18 festivals happening this summer in Dorset

People gather in a crowd in front of an outdoor stage as the lights go up

There are so many festivals and shows to enjoy this summer - Credit: Leslie del Moral, Unsplash

In August, there are an amazing 18 festivals and shows happening across Dorset for you to choose from and really make this summer special. 

As restrictions lift, many festivals and outdoor shows have been given the go-ahead and are itching to welcome you back. Dorset has everything from live music and tribute bands to family festivals. Whatever your preferences, there's something that will inspire and entertain.

Poole Harbour Festival

30th July - 1st August

Kicking us off and into August is the biggest festival in Poole and Bournemouth which is a great family day out (or three). Enjoy more than 50 live music acts across three stages in Baiter Park. Included in entry is free kids activities including street performers, Mad 4 Animal Shows, and The Amazing Dinosaur Show.

Tickets and information here.

Great Dorset Chilli Festival

31st July - 1st August

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Next up is the hottest day out in Sturminster Newton. The development of the Dorset Naga, at one time reputed to be the world’s hottest chilli, has really put Dorset on the map for chilli enthusiasts which this festival seeks to celebrate. Enjoy not just the delicious food, but also a number of stalls, eating competitions, and more. This will be great fun for food enthusiasts and families alike.

Tickets and information here.

Camp Bestival

31st July - 1st August

It is astonishing just how much the organisers cram into one weekend for Camp Bestival, you'll be spoiled for choice. Throughout the day you can enjoy any number of live music acts, performances, talks, and activities that both adults and kids will enjoy. 

Tickets and information here.

Dorset Arts & Crafts Showcase

6th - 10th August

The showcase celebrates the wide diversity and high quality of arts, crafts & photography carried out within Dorset.  A major theme of the event will be a gallery style display of work created by DACA members. All items in this display will be for sale so it's a great place to pick up gifts and souvenirs. 

Tickets and information here.

Dorset Food and Arts Festival- lite

7th August

This is a one day pop-up festival that celebrates the amazing produce and crafts that are created in Dorset the whole year round. Due to restrictions, this is much smaller than the usual festivities, however there will still be plenty to do and see at this free event.

Information here.

Jive N Vibe Westbourne Music Fest

7th - 8th August

Enjoy a weekend of great music from 50s classics to present day jams. This is a completely free festival to attend although they do ask you book a ticket in advance where possible so they have an idea of numbers on the day. Kids can also enjoy rides, face painting, balloon modelling, craft stalls, and so much more.

Tickets and information here.

Southbourne's Shake and Stir

7th - 8th August

Enjoy a day of retro fun by the sea at one of the most popular vintage festivals in the UK. This is a free to enter event where you can explore retro music, vehicles, dancing, fashion and lifestyle living. This is another festival where they would be grateful if you could reserve a free tickets so they can predict numbers and keep visitors safe. You can also still watch their 'From Home' series from last year when the festival went online.

Tickets and information here.

Upton House Food and Drink Festival

13th - 15th August

This festival promises three days of great food, drink, and local produce. With a music stage hosting top acts across three days, as well as a second stage hosting top chefs, guests, and kids' entertainment, there's something for everyone. You'll be able to browse an amazing number of stalls selling everything from delicious snacks to produce to take home, locally brewed alcohol to trinkets and crafts. 

Tickets and information here.

Bridport Folk Festival

13th - 15th August

After so much uncertainty, the Bridport Folk Festival cannot wait to invite you back. At the moment they are still working out the logistics and will add any new information to their website. This a great community event that celebrates the talents of local musicians. If you can spare anything, they are currently crowdfunding to ensure they can afford to go ahead this year.

Information here.

Let's Rock Southampton

14th August

Enjoy the UK's biggest retro festival with amazing music and fun from the 80s. This family friendly festival is entering its 12th year and promises to be just the celebration everyone needs. You can bring a picnic and sample great food from local vendors dotted around the stage area.

Tickets and information here.

Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

19th - 22nd August

This festival takes place on a small farm and yet is jam-packed with performances and things to do. They are very family-centric, offering a great deal of activities for both young and old to enjoy. There is everything from local and international musicians, storytelling, clay craft workshops, and youth music workshops. 

Tickets and information here.

Wonky Donk

20th - 22nd August

After multiple reschedules and uncertainty, the Wonky Donk organisers are very excited to get this show on the road. This small festival showcases the talents from the surrounding area in what they like to think of as "a unique family style affair with a garden party for all". 

Tickets and information here.

BeCider Seaside 13

27th - 30th August

This micro-festival packs a surprisingly big punch at Bredy Farm over the August bank holiday. They promise "a super friendly and chilled atmosphere" to kick back and wave the summer goodbye. You can also camp out at the venue so grab your tent or live-in vehicle to make this a truly fun end to the month.

Tickets and information here.

Lyme Folk Weekend

27th - 30th August

Another bank holiday treat is the Lyme Regis folk extravaganza of free live music, shanty singing, storytelling, and Morris dancing along the seafront. The Marine Theatre will also play host to a number of the UK's finest folk musicians including headliners Gigspanner Big Band. Anything along the waterfront is free to attend but you will need to purchase tickets for the gigs at the theatre. 

Tickets and information here.

Bournemouth 7s Festival

27th - 30th August

Now in it’s 14th year, Bournemouth 7s Festival has solidified a national reputation for putting on a great party for sportspeople and festival-lovers alike. Nicknamed the Sporting Glastonbury, teams compete in Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Volleyball, and Dodgeball, whilst spectators can enjoy live music and more.

Tickets and information here.

Shaftesbury Fringe Festival

27th - 30th August

Fringe is an open performing arts festival that takes place every summer in the beautiful hill top town of Shaftesbury. It's a celebration of all things creative, which means anyone with a story to tell can put on a Fringe event, and they welcome both new and established artists to perform and exhibit in one of over 30 venues.

Tickets and information here.

World of Love Festival

28th - 30th August

The World of Love Festival is an umbrella event for diverse communities to share their cultures, traditions, languages, food, and businesses,. A "celebration of humanity", they are very excited to be back after cancelling last year's celebrations with more vibrant and incredible activities for the whole family to enjoy. 

Tickets and information here. 

Christchurch Food Festival

28th - 30th August

Last, but certainly not least, we have a delicious free festival that no foodie will be able to resist. Browse the countless stalls of local produce and don't forget to take plenty home for the whole family to enjoy. In addition to the normal festivities, they will be running a series of pop-up restaurants on the beautiful Quayside. 

Information here.

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