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Festivals: events for the more mature reveller (without the mud wrestling)

September 12, 2011
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Silhouette of musiciansIt’s kind of annoying the way the mee-ja go on about Glastonbury as if it’s the only festival worth going to. No disrespect to our Glastonbury goers out there, but there are so many other festivals about that don’t involve thousands of 20 year olds wrestling in mud. Whether music, books or food, you can find plenty of festivals you’ll like to go to even if you’re what we shall kindly call here the more mature type of camper. (I should definitely be kind here as I suspect I’m edging towards that category myself. Although I must admit that even at 21 I was never really a fan of spending three days in the company of thousands of other people, bah-humbugging grump that I am.)

You can search Pitchup.com for sites near festivals – just enter the festival name on the homepage, or if you’re stuck for inspiration check out our list of upcoming festivals for ideas. But as I’m kind (and reaching a mature age), here’s a list of ten festivals that won’t have you wrestling in mud – unless you want to.

  • Tenby Arts Festival: The community arts festival Tenby is on for a week from this weekend, from 17—24 September. There are theatre and literary events, sand sculpture building on the beach, a town parade and a line-up including the Tenby Male Choir and Acker Bilk's Paramount Jazz Band.
  • Roman River Festival: French it up at the Roman River Festival (yes, really), a festival of Gallic music, food, film and culture along the Roman River valley in Essex, from 1 – 9 October. There’s classical, jazz, folk and world music and a performance of La Bohème created from scratch, and many of the events are free.
  • Ullapool Guitar Festival: The eleventh Ullapool Guitar Festival is from 7—9 October in the Macphail Centre at Ullapool in Scotland. There’s also a Late Night Festival Club at the Arch Inn in West Street. The Ullapool line-up includes John Strong, Paul Buckley, Clive Carroll and the John Goldie Band.
  • Cheltenham Comedy Festival: The Cheltenham Comedy Festival on 15—19 November has a top line-up of comedians including Jeremy Hardy and Ed Byrne, and performances of The Boy With Tape on His Face, The Comedy Cabaret and Late Night Fringe. There’s also a family fun day with workshops, performances, comedy and face painting. Tickets for all events are on sale from Cheltenham Town Hall on 0844 576 2210.
  • Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival: While Morris dancing mightn’t be your thing – not that we’d judge you if it were – the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival should offer you plenty of other options. It’s running from 15—17 June 2012, with a narrowboat rally, music, street theatre, juggling, parades, concerts, nightly ceilidh and stalls. There’s also a children’s festival with talent show, face painting and a fairground.
  • Scribbler's Picnic: Scribbler’s Picnic is a small one-day event in Stirling with all proceeds going to charity. Next year’s festival is on Sunday 17 June, with events of all types crammed in throughout the day – two rock tents, acoustic tent, beer tent, six music stages, cabaret, karaoke, charity stalls, drumming workshops and sports.
  • Lounge on the Farm: Lounge about on Merton Farm in Canterbury on 6—8 July 2012, for local music acts performing alongside established ones from all over the country. There are music stages, The Village Green with local beer and cider, a solar cinema and the Little Lounge for younger loungers.
  • Larmer Tree: Rock alongside the peacocks and macaws at Larmer Tree Gardens at this small (4,000 max) festival which sold out this year. The next one runs from 11—15 July 2012, with blues, jazz, reggae, acoustic folk and world music, as well as 150 free workshops, carnival, theatre, art and a kids’ zone. Camping and parking on site are both free.
  • Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally: If you like a bit of politics with your festival, check out the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival in Dorset, running from 13—15 July next year. It’s organised by the TUC and has plenty of music, seminars and talks, creative workshops and a processional march on the last day.
  • Fairport's Cropredy Convention: Taking place since 1976 on an ancient field in the Oxfordshire village of Cropredy, this folk and rock music festival is organised by members of the electric folk band Fairport. Taking place from 11-13 August 2012, Status Quo, Robert Plant and Yusuf Islam have appeared in earlier festivals, as well as morris dancers at the locals pubs.

There you go, and not a mud bath in sight...

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