Looking for the best music festival to visit this summer? Want to feast at the UK’s best food festivals? Read on for our guide to festivals for food and music lovers…
One of the hottest food events of the year, Wilderness festival in Oxfordshire combines the off-beat fun of the modern British music festival (woodland walks, feasts around the campfire, wild swimming, and, of course, a top-notch music line-up) with seriously good food.
Join one of the long table banquets to enjoy fine wines and bespoke menus from Michelin starred chefs James Knappett and Tom Aikens. Sit in one of the festival’s field restaurant tents and try Italian dishes from Café Murano or a seasonal menu from Petersham Nurseries.
Some of the country’s top chefs will also be hosting chefs’ tables – cosy up to Nieves Barragán of Sabor, Dan Smith of The Fordwich Arms, Neil Borthwick of The French House, Soho and Tom Brown from Cornerstone. With appearances from many other restaurants – including Patty & Bun, Pizza Pilgrims and Smokestak – this festival is a one-stop trip around some of Britain’s finest culinary hotspots.
1-4 August, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire; wildernessfestival.com
A true celebration of all things South West, Valley Fest (from the team behind Yeo Valley) brings together DJs, farmers and local producers. Basement Jaxx, Razorlight and Tom Odell will provide the tunes, while the region’s culinary heroes will be cooking up a feast. Josh Eggleton of Pony and Trap and Rob Howell of Root will be serving a six-course feast using produce grown on the farm, so expect cured sea bream with cucumber, gnocchi with Isle of Wight tomatoes and Strode Valley salad leaves and lemon leaf cream for dessert.
Talks and walks will take place across the three days, so learn more about the local bees and wildlife, tour the farm or listen to Jo Ingleby, Chloe Smee and Zoe Williams discuss how we can connect children with food.
2 – 4 August, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; valleyfest.co.uk
Smoked and Uncut
Three mini festivals taking place at the two Pig hotels and the slightly fancier Limewood hotel across three afternoons this summer, each Smoked & Uncut event promises local bands, blankets and hay bales as well as gourmet food stalls, local ciders and ales and the odd glass or two of English sparkling wine. How very civilised.
Get ready for the legendary BBQ with short ribs, venison burgers, corn-on-the cob and more. Chefs Mark Hix and Angela Hartnett will be cooking al fresco family-style feasts, so save room for hearty curries and plates of pasta, too.
June to July, Hampshire and Somerset; smokedanduncut.com
Port Eliot Festival
This celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun (try and tick them all off during its four-day line-up) is set in the grounds of Port Eliot House, a stately home in the far east of Cornwall.
Like the rest of the event, food talks here have a literary and ideas-driven focus. More a place to question your own approach to – and relationship with – food than to pick up cooking tips (though there will be plenty of those too), guest speakers this year include Polly Russell and Olia Hercules.
A selection of street food chefs will be setting up stalls on the lawn (choose between za’atar, minced lamb and olive oil-topped flatbreads, vegan sushi from Happy Maki and salt and pepper squid from Elseafood). There will also be live demonstrations from James Whetlor, Zoe Adjonyoh and Russell Norman, as well as a series of wood fired suppers hosted by Ben Quinn and his team.
25 – 28 July, Port Eliot, Cornwall; porteliotfestival.com
The Dorset outpost of the Isle of Wight festival has a lot to offer foodies in its Feast Collective food and drink section. Highlights include demonstrations from DJ BBQ, local producers setting up stall at Dorset Farmers’ Market and street-food from Butchies, Happy Maki and Baked in Brick.
The Feast Collective Bar will keep your thirst at bay with beers from Cornwall’s Sharp’s Brewery and Thatchers cider.
25 – 28 July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset; campbestival.net
Musicians from around the world will congregate in Wiltshire this July to share and celebrate world music, food and culture. Listen to the likes of Salif Keita, Anna Calvi, Orbital and Ziggy Marley, then head to the Taste The World stage; here, artists rustle up their favourite dishes from their home countries, leave them to cook while they play their gigs then return to let everyone taste the results. Expect ‘Borscht’ soup from Ukraine’s Dhakabrakha and home-made Turkish dumplings from Baba Zula.
25 – 28 July, Charlton Park, Wilthsire; womad.co.uk
The spectacular Brecon Beacons provide an idyllic backdrop for this boho music festival with a great foodie offering. Meat eaters rejoice, as there will be a selection of hand-salted bacon and sausages from Charcutier Ltd, burgers from Cardiff-based The Grazing Shed and spit-roasts from Roaming Rotisserie. For a taste of the sea, try Weldhman’s caviar and laverbread from street food joint Café Mor or crab burgers from Claw.
Stop off at The Courtyard, where over twenty Welsh breweries will be showcasing the best ales, ciders and perries.
15 – 18 August, Brecon Beacons, Wales; greenman.net
The Big Feastival
A star-studded line up sees the likes of Rudimental and Jess Glynne sharing the spotlight with Raymond Blanc, Chantelle Nicholson and Tom Brown at this Cotswolds festival that caters as well for music lovers as it does for food lovers.
Well-loved street food trucks will be there to offer sustenance after dancing the night away – try Farang, Sub Cult or Million Pound Menu’s BBQ Dreamz – and don’t miss the chance to watch two-Michelin starred Daniel Clifford and national treasure Prue Leith demonstrate some impressive tips and tricks in the NEFF Big Kitchen.
23 – 25 August, Kingham, Oxfordshire; thebigfeastival.com
River Cottage Festival
Based at River Cottage’s Devon HQ, expect a relaxed affair complete with local cider and a mud kitchen for the kids. On the Saturday, take your seat at the long table banquet and feast over fire, when Persian-Welsh chef Leyli Homayoonfar will be cooking up a supper of BBQ scorched mackerel, saffron marinated skewered chicken kabab and Persian orange blossom pavlova.
More reasons to visit? Masterclasses will take place across the two days, from natural wine tastings to wood-fired cooking sessions. River Cottage’s wild food expert, John Wright, will lead foraging expeditions around local hedgerows to gather botanicals to infuse into drinks while Somerset Cider Brandies will be offering tasters of the apple-based booze.
24 – 25 August, Axminster, Devon; rivercottage.net
The Big Cwtch
The Big Cwtch celebrates Wales’ best food producers and emerging Welsh artists in a bewitching lakeside setting. Rock down to the street food alley where you can grab a slow-braised pork shoulder taco from The Bearded Taco, chicken laksa from Makasih and berry cheesecakes from Duttys Cheesecake Van. Or make for the lakeside and chill out with a G&T.
There will also be pop-up pubs to relax in, including the Wonky Table and Après Ski Bar, where you can enjoy local craft beers.
30 – 31 August, Crugybar, Carmarthenshire; thebigcwtch.com