Tatton Park Pop Up Festival - planning the event of the summer in Cheshire

woman with champagne

Tatton Pop Up Festival – the event that puts the fizz into a Cheshire summer - Credit: Tatton Pop Up Festival

From Dancing Queens to Killer Queens, Ibiza DJs to Kidchella, the 2021 Tatton Park Pop Up Festival was the place to be seen. Now the lakeside extravaganza is back with dozens of events spanning three months

Rebecca Hartley, the entrepreneur who's got the county popping, talks to Joanna Drake

This year's six-week, height-of-summer Tatton Park Pop Up Festival has something for everyone, with daytime family entertainment running alongside exciting evening events.

The summer of '22 line-up includes returning favourites such as Mania – The Abba Tribute, The Greatest Show and Ibiza Symphonic, along with new shows Disco Classical’s ‘Classic Decks’ show, Martin Kemp Back to the 80s and an electrifying opening night featuring Rocket Man – a magical night in tribute to Elton John.  

Last year's launch came amid continuing certainty over lockdowns but was a triumph with its socially distanced setup and varied productions that entertained thousands of visitors, many of whom were going out-out for the first time in more than a year.

woman with head in hands

Entrepreneur Rebecca Hartley will be making Chehsie go pop again this summer - Credit: Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

The festival is the brainchild – and inspired gamble – of Knutsford-based Rebecca Hartley, CEO of Knutsford-based Saving Grace Events.

'The response to last year’s festival absolutely blew me away. It resonated with so many people and in a deeper way than I was expecting,' she says. 

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'Being able to get together with friends and family and enjoy a live entertainment experience in a safe way was an incredible experience after a year or more of not being able to do these things.

'I’m not sure people had realised quite how much they missed the magic of communal experiences until they lived them again. It was emotional and very powerful, and I felt privileged to be part of it.'

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The summertime setting at the Tatton Park Pop Up Festival - Credit: Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

Last summer, tens of thousands of people visited the festival site, located next to the Tatton Park lake with stunning views over the water and spectacular sunsets behind the stage. With more than 40 acts planned for this year’s event, Rebecca expects in excess of 25,000 people to attend across the summer.  

'It was always the plan to bring the festival back this year,' says Rebecca. 'We’ve made some small changes', but the experience will largely be around improving on the same as 2021 – a beautiful setting, the best entertainment, private squares for all guests, VIP experiences, table service and premium food and drinks. 

'Because Covid regulations have been relaxed, we’ll also offer a walk-up bar service this year and we’ve been able to add more seats per event – but without losing that intimate feeling that made last year’s event so special.' 

Making the event special was always the priority for Rebecca and her team. As a Knutsford resident, Rebecca wanted to give something back to her community after the turbulence of the pandemic. 'It’s a celebration of life and everything that I love,' she says.  

'I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37 and underwent a year and a half of gruelling treatment. As I recovered I decided to make a change. I left my 9-5 job and created Saving Grace Events, working with businesses and individuals to create exciting events.  

'In the years that followed, I also lost both my parents and my older sister Michelle. It was the darkest of times for me yet I found that I wanted to do something that brought happiness and joy back to my life and the people around me,' she adds.

This ultimately led to the creation of the festival, as Rebecca sought to design something to celebrate life. 

Influenced by other outdoor festivals, the Tatton Park Pop Up brought something new to Cheshire – a sunshine extravaganza of live performances, great food and drinks, set against an incredible backdrop.  

For Rebecca, Tatton Park was the only choice for location. Its size, accessibility and popularity make it a natural site for the festival.

The lakeside setting provides an air of luxury to spectacular evenings of live entertainment, in conjunction with luxury drinks brands including Moet et Chandon, Whispering Angel and Grey Goose vodka.  

Following her breast cancer diagnosis, Rebecca began supporting the breast cancer prevention charity, Prevent Breast Cancer, later becoming an ambassador. Prevent Breast Cancer is the festival’s official charity partner, with donation and merchandising opportunities at each event to help the charity raise vital funds.  

This year’s line-up includes a return for many of last year’s sell-out shows. The wildly popular Jurassic Earth is back on Sunday, June 25 – a roarsome event for dino-mad little ones, which sees Jurassic beasts roam through the crowds in an impressive storytelling show.  
 

Kidchella at Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

Kidchella at Tatton Park Pop Up Festival - Credit: Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

Other family favourites such as a Princess Tea Party, The Greatest Family Show and Kidchella – the ultimate Coachella-inspired festival experience for children – are all on the bill while Mania – The Abba Tribute returns on Sunday, June 26 and Sunday, July 31.    

'This year, we’ll have more in the way of crowd experiences,' says Rebecca. 'It was tricky last year due to coronavirus restrictions, but we have everything from circus performers to glitter make-up bars planned to add special extras.' 

Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

Oh what a night at Tatton Park Pop Up Festival - Credit: Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

There’s plenty to keep the grown-ups occupied, too, with DJ nights such as Symphonic Ibiza on Saturday, July 2, through to nostalgia events such as Back To The 90s on Friday, July 29 and an 80s night fronted by Martin Kemp on Thursday, August 4.  

A highlight last year for Rebecca was a performance by The Real Thing, who supported Craig Charles Funk and Soul Club.

Three women at pop event

Rebecca Hartley, centre, with members of the Tatton Park Pop Up team team - Credit: Tatton Park Pop Up Festival

'My sister loved The Real Thing and to be able to sit with my family and friends in a safe, open environment and listen to her favourite songs was indescribable. It meant such a lot to be with all the people who’d loved her and remember her in that way. It was incredibly moving, especially considering the fact we were in a pandemic and hadn’t been able to join together like that for so long.' 

Craig Charles returns is back on the bill this year with a show on Thursday, July, 7, bringing his mix of funk and soul to Tatton once again. 

'Tatton Park Pop Up Festival really does have something for everyone. That’s why it touched so many people last year and why we’ve had such an amazing response to this year’s festival already,' says Rebecca. 

'We’ve all missed out on so much over the past two years. We’ve missed parties, celebrations, nights out, family events and so much more. Being able to get together again and enjoy ourselves is really special now – it was always important but now that we’ve seen how precious it is, it really is something to be celebrated.  

'The festival gives people in Cheshire the chance to get together with their friends and family, let their hair down, sing, dance and have a bloody good laugh! And importantly we can do that in a safe way.

'It’s outside, there’s distance between groups and no queuing at busy bars, so even those who are still cautious about Covid can enjoy themselves safely.'

With an impressive line-up complemented by beautiful scenery, exceptional food and drink options, table service and private squares for each group, the Tatton Park Pop Up Festival is looking like to be the place to be in the summer of 2022.  

And beyond? 'The plan has always been to keep growing the festival,' Rebecca says. 'We’ll be coming back next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. We’ll keep running this amazing show as long as people want it. After all, what better place to create an experience like this than Cheshire?' 

Tickets are on sale now at tattonparkpopupfestival.co.uk

Tatton Park Pop Up Festival in numbers 
200 hours of entertainment 
2,000 bottles of fizz 
25,000 people expected to visit 
34 separate shows 

READ MORE: 2022 Tatton Park Pop Up Festival - the line up revealed