Last week, the UK Government announced live music events will now be allowed to take place outdoors in England, provided they comply with social distancing.
Some event organisers have been quick to respond, with camping festivals including Beardy Folk Festival, Red Rooster and Mucky Weekender announcing they’re now planning to go ahead in September – with tickets for all three on sale now.
While the majority of this summer’s festivals have already cancelled and won’t return until 2021, some have held out and will now be hoping to take place under social distancing guidance. It’s likely all festivals will operate with a reduced capacity, with Alfresco Festival saying this week they’ll be accommodating just 25 per cent of their usual attendees after rescheduling from May to the late August bank holiday weekend.
Beardy Folk Festival
17th to 20th September, Shropshire
After being rescheduled from June, organisers of Beardy Folk Festival were quick to follow up the Government’s announcement with a Facebook post this morning. Tickets are currently on sale with a standard weekend camping ticket priced at £110 plus fees. Day tickets are £40 with camping pitches available on a night-by-night basis.
Taking place at Hopton Court near Kidderminster, the line-up features Holy Moly & the Crackers, Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, Sheelanagig, Peter Knight’s Gigspanner and Calan.
It’s now billed as the only outdoor folk festival in the UK this year.
Love Saves The Day
5th and 6th September, Bristol
The final instalment of Love Saves The Day in Bristol’s Eastville Park was supposed to have happened back in May, but when the lockdown started in March, organisers announced a plan to move the festival to September.
Their last update said: “We are still working alongside Bristol City Council, the Mayor’s Office and receiving regular updates from the Government regarding outdoor events for later Summer 2020.
“The situation is still very complex and whilst there are encouraging signs that lockdown restrictions are being lifted and that outdoor recreation and leisure activities are considered amongst the safest ways to socialise, it is still far too early to be able to be 100% confident that larger capacity events will be able to operate again safely.”
Organisers promised a further update around the end of June, so expect to hear something any day now. It looks like ticket sales are currently paused, so let’s hope it’s good news and tier 4 sales can get underway.
17th to 20th September, Essex
Dub Pistols, one of the UK’s best-loved festival bands, have now established their own camping festival in the Essex countryside.
Just hours after the Government’s announcement, an update on the Mucky Weekender Facebook page read: “We are SO excited for the Arts & Live Events industries today, following the latest briefing where Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has given the green light for outdoor performances to take place from 11th July 2020, subject to Government guidelines.”
Organisers added they’re currently undertaking “rigourous planning and consultation” for a safe and socially distanced festival.
10th to 13th September, Derbyshire
Bearded Theory’s Spring Gathering has been rescheduled for mid-September, when the multi-award winning creative and performing arts festival will return to the Catton Hall estate.
Tickets are currently on sale for £120 plus fees, inclusive of four nights camping on site, and campervans can be accomodated for an extra fee.
In the latest update from the organisers, issued before the Government’s announcement on outdoor music events, they said “Clearly its highly unlikely it will go ahead” but refused to cancel just yet, promising a final decision by July 28th.
4th to 7th September, Chepstow
Balter is the only festival listed here which takes place in Wales (near Chepstow), which means it won’t be able to go ahead until the Welsh Government says so, whenever that might be.
Even so, as it stands this morning, it’s happening from 4th – 7th September with tickets currently on sale from £110 plus fees.
The last word from the organisers was only a few weeks ago at the end of June. It seems they’ve still got some optimism left.
4th to 6th September, Suffolk
The Wednesday after the Government announcement, Red Rooster organisers confirmed they were planning to go ahead with the 5,000-capacity festival from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th September.
Billed as the UK’s premier roots festival, celebrating the best in Cajun, Soul, RocknRoll, Blues and Country, with three outdoor stages and social distancing measures to be rolled out across the site.
Festival Director & Production Manager James Brennan said: “We are working closely with our Health & Safety and Production teams to produce something that is truly magical without losing the spirit and atmosphere of our beautiful little festival.
“Over 60% of our audience stay in family group campervans which hugely helps us contain camping areas safely, plus by moving to outdoor stages only, we feel we can offer a safe environment in which to enjoy the festival. Over the next few weeks we will be putting together stringent new plans and providing detailed information to ensure the safety of our audience, artists and crew, which is of course of paramount importance.”
Tickets are currently on sale from the official Red Rooster Seetickets page, with a weekend ticket priced at £69.50 plus fees. Free kids tickets are available and campervan passes start from £55 per vehicle.
One Tribe Festival
3rd to 8th September, Shropshire
The Audio Farm Crew behind One Tribe Festival are still hopeful this year’s event will go ahead, and like many of the events above it’s set for the first weekend of September.
Their last update read: “With Audio Farm presents One Tribe Festival 2020 not until 3rd to 8th September 2020, we are still hopeful and optimistic the festival will still go ahead. The decision is obviously dependent on Government legislations and possible public gathering restrictions. It’s completely out of our hands, and will only go ahead if the Audio Farm Crew can assure of your safety.
“As soon as we hear more information we will be in contact with you. We are obviously keeping everything crossed that we can meet in the beautiful fields of Hopton Court in a few months, where we can dance, laugh, play, and talk around the fire as a tribe.
“In the meantime, please keep the weekend free, as if the festival was to go ahead, we are going to need your support in attending and bringing your array of colours and energies. Much love to everyone out there, and so much love to anybody affected by Covid-19.”
Tickets are currently on sale from the official One Tribe Skiddle page, with a weekend camping ticket priced at £125 plus fees.
12th and 13th September, London
Promising their best line-up of all time, WeAreFSTVL 20 was originally set for the late May bank holiday weekend, but in the midst of the pandemic, it was postponed until September.
The festival at Damyns Hall Aerodrome near Upminster is showing as totally sold out, except for a few afterparty tickets, and we’re yet to hear of any plans to run a socially-distanced event, but until we hear otherwise WeAreFSTVL 20 is still set to happen in as little as eight weeks time.
11th to 13th September, Lancaster
Highest Point, named after it’s stunning location in Lancaster’s Williamson Park, usually happens in May, but the decision was made early on to delay this year’s event until September. Earlier this week, organisers responded to the Government’s announcement saying the “green light” had been granted.
Rudimental and Rag’n’Bone Man are the headliners, with Gentleman’s Dub Club, Becky Hill and Wilkinson also set to appear.
This year, the main Highest Point festival takes place over Friday and Saturday, then ‘The Big Family Day Out’ takes over the site for the Sunday, with a dedicated family line-up.
Tickets are on sale now from the official Highest Point Skiddle page, with day tickets starting from £40.
Call of the Wild
18th to 20th September, Lincoln
Organsiers of the rock music festival at Lincolnshire Showground, Call of the Wild, have confirmed they intend to go ahead with September’s rescheduled event. They’ve called the Government’s announcement “a huge stride in the right direction”
and promised a full update “on how we intend to proceed with Call of the Wild Festival this September” at 10am Friday 17th July.
UPDATE: Organisers confirmed face coverings will be required when near the front of stages. All indoor venues have been removed and the line-up has been reduced to two outdoor stages. Social distancing will be in place in front of stages.
Festival director Raz White said: “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved to date, although challenging, we firmly believe that we can present a safe festival, adhering to government recommendations whilst still retaining the friendly festival atmosphere. Everyone is desperate to deliver, from the staff to the bands, it’s what we do and now we just want to let the music do the talking.”
28th to 30th August, Kent
Having rescheduled to the end of August, Alfresco Festival have confirmed they’ll be going ahead with a reduced capacity of just 25 per cent to become ‘Boutique Alfresco’, saying: “As various public space and attractions including campsites, drive-in events, theme parks and zoos recently returned on 4th of July, we believe the public will quickly adapt to the social distancing measures that we will all need to cohere with.
“We strongly feel there is a real and growing need for this kind of properly structured and striclty managed live entertainment offering and we can’t wait to deliver it.”
Tickets are still available from the official Alfresco Skiddle page, with a weekend entry ticket priced at £129 plus fees. Camping and campervan pitches are still available with tent space starting at £35.
28th to 30th August, Kent
Previously known as Witcombe Cider Festival, it’s supposedly the biggest cider festival in the country. They’ve dropped cider from their name this year, after growing from a 200-person cider festival in 2012 to packing out the site with 17,500 attendees in 2019.
Organisers were quick to respond to the Government’s announcement, confirmed they intend for the event to go ahead, though it looks like tickets have already sold out.
As restrictions continue to ease and the guidance on running events safely evolves, it’s possible we’ll see countless small-scale, socially-distanced festivals springing up in the last part of the summer. Think closer to a village beer festival than an impromptu Leeds Fest, but after almost an entire summer off we’ll take what we can get.
If a festival is your annual meet-up with all your friends, you might be missing the camping aspect just as much as the live music. Some festivals and/or festival glamping companies are now set to open up campsites across the country, with minimal mixing between different groups of campers and all the luxuries you’ve come to expect in VIP camping – some will even provide your group with their own dedicated toilet.
One such option is Shambala’s Carry On Kelmarsh, with the festival’s site transformed into one big socially-distanced campsite. Attendees “can enjoy access to over 200 acres of grounds, lakes, stunning gardens and (enchanted!) woods” with ten metres between pitches and food traders on site – even the Shambala crew bar!
Like most similar offerings, organisers are quick to point out: “that this is NOT a festival or a Shambala equivalent. It’s a very spacious pre-pitched campsite in beautiful surrounds, with a few bonuses thrown in. We’re saving any socks off raving and stranger cuddling for next year, when it is safe to do so.”
You can’t bring your own tent to Kelmarsh with only pre-pitched options available, as the whole thing exists to help the festivals glamping suppliers get through the pandemic. This one runs over three weekends in August; check here for more info or to book.
Other options include Paradise Camping’s pop-up eco-campsite at Chew Valley Lake, near Bristol, where you can bring your own tent if you’d rather not shell out for pre-pitched. You won’t be restricted to specific weekends either, with flexible booking open for dates of your choice from 4th August to 1st September. Check the official website for more info.