

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