Summer is fast heading our way, and with it comes festival season! If you don’t fancy travelling too far, then there are some incredible experiences to be had right here on our own doorstep. From the almighty Glastonbury (hats off to you if you’ve managed to secure your tickets already) to the magical Valley Fest at Chew Valley Lake, these are the festivals near Bath 2019 that feature top of our must-do list this summer! Which one do you fancy?
1. Pub in the Park
After its hugely successful launch in Bath last summer, this family-friendly, three-day festival returns to Royal Victoria Park next month with its winning mix of food, drink and music. Basement Jaxx (DJ set), Texas, Will Young, Gabrielle and Soul II Soul Sound System have all been announced so far, alongside an impressive list of local, pop-up gastro pubs including the Marlborourgh Tavern and the King William. As well as stalls and tasting events from a range of south west producers, there are masterclasses and demos featuring Michelin-starred chefs (including our favourite, the brilliant Angela Hartnett). With afternoon or evening ticket options available, you can go along for as much or as little as you fancy; if you’ve never been to a festival before or just don’t fancy the idea of camping, then this is definitely worth a look.
21-23 June 2019; Royal Victoria Park, Bath
2. Larmer Tree
When it comes to venues, the family-friendly Larmer Tree is definitely a hard one to beat. Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Larmer Tree Gardens (former Victorian pleasure gardens on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, complete with resident peacocks and macaws), this is a wonderfully quirky festival featuring top-notch local, national and international artists and comedians. Expect an eclectic range of music from over 100 bands and acts across six stages, as well as a comedy club, 150 free workshops (including open air yoga) and memorable street theatre. Headliners this year include Gomez, Jack Savoretti, The Shires and KT Tunstall. The gardens themselves are magical, beautifully lit with open air art installations, while for the little ones, there’s a dedicated kids’ zone and the traditional Larmer Tree carnival procession.
18-21 July 2019; Larmer Tree Gardens, Cranborne Chase, nr Salisbury
A giant on the festival trail, WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance, and there are certainly plenty of all three on offer at this 4-day cultural extravaganza in July. Returning to the picturesque site at Charlton Park near Malmesbury, WOMAD boasts no less than seven separate stage and workshop areas. Ziggy Marley (son of Bob), Macey Gray and Orbital are among the headliners this year, and they rub shoulders with lessor known but equally revered artists such as Juan De Marco’s Afro-Cuban All Stars (check them out here, and see if you can stop your feet from tapping). As well as the music, there’s the World of Words, World of Art, World of Children, World of Wellbeing, not forgetting Taste the World. Yes, it’s big, it’s bold, it’s diverse, but its also a magnificent celebration of the many different cultures and musical genres that make up our wonderful world. If you’ve never been before, then go – it promises to be an amazing experience.
25-28 July 2019; Charlton Park, nr Malmesbury
4. Valley Fest
Billed as ‘the best-tasting music festival in the South West’, Valley Fest is all about the food but with some great music thrown into the mix as well. The masterminds behind it all are the lovely people at Yeo Valley, so it’s no surprise that six-course feasts, tapas menus and wonderful-sounding street food feature heavily on the menu. Spread across a gently sloping meadow beside Chew Valley Lake, it’s the perfect festival for foodies and music-lovers alike, and a great venue for families too, both young and old. With DJ sets from Basement Jaxx and Leftfield, plus Razorlight and Tom Odell this year, in the words of the organisers themselves, expect “plenty of treats, beats and things to eat!” No wonder it’s made our shortlist of top 5 festivals near Bath 2019!
2-4 August 2019; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset
5. The Downs Bristol
For the final festival of the summer, we head across to our big sister, Bristol. The Downs is the city’s largest one-day music festival and takes place right at the end of August. Festival organisers have announced an impressive first wave line-up that includes Madness, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones and Neneh Cherry. Alongside the music, there’s talks from key note speakers (guests from last year’s festival included the brilliant political comedy star, Shappi Khorsandi – see a clip of her here) plus a superb Children’s Arena with a range of activities, workshops and dancing aimed at keeping the little ones happy. A memorable way to mark the end of summer 2019.
31 August and 1 September 2019; Clifton Downs, Bristol