Hampshire summer festival guide

Isle of Wight Festival

Isle of Wight Festival - Credit: Archant

This festival season the glorious fields of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will play host to some of the best British shindigs, attracting headliners such as: Dizzee Rascal, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and disco legend, Candi Staton

BoomTown Fair

BoomTown Fair - Credit: Archant

The Desert Island Disco Diva


With over 60,000 festival-goers flocking to the beautiful Isle of Wight each year, Bestival has become one of the biggest events on the island – with 300+ acts playing across more than 20 stages in 10 fields, over four days and nights.

Organiser and BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob da Bank is super excited about this year’s theme: “’Desert Island Disco’ seems to have lit up everyone’s imaginations with its mirrorball and palm tree vibes going down really well,” he explains, “so we thought we’d add some disco divas and pure upfront house legends to the bill: Basement Jaxx did us the great honour of headlining the first ever Bestival way back when, so I’m doubly chuffed they’re coming back to tear it up. Paloma played a few years back when she was just starting out and, on the eve of her disco inspired album coming out, we thought it’d be rude not to. And where do I start with Candi Staton? She may not have played Bestival before but her hits have been caned by DJs over the years. ‘You Got The Love’ is surely going to be one of those ‘moments’ at Bestival 2014.

“Foals were voted Best Live Act of last year and I’m delighted they’ll be headlining the Saturday night – there’s no better indie guitar band in the UK right now. Also donning a grass skirt and mirrorball is a total icon of popular music and one of my favourite songwriters, Beck, plus disco darlings Disclosure, Diplo & his Major Lazer crew and all the hottest new bands from London Grammar to Clean Bandit.”

When: Thursday 4th – Sunday 7th September 2014

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Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight

Tickets: Available from www.ticketline.co.uk or 0844 888 4410, from £195 (adults), £127 (age 13-17) and children 12 and under go free – but you must obtain a ticket.


The Seafront Shindig

Victorious Festival

After the huge success of last year’s event, Victorious Festival will be back once again this summer, smack bang on Southsea Seafront.

Not only is the location larger, this year’s line-up includes some big-name acts such as: Dizzee Rascal, Sub Focus, 2ManyDJs, Seasick Steve, Razorlight and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. And to top it all, ticket prices are £20 or less.

Organiser, Andy Marsh, explains more: “We think Victorious maybe the best value for money family festival in the country. It is a chance to see loads of big acts, entertain the kids and enjoy a variety of attractions without breaking the bank!

“We cannot thank Portsmouth City Council enough for securing this amazing site for the next five years. They share our vision and excitement for the future for Portsmouth and Southsea. The event will be a fantastic asset for the local economy, business, tourism and our cultural presence.”

Festival-goers can indulge themselves at the Real Ale Festival, mooch the boutique markets or have a stomp at the Giant Silent Disco. Plus, with every ticket, you will also be given free access to some of the established seafront attractions including: The Blue Reef Aquarium; Southsea Skate Park; The Pyramids Centre Swimming & Fun Pool; The D-Day Museum & Southsea Castle!

When: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August 2014

Where: Southsea seafront, Portsmouth

Tickets: Day tickets will be available from £15 - £20 (adults), £6 (5-15 year olds) and under 5s go free.


The Make Believe Metropolis

BoomTown Fair

BoomTown Fair is set to transform a stunning slice of Hampshire countryside into the world’s biggest pop-up city festival. Co-director, Lak Mitchell says: “The Matterly Estate, situated within the outstanding beauty of the South Downs National Park, is the perfect home for BoomTown Fair, the surrounding woodland and natural bowl provide endless opportunities for the festival’s theatrical storyline and expansive set design to evolve organically.

“The seclusion that is felt on the site just adds to the feeling that, once within the fair, the attendee is living in an actual pop-up city that is miles away from the realities of everyday life!”

Eight distinct districts will host 38,000 party-goers and 400 artists, with headliners including: Irish-African fusion, Afro Celt Sound System; Australian jazz and ska band - The Cat Empire and French gypsy gyrators – Babylon Circus. Expect a mind-blowing global mix of blues from Mali and Jamaica, dancehall from France and Bermuda, electro-swing from Italy and Switzerland, big brass bands from Rajasthan and New Orleans, Afro-Funk from Wales and Columbia, pirate bands from Holland and Texas, ska out of Sweden and Scotland and folk-punks from Canada and Ireland to name just a few!

“This year we have taken the Fair in a new direction with the expansion of the folk and world music acts, as well as three amazing new sets; the Old Mines, a huge life-size Pirate Ship and a Wild West Street!” explains fellow director, Chris Rutherford. “We have also put a lot of work into making the festival even more family friendly with loads more family dedicated facilities along with a separate entrance and car park and the brand new Sandcastles Stage in our KidzTown district!”

When: Thursday 7th – Sunday 10th August 2014

Where: Matterley Bowl Estate, Winchester

Tickets: Tickets available online, £150 (adults) + booking fee and EcoBond deposit, £20 (6 -12 years), under 6 go free.


The Name Dropper

Isle of Wight Festival

The grand-daddy of all festivals returns to kick off the season with a humongous line-up. Organiser, John Giddings, says: “There’s so much going on this year, personally I can’t wait! I finally got the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who will headline the Main Stage, and the Festival is the only place in the UK you can see them this summer.

“We have some amazing established talent on the bill, including our other headliners: Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon and closing on Friday night Calvin Harris, plus Katy B, Tom Odell, John Newman, The Specials, Suede and Travis. We also have some great new acts appearing over the weekend, check out some of my favourites: Swim Deep, The Strypes, Deap Valley and Chlöe Howl.

“What’s more, new for this year we have the Butlins Ballroom…by day, it’s the place to go for spectacular family entertainment, then by night it transforms into an amazing Silent Disco Battle venue! We’ll also be screening the World Cup in the BT Sport Field of Dreams; Life’s a Beach – our real beach is back or for something a bit different, book yourself a soak in a hot tub – there is something exciting around every corner at the Festival, seek and you will find! Plus, we’ve got loads of accommodation options, from camping to glamping in Tangerine Fields, PodPads and Eve’s Tipis, you can get stuck in or do the Isle of Wight Festival in real style. I’m keeping my fingers, arms and legs crossed and hoping they’re right about the summer heatwave!”

When: Thursday 12th – Sunday 15th June 2014

Where: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight

Tickets: Weekend camping tickets £190, day tickets (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) £75 available from www.isleofwightfestival.com. Children 12 and under free of charge


The Big Beat Boutique


Blissfields attracts a loyal following of festival-goers, drawn by its fresh line-up and laid-back, hazy summer vibe. Located half way between Basingstoke and Winchester, this boutique fest for 4,000 folk takes place in a beautiful hidden valley, framed by old oaks.

The majestic setting is perfect for leaving your inhibitions at the gate and embracing this year’s ‘Walk on the wild side’ theme. Waking up one night, last summer, in the small hours, festival co-founder, Melanie Bliss had “a vision of drag queens and animals running wild, as an earthy bass-line trembled amid the trees of the festival. It was an electrifying stampede, a beautiful mess!”

And once headliners, 2ManyDJs, hit the decks on Saturday night, it is inevitable that Bliss’ vision will erupt in full glory.

Festival favourites, Dub Pistols will return with their big beats and awesome stage presence on Thursday night, whilst New York dance-rockers, Sleigh Bells, will top the Friday night party bill. Also worth a look is the 2014 Critic’s Choice BRIT Award nominee, Chlöe Howl, who returns to Blissfields for her second visit.

If it all gets a little too crazy, you can always retreat to the new ‘Fields of Bliss Spa’ and immerse yourself in the red cedar wood hot tubs, overlooking Blissfield’s mini golf course!

When: Friday 4th & Saturday 5th July 2014

Where: Vicarage Farm, nr. Winchester

Tickets: Prices vary so visit the website for the latest availability.


The Rock and Real Ale Charity Fest

Lowde Fest

Hampshire’s Premier Music and Beer Festival, Lowde Fest, is back again this year to rock Hazeley Bottom, (near Hartley Wintney). Expect 11 hours of non-stop music across two stages, accompanied by over 40 real ales and ciders, plus fabulous food from across the globe.

At the heart of the festival you’ll find the main stage packed with 3,000 partygoers soaking up a mix of rock, indie, blues, funk, soul and ska – from the likes of six piece Plymouth band, Land of Giants and established UK Reggae band, The Drop.

Best of all, all profits made on the day will go to The Lowde Music Trust, in a bid to help support, educate and motivate young people within the music industry.

When: Saturday 5th July 2014

Where: Mulberry House, Hazeley Bottom, near Hartley Wintney

Tickets: Available online, £15 (adults), £5 (13 -17 year olds), children under 13 go free, but ticketed. Camping available from £15.



The Low-Key Luxury Fest

Smoked & Uncut

Those who seek a little slice of festival magic, but prefer a more laid-back intimate atmosphere, should check out the one-day festivals at the THE PIG and its sister hotel, Lime Wood.

Spend a lazy summer’s afternoon in the lush green grounds of the New Forest’s über stylish hotels, devouring pig-inspired platters and sipping on moreish Chase vodka cocktails - whilst chilling to some of the best tunes from New Forest locals, Natives (at THE PIG) and festival-circuit legends, Nizlopi (at Lime Wood), alongside others.

With just 500 tickets per festival, you’ll need to bag yours quick!

When: Sunday 1st June, 2pm – 8pm at THE PIG; Sunday 3rd August, 2pm – 8pm at Lime Wood Hotel

Where: THE PIG, Brockenhurst and Lime Wood Hotel, Lyndhurst

Tickets: Tickets £25 (adults), £75 (family ticket, based on 2 adults and 2 children), additional children will be charged at £25 per child.


The Family Friendly Fest


This two-day family–friendly fest is all about bringing the New Milton community closer together, according to organiser, Lisa Thompson. With four stages on the Saturday and three on the Sunday, the festival returns with its eclectic mix of music: “We have something for everyone,” explains Lisa, “Saturday will be blues, ska and dance, whilst Sunday hosts acoustic and jazz-swing dance.

“Some of the bands include: ten-piece band, The Fliks; Steely Scam, 6 Minutes to Sunrise, Shanty, The Decatonics and Double Barrel,” she continues. “There will be a number of food stalls and a fun fair, plus poi spinners, fire acts, stilt walker and graffiti painting for the kids!”

When: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th August 2014

Where: New Milton

Tickets: Tickets available at www.cgnf.org.uk and www.newmiltonfestival.co.uk, £10 for Saturday, £7 Sunday or £15 weekend ticket.