The best Hampshire festivals in 2016

BoomTown Fair is one of the UK's wildest independent festivals (Photo by Jody Hartley)

BoomTown Fair is one of the UK's wildest independent festivals (Photo by Jody Hartley) - Credit: Archant

Enjoy everything from wine to watersports this year in Hampshire

Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival

What’s not to love about a wine festival? This year, Hattingley Valley will be hosting the summer’s annual Vineyard’s of Hampshire Wine Festival. As well as getting a guided tour of the vineyard and winery, you can swirl, sniff and sip your way through delicious home-grown vinos from seven of Hampshire’s producers - and learn why English wine is having such a renaissance! Hattingley Valley owner, Simon Robinson says: “Hampshire is rapidly developing into a premier wine producing county and the leading producers all see the success of one as the success of all, so it comes very naturally for us all to work together. With the ever increasing excitement surrounding English wine, this event has become one of the highlights of the Hampshire summer. We are delighted to host this year’s festival and look forward to welcoming the other Hampshire wineries and lots of new visitors to our winery in Lower Wield.”

• When? July 17, 12pm – 4.30pm

• How much? £8, find out more at

Basingstoke Festival

Basingstoke Festival takes over the town for a whole month, kicking off with the much-loved carnival parade through the heart of the town. Sun bird puppets, giant kangaroos and a beautiful polar bear will all be part of the procession. For families, there’ll be a circus spectacular, specially crafted children’s drama and aerial acrobatic artists. Other events include a weekend celebration of literary women, a Chilli & Cheese festival and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will even be making an appearance!

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The festival’s grand finale is Basingstoke Live – a two-day, free music festival on July 9 and 10, offering up an eclectic mix of rock, reggae, indie and drum ‘n’ bass. Five stages will take over the War Memorial Park with Grime MC, P Money, headlining on Saturday and Ska legend, Neville Staple, formerly of The Specials, raising the roof on the Sunday.

• When? June 17 to July 10

• How much? Many events, including the music festival are free, visit and for full line-up and tickets

Curious Arts Festival

Looking for a boutique fest that’s a little different? The Curious Arts Festival is happy to oblige. Situated at the beautiful, privately-owned Pylewell Park in the New Forest – the eclectic line up includes: Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, singer songwriter Billy Bragg and a weekend-long Sonnet-a-thon by Polly Stenham to mark the 400 year anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. There’ll be literature talks and workshops from prize-winning authors including Deborah Moggach (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and music from former Bombay Bicycle Club vocalist, Lucy Rose and lead guitarist form Razorlight, Gus Robertson. Other curious happenings include a Jabberwocky Hunt for children aged 3 and up, puppet theatre workshop, night-time bat walks, insect walks with insectophile Bridget Nicholls and you can even learn how to be lazy with The Lazy Guru and author of The Mindful Art of Achieving more by Doing Less, Laurence Shorter!

• When? July 22–24

• How much? £120 for adults, Children 13 and under go free. Evening tickets start from £20, day tickets from £40. Find out more and book at

Hampshire Food Festival

The Hampshire Food Festival shows off the counties foodie credentials with a month-long line up of over 75 events – from wine tastings and cheese tours, lavender fields to pop-up restaurants, coffee roasting to water buffalo walks – there’s something for all taste buds. There’s even a festival within a festival…Farm Fest is a laid back, family-friendly do, taking place from July 16-17 on the small working Parsonage Farm in Upton, Andover. Expect live music, activities for the kids, a bar and local food. Bring your tent and if you enjoyed yourself a little too much, the promise of home-cooked Sunday brunch should ease the pain.

• When? Throughout July 2016

• How much? Keep an eye out for the Hampshire Food Festival programme in farm shops, pubs, restaurants and more or visit for full listings and event pricing

Wickham Festival

This relaxed, family-friendly, festival returns with a Live UK Music Business award under its belt for ‘Best Festival (Under 15,000) 2015’. The historic village of Wickham will welcome Spandau Ballet frontman, Tony Hadley, The Stranglers, Lindisfarne and SAS Band (aka Spike’s All Stars) which features Fish, Toyah and Roger Taylor of Queen.

• When? Thursday 4 August – Sunday 7 August

• How much? Adults, £160, Under 16s, £80 for the whole weekend. Or £60 for the day, £30 for under 16s. Evening only tickets are priced at £40 for adults and £20 for under 16s. Under 10s go free.

BoomTown Fair

If you truly want to escape the realities of life and lose yourself for a weekend, make your way to one of the UK’s wildest independent festivals. A beautiful green valley near Winchester is transformed into a sprawling metropolis, with nine totally individual and immersive districts, created by a network of craftsmen, artists and imaginative minds! Over 500 artists and every kind of musical genre are on the line-up, from ska, folk, gypsy, reggae, world, punk, pirate and disco to electro-swing, jazz, blue-grass, bass, jungle and techno. Headliners include: Leftfield, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Madness, Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, Parov Stelar and Levellers.

• When? Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 August

• How much? Adults, £170, Children 12 and under for free,


The UK’s biggest alcohol-free (Youth) Music festival returns to Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Petersfield, to celebrate its 10th birthday! This year, Butserfest have bagged their first European act, French pop punkers, Chunk! No Captain Chunk, along side local headlining bands: Creeper, Seething Akira and Flashfires.

Butserfest team leader, Bob Coleman, Said: “It’s essential to us that the ethos of Butserfest remains one of a fantastic festival experience in a safe drug and alcohol free environment, and we are committed to making sure that everyone who attends in September leaves the event happy, healthy and having experienced the best festival ever.”

Along with live music and food stalls, festival goers can fly through the air on the new zip wire, or try out the zorbs, skateboard and surf simulators and last man standing games.

• When? Saturday 12 September

• How much? £15 in advance or £30 on the gate.

Portsmouth International Kite Festival

Portsmouth International Kite Festival returns to Southsea Common for the 25th time this summer, filling the skies with a kaleidoscope of kites flown by hundreds of pro fliers from across four continents! Jointly organised by Portsmouth City Council and The Kite Society of Britain, the event is recognised as one of the best kite festivals in the world. Thousands of spectators will enjoy two-days of colourful demonstrations as swarms of snakes, frogs, lizards, fish and salamanders swoop overhead. Look out for beautiful single line kites with intricate designs - marvel at the engineering wonder of cellular kites and the magical range of 3D soft kites. Super family friendly - there’ll be a free children’s kite workshop, craft tents and stalls.

• When? 13 – 14 August

• How much? Free to enter.

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

Garlic lovers rejoice! One of Britain’s top foodie festivals returns to the rolling green hills, just outside Newchurch on the beautiful Isle of Wight. For two days, 20,000 visitors can expect cooking demos from the Island’s top chefs, cider, live music, and plenty of entertainment for the kids – but, obviously, the main focus is the garlic itself! Fill your belly and basket with a vast variety of pungent goodies, from garlic mayonnaise and the more-ish Vampire’s Revenge Chutney, to smoked garlic and the giant bulbs of Elephant Garlic – that can weigh over a kilo!

• When? Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 August

• How much? Advance tickets cost £9 for adults, £8 for senior citizens, 5-15 year olds are £5 and under 5s go free.

Smoked & Uncut – Limewood & The PIG

If laid-back and intimate is more your style, look no further. Smoked & Uncut offers the best bits of festival fun compacted into a six hour slot. No mud or tents required, just come armed with a picnic blanket, select the finest hay bale and settle down for an afternoon of music, feasting and English sparkling wine. Chase Distillery will be on hand with cocktails and you’ll find vintage stores, vinyl shops and tug-o-war for the kids. Smoked & Uncut takes place in the grounds of two of the New Forest’s sexiest hotels - The PIG & Lime Wood, and the latter promises headliner, The Noisettes.

• When? Limewood – Sunday 21 August, THE PIG – Sunday 4 September 2016

• How much? Tickets start at £30 per person from 3 years up,

Somerley Beer & Music Festival

With over 150+ real ales and ciders to sample, wine tasting and the obligatory festival Pimms - this bank holiday weekend is likely to be a hazy one! Somerley Beer & Music Festival returns to the beautiful Walled Gardens at Somerley House and this time it’s focusing on food! The orchards will be opened up and filled with the best local produce - hog roast, BBQ, Mexican and fresh pizza are also on the menu - so all you need to do is eat, drink and be merry, whilst soaking up the live music.

• When? Saturday 27 August

• How much? £8 with 20% first come first served, or £10 after that. Under 16s go free.


Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…especially when Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Mark Ronson, Wolfmother, Editors, Boomtown Rats and the Manic Street Preachers are all in town! Victorious is back on Southsea seafront with an epic line-up, heaps of free stuff to keep the kids entertained, a Real Ale village, The Big Top Soul Circus, and what’s more it’s cheap as chips (from £30 adults, £7 kids and £1 for under 5s) compared to the majority of fests.

• When? Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 August, find out more at

Graze Festival, Winchester

Graze is a real home-grown fest, started last year by a small group of residents in Twyford. This family day of music and fine food drew crowds of more than 2000 people and raised over £10,000 for local charities. “The feedback we received was ‘please don’t change anything, please don’t go corporate or try to expand too much’”, says co-organiser Tim Smith. So, this year the festival returns, hoping to keep its raw charm, with a line-up including Toyah (Wilcox), John Otway and 80s ska revival band, The Beat - whose lively tunes are the perfect accompaniment for a balmy summer evening.

• When? Sunday 28 August

• How much? Adults are priced at £25, 13-18 year olds and students are £15, under 13s go free,

National Watersports Festival

Over 500 watersports pros will be making their annual pilgrimage to Hayling Island in September for the 10th anniversary of the National Watersports Festival (NWF).

Going back to its roots, the fest will focus on windsurfing, as well as one of the world’s fastest growing sports – stand up paddleboarding. The three-day spectacular offers ‘have a go’ sessions, races and flood-lit displays come moonlight, along with live music, food & drink stalls and parties.

Now attracting 10,000 spectators, event Director, Allan Cross says: “When we started this event a decade ago we really didn’t know how many people would attend and what the reaction would be like, but from the very first festival the NWF has exceeded all our expectations.

“This year we want to deliver a weekend that raises the bar on previous years and we’ve got a number of things up our sleeve that will make this a must-attend event for both competitors and spectators alike.

“There are events for all ages and experience, and even a number of fancy dress heats, where competitors can simply disguise themselves if they’re not very confident on their board!”

• When? 2 – 4 September

• How much? Tickets start from £37.50 for a two night party ticket, find out more at


Set sail to the beautiful Isle of Wight to join 50,000 revellers at Robin Hill Adventure Park. Bestival has earned its rep as an unparalleled party – with a bunch of accolades including ‘best medium sized festival’ and ‘best major UK festival’. No stranger to huge headliners, the 2016 line-up boasts The Cure, Hot chip, Carl Cox House Classics, Fatboy Slim and Bastille. The festival would not be complete without a sprinkle of Bestival madness. This year it comes in the form of authentic Mexican masked wrestling and striptease duo, Lucha VaVoom - and a surprising MC debut from Classic FM’s Aled Jones! Best known for his childhood rendition of ‘Walking in the Air’, Aled will take to the stage showing off his secret encyclopaedic knowledge of the History of Jungles & Drum n Bass - MC’ing alongside Rob da Bank as he takes it back to the Old Skool! Commenting on his Bestival appearance, Aled said: “I’m not sure who’s more excited about coming to Bestival - me or the family! What an honour to be on the same stage with Rob da Bank at his very own festival. Bring it on!”

• When: September 8 – 11

• How much? Adult Early Bird price, £190 (including camping) Students, £180, Teens, £120, Under 12s go free. Book via

Winchester Wine Festival

Fancy spending the day merrily sampling hundreds of delicious wines? Winchester’s Wine Festival takes over the Guildhall bringing with it some home-grown grapes from Hampshire’s finest producers. What’s more Masters of Wine, Susie & Peter, from BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen will be offering a wine masterclass, so you’ll finally know your left bank from your right bank Bordeaux, even if you can no longer read the label! Hiccup.

• When? November 25 – 26

• How much? Tickets are £30 per day,