A Guide To Some Of The Best Festivals in Dorset This Summer

Discover our favourite festivals in Dorset this summer. From family fun, boutique beach parties, dub-step raves and delicious seafood, there is something to satisfy everyone's appetite for adventure this summer in Dorset.

It is the weekend of Glastonbury Festival, where over 200,000 people will gather to celebrate good food, great music, funfairs, literature, arts, bad toilets and an unforgettable experience. Considered one of, if not the largest performing arts festival in the world. Running since the 1970’s, Glastonbury is iconic for its music, its fashion, its mud and its spirit. Heat waves or downpours, crowds will gather and make merry. These crowds are made up of groups of teenagers, friends and many families with young children.In that sense, different worlds meet and collide at Glastonbury. In 2013, the year the Rolling Stones Headlined, there was even a baby born at Glastonbury! Heidi Wesson wrote in the Guardian newspaper that, “the baby was due in July, and my other children had all been two weeks late, so I was adamant that it would be fine.” After experiencing a tragic loss of her first child, Heidi began working at Glastonbury festival and the festival became a sanctuary of camaraderie and joy for Heidi. This baby was Heidi’s fourth child and decided to break with tradition and arrive early instead of late. After the small festival ambulance managed to weave its way through the crowds and find them and trundle to the medic tent, Heidi gave birth to a little girl. Heidi recounts how, “luckily, the birth was quick and not too painful, except that I was on a little trolley about half the size of a bed and they ran out of gas and air. I suppose they don’t plan for anybody giving birth.” Glastonbury really is a festival for all ages. Like the summer equinox, the smell of BBQ’s wafting over neighbouring fences and school fetes, the coming of Glastonbury Festival is one of those unofficial markers that summer has begun. 

With the struggle for tickets and its epic scale, Glastonbury might not be the festival for everyone. However, if you are looking for fun family things to do in Dorset, birthday party ideas and places to visit near durdle door, why not check out some of the fantastic festivals that Dorset will host this summer. Ofcourse, if you are missing the mud experience of Glastonbury, why not try the mud run and wrestle your way through the epic mud trail at Dorset Adventure Park? Weave your way through the obstacle course and slip and slide your way across the mudslide to race your friends and family to the other side! You can cool down this very dry and muggy weekend by splashing across the waterpark. This swanage waterpark will certainly quench your thirst of the  heat and like Glastonbury it will keep you entertained, both old and young alike. 

For families who love festivals, Dorset’s Camp Bestival is famously, “designed by families especially for families, Camp Bestival combines all the fun of a fantastic family camping holiday with everything you’d expect from an idyllic and action-packed festival adventure.” Held on the grounds of the beautiful Lulworth Castle, Camp Bestival has a complete range of outdoor activities for adventure lovers of every age. Accommodation that ranges from camping to glamping, beautiful food (check out the Bottomless Bistro tent), balloon shows, exciting children’s activities and a lineup of live artists including: Paloma Faith, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and McFly. This year, Camp Bestival has added the Camp Kids Extra Pass. The pass is designed to make mealtimes easier and more cost effective for visiting families, “the Camp Kids Extra Pass is valid between Friday and Sunday and gives your child an incredible six kids meals, three sweet treats, and unlimited fruit and filtered water.” The festival weekend runs from the 25-28th of July.

If it’s less family focused and more of an outstanding dance party you are after, then SandFest is the one for you. A 40 minute drive from Dorset Adventure Park, SandFest runs from 12pm to 10pm on Sunday the 14th of July. SandFest is a, “one day boutique beach festival, headlined by some of the best global artists, playing to 5000 party goers.” This year’s beach party lineup includes Dizzy Rascal, Sigma and more. Definitely bring your comfy footwear and get ready to dance all day.

Held in Bridport over the weekend of the 12th, 13th and 14th of July, Jurassic Fields  is another great festival for dance lovers. With a lineup that includes: Dutty Moonshine Big Band, The BareFoot Bandit and the Gentleman’s Dub Club, this is a great festival for those who enjoy reggae, electro swing and fusion music. This is the festival’s 9th year and it promises to be, “bigger and better than ever”. 

For music lovers who prefer a different tone, Dorset is also home to some great Folk Festivals. Lyme Folk Weekend held at Lyme Regis is held later on in the summer over a long weekend of the 23rd to the 26th of August. Closer to home for Dorset Adventure Park locals, there is also the Swanage Folk Festival, running from the 6th to the 8th of September. This folk festival holds music, morris dancing, and even singing workshops.

A visit to Dorset isn’t complete without sampling some of the local produce, especially the famously fresh and delicious seafood. The Dorset Seafood Festival is the perfect time and place to really experience, sample, celebrate and learn more about seafood. Held at the Weymouth Peninsula over the 7th and 8th of September, you can experience cookery demonstrations from the region’s top chefs at the Chef’s Theatre, visit over 50 stall holders to sample local produce and businesses and there is even the incredible children’s cookery workshops at the School of Fish. These workshops are designed for either groups of 8 years and under and groups aged 8-16 years. Like Glastonbury, the Dorset Seafood Festival is fun for all ages. Which festival will you get a taste of this summer?

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