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The Muddy Summer Festival Guide: Kent and Beyond

I’m a dedicated festival lover but, let’s be clear, I’m not a hardcore roll-in-mud and wet-wipes-at-dawn music-fan. Oh no. I’m just going to come out and say that I’m a namby-pamby glamper. All the way. So I get excited at this time of year when there’s so many awesome music festivals going on right here on my doorstep. That way I can head out, rock out and then pass out back home in the comfort of my own bed. Here’s the Muddy Guide to the best festivals due to camp-it-up in Kent and beyond over the next couple of  months. Make some noise! Give it up! Well, you know, after you’ve come back from the prosecco tent…

Vicar’s Picnic, Fri 15 & Sat 16 July

Coco & the Butterfields

Canterbury band Coco & The Butterfields

Launched four years ago, as a commiserative garden party for a group of friends who missed out on tickets to Glastonbury and to raise money for local causes, this festival has grown and grown. With something for everyone from family entertainment to a VW Camper Cocktail Van and breaking artists alongside established bands. Don’t miss Kent band, Coco  & The Butterfields, with their crowd-stomping new musical genre, ‘Fip Fok’ (on Fri 15) and rock giants Reef (on Sat 16).

JAM on the Marsh, Thurs 7 – Sun 17 July


Sounds Baroque, JAM on the Marsh festival regulars

From music to poetry and art to crafts, JAM on the Marsh celebrates this quiet, corner of Kent and inspired by the dramatic backdrop, particularly its famous medieval churches. Concerts, exhibitions, talks, poetry and children’s events.

Create Festival, Sat 23 July


Celebrating its 21st birthday, this one’s going in because it’s one of the South East’s biggest FREE music festivals, taking place every year in Ashford’s Victoria Park. This year it’s headlined by DAVID LIVE (The David Bowie Tribute Show), the line-up of is a mix of local original acts spanning from rock, pop, folk & dance. Festival goers are promised a spectacular pyrotechnic ending…

Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone, 23 & 24 July


Is big hair the secret to halting time?

Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Europe… no this is not an insight to ‘My Fave 80s Classic Rock Bands’ playlist, its just some of the acts headlining at this proper rock festival. No idea how some of these guys are still going (where *do* they find the energy?) – if rock if your thang, go on and let your hair down (literally).

Leefest, near Tunbridge Wells, Thurs 28 July – Sat July 30


Imaginary kaleidoscopic realm, The Neverland, has been created for this festival, comprising three main stages, or ‘tribes’ each with a different theme and musical feel (pop, ambient or pumping beats). Lianne La Havas, fresh from supporting Colplay on tour, is the Saturday night headliner.

Whistable Oyster Festival – Thurs 21 July – Sun 31 Jul


Come on the girls!

Food, music and comedy festival – with everything from oyster eating competitions to mud tugs (see image above). This festival is one of my favourites and if you’re lucky enough to go don’t miss the eagerly anticipated Grotter building – small hollow mounds decorated with the 1000s of left over oyster shells and lit all along the beach at night. Magical.

Margate Soul Festival, Fri 5 Aug – Sun 7 Aug

Margate Soul Festival

Like sunshine, soul music and the seaside? Kathy Sledge (of Sister Sledge fame), Soul II Soul and CeCe Peniston are just a few of the big R & B/Soul acts heading to the Kentish coast for this high summer weekend festival.


Latitude, Suffolk, 14 – 17 July


New Order heading and dozens of other great acts. Everything on offer here from a dedicated comedy tent, dance, cabaret, theatre, storytelling, literature, an Inbetweener’s Stage for kids 12+ (great idea), and a dedicated kids’ area and family camping zone, with its own schedule of activities. Awesome.

Hippy hedonism here we come! This year’s theme is ‘The Gardener’s Guide To The Galaxy’ – not sure what to make of that expect half the festival goers are going to be spaced out. The usual added extras plus a lineup that includes the brilliant Air, Caribou and Primal Scream.
Grange Farm, nr. Campbridge,
Camp Bestival, Dorset, 28 – 31 July
I’m adding this one because it’s a family favourite and hard to beat. FabBoy Slim, Tears for Fears, Jess Glynne, Katy B, KT Tunstall, Squeeze, Arrested Development, Bananarama and DJ Yoda think so because they’re all rocking up to play. The sister festival of the Isle of Wight’s Bestival, Camp Bestival has won Best Family Festival four times, most recently in 2013 & 2014 so it knows what it’s doing. Set in the gorgeous grounds of Lulworth Castle, Camp Bestival is jam-packed with entertainment and features a huge kids’ area. A no brainer.
Lulworth Castle, Dorset,

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