The best festivals to go to in Hampshire
- Credit: Scott M Salt Photography
From garlic and sparkling wine to sunken cities and coastal concerts, Hampshire's festival scene is making up for lost time as crowds come flooding back for 2022
Boomtown is back! Ready to transform the beautiful valley at the Matterley Estate into a reimagined sunken city of Downtown valley. After a tough few years, the festival is going back to its roots, explains Head of Comms, Gen Madeira: ‘We used the downtime Covid-19 presented as an opportunity to reshape the way we do things here at Boomtown. Our 2022 show, Boomtown Chapter One: The Gathering, is as creatively charged as ever before, but we have reshaped the whole process around the things that matter to us as an organisation: creativity, connection and celebration, and we do all those things with respect for ourselves, each other and the planet.
Our Boomtown community can also look forward to a total redesign of the show this August; many old favourite districts and stages that our audience know and love, with a few new highlights for good measure.’
When: August 10 to 14
Take me there: boomtownfair.co.uk
The UK’s biggest metropolitan, family-friendly festival returns to Southsea Common this bank holiday with another epic line-up. Sam Fender, Stereophonics and Paulo Nutini headline this three-day seaside shindig; other acts include Primal Scream, Anne-Marie and Bombay Bicycle Club.
The Victorious Kids Arena - a mini-festival in itself – has plenty of free fun for younger festival goers: circus skills, history and science from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and The Mary Rose Museum and face painting, to name a few.
When: August 26, 27 and 28
Take me there: victoriousfestival.co.uk
Mucky Weekender returns for its third instalment this summer. This intimate two-day gathering - curated by Dub Pistols’ frontman Barry Ashworth – features four stages of live music. You can expect world-class DJs - The Prodigy’s Leeroy Thornhill, Krafty Kuts, Plump DJs, Don Letts, Dreadzone and, of course, the Dub Pistols - street performers, comedy, magic and an exclusive art installation.
But it’s the laid-back vibe that really makes this festival a bit special. ‘I’m a strong believer that the crowd are just as important as the performers,’ says Barry. ‘Everyone has a smile on their face and are full of love. It’s the kind of festival you could go to alone and leave with 1000 new friends. We are really excited to host this event and can’t wait to put a smile back on peoples’ faces.’
Returning to the new festival site, in Woodmancott, near Winchester, Barry comments: ‘It could not be more beautiful, set in 28-acres of private parkland and stunning countryside. Our ethos is very much one of ‘leave no trace’, and judging by our first year it’s an ethos the crowd fully embrace too.’
When: September 9 and 10
Take me there: mucky-weekender.co.uk
Smoked and Uncut
Make the most of a sunshine-soaked Saturday in the fields surrounding Lime Wood in the New Forest with an open-air party for everyone! Grab your party pals, dig into some seriously good field food, sip on something chilled and dance the day away with headliners Earth, Wind & Fire.
Make the most of the festival vibes and spectacular surroundings and sleep under the stars in your very own bell-tent. Cosy up in the glamping village, tuck into Chef Angela Hartnett’s three course Italian-inspired field supper, and dance like no one is watching to good old-fashioned rock and roll!
When: July 23
Take me there: smokedanduncut.com/lime-wood
Hampshire Food Festival
Loosen your waistband, Hampshire Fare returns this summer with a month-long programme of events for food-lovers. This year’s line-up includes some much-loved experiences including tours and cheese suppers at Lyburn Farm and the local produce market and chefs’ kitchen at the New Forest Show.
Exciting new experiences feature the Gin and Beer Fest at the Gin Palace in Andover; BBQ Masterclasses with SoCal in Southampton; Workshops with South Downs Sourdough in Cheriton; and Food Fare at Westlands Farm Shop in Wickham. A number of pop-up and special dining experiences will take place across the county, including Hampshire Deli in Wolverton, Balmer Lawn in Brockenhurst and The Lighthouse in Milford.
Commercial manager Tracy Nash comments: ‘Hampshire Food Festival celebrates one of the great pleasures in life: food and drink with a relaxed carnival atmosphere and opportunities to discover new tastes and experiences. The festival continues to provide what it set out to achieve: a great opportunity for independents to raise their profile and a unique way for everyone to enjoy and appreciate Hampshire’s heritage, culture, and sense of place.’
When: July 1 to 31
Take me there: hampshirefare.co.uk
Vineyards of Hampshire (VoH) Fizz Fest
Spend a hazy summer’s day besides the River Test in the company of Hampshire’s finest vineyards. Now in its eighth year, this year’s event will be hosted by Black Chalk Vineyard.
‘We’ve all missed Fizz Fest and it’s so good to be back for 2022!’ says Black Chalk Vineyard’s Sales Director, Andrew Seden, ‘We’re looking forward to welcoming wine lovers from near and far, to meet our vineyard teams and taste our beautiful wines in the stunning Hampshire countryside. And this year, we’ll be introducing our newest member, Louis Pommery England, to our beautiful county’s favourite wine and food festival.’
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You can book tickets for Fizz Fest entry, as well as for exclusive Masterclasses in the Wine Workshop Barn – such as Enjoy Discovering Wine and Tipple Talk – and pre-bookable vineyard and winery mini tours.
This year’s festival will be opened by our very own wine expert and best-selling author, Helen McGinn: ‘I am both thrilled and honoured to be officially opening this year’s Vineyards of Hampshire Fizz Fest. I can’t wait to raise a glass with visitors and producers to celebrate the fantastic wines we have on our doorstep.’
With over 20 sparkling wines to sample, we recommend plonking yourself on a hay bale or rolling out a picnic blanket and soaking up the atmosphere to the tune of the live band.
When: July 24
Take me there: vineyardsofhampshire.co.uk
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival offers a heady mix of country fair, pop festival and enough garlic to end all vampires. This family favourite unites garlic lovers from across the globe to celebrate this pungent ingredient. You really will find all-things garlic here: ice-cream, popcorn, fudge, biscuits, sweetcorn, mushrooms and more.
Besides the garlic, you can expect live music, arena fun with ‘The Garlic Games’, falconry displays and high-energy silliness from the Flying Seagull Project. Head to the beer tent to enjoy a cold refreshing ale or, if you prefer a non-alcoholic beverage, check out the tea tent for an unforgettable afternoon tea experience.
Don’t miss award-winning chef, Robert Thompson, who has been bringing world-class cooking to the Isle of Wight, sharing his passion about wonderful local flavours and growers.
When: August 20 and 21
Take me there: garlicfestival.co.uk
Winchester Hat Fair
The city’s iconic arts festival is back again with outdoor theatre, dance, comedy, music and, of course, specially invited, world class ‘hatters’ (street performers) performed in a range of locations across the historic city centre. Expect the unexpected, the glorious, the beautiful, the profound and the downright mischievous on the ancient streets. Andrew Loretto, Hat Fair and Playmakers Director says: ‘Hat Fair returns in style to the city centre this year with a cracking programme of artistes lined up for the whole weekend – including an international exclusive. We can’t wait to see you all in Winchester in July.’
When: July 1 to 3
Take me there: hatfair.co.uk
New Forest Fairy Festival
Dust off your wings, sprinkle some Fairy Dust and escape to the New Forest for Chapter 10 of this enchanting fest. This uplifting weekend of family-friendly fairy magic promises entertainment and workshops, and handmade arts and crafts designed to help you discover the magic of nature. There’ll be live acoustic bands, story-telling, belly dancing, a healing area and talks from the wise women of the Forest who teach the fairies their secrets. Go with an open mind – and you may just spot some of the resident Forest Folk.
When: August 13 and 14
Take me there: newforestfairyfestival.com