Tuesday 19 September 2017


Gloucestershire festivals guide

Gloucestershire plays host to festivals dedicated to just about everything you could ever hope for. Grab your diary and check out SoGlos's annual Gloucestershire festival guide for the definitive low down.

The SoGlos team has dug deep into the online magazine’s archives and trawled hundreds of official sources to select some of the very finest Gloucestershire festivals to grace the county on an annual basis.

From world-renowned jump racing, cricket and literature festivals and independent music celebrations spanning big names and local talent, to colourful carnivals, beer bonanzas and foodie feasts, you’re sure to find your perfect festival for 2017 with SoGlos.

Festivals are organised by area, with subsections dedicated to Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury respectively. Enjoy!


Festivals in Cheltenham


Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup

Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup

When: Annually in March
Expect to find: Huge hats and hundreds of hooves pounding Cheltenham’s historic racecourse over four days. This annual highlight of the horseracing calendar sees thousands of visitors place millions of pounds in bets and witness high-calibre racing stock battle it out for first place across the line.
SoGlos loves: The final day and sure highlight of the festival – the race for the coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup. A fantastic atmosphere, brimming with anticipation, live music, entertainment and food, ensuring racing fans return time and time again.
For more info: See Cheltenham Festival and Gold Cup.
To book: Call 0344 579 3003, email cheltenhamevents@thejockeyclub.co.uk or visit cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk directly.


Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

When: Annually in April/May
Expect to find: One of the most famous Cheltenham events, the Jazz Festival can be relied upon to showcase the cream of the musical genre, as well as an eclectic array of performances from rising stars, jazz veterans and real music legends. The festival boasts a legion of loyal fans, who return time and time again for this exuberant event, which has certainly earned its reputation in recent years.
SoGlos loves: Creative and innovative in style, and keen to embrace the contemporary, Cheltenham Jazz Festival offers a range of themes to appeal to all ages and tastes, including Big Nights Out, Jamie's Picks, Rising Stars and new for 2017, #Jazz100, to celebrate the 100th year of jazz. This year's incredible line-up includes pop idol Will Young, MOBO award-winner Laura Mvula, multi Grammy award-winner Chick Corea, and jazz icon Dee Dee Bridgewater.
For more info: See Cheltenham Jazz Festival
To book: Call (01242) 850270, email boxoffice@cheltenhamfestivals.com or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.


The Times Cheltenham Science Festival

Cheltenham Science Festival

Image © mcphersonstevens.com

When: Annually in June
Expect to find: A host of the world’s most revered scientists, thinkers, performers, and writers come together for annual six-day celebration of all-things science in Cheltenham, exploring how the world works through a series of inspiring and entertaining events, experiments and workshops.
SoGlos loves: Aside from attracting a host of prestigious names in the world of science, including Professor Robert Winston, Brian Cox, Alice Roberts and Richard Dawkins to date, the festival caters to children too. Expect plenty of interactive displays and hands-on activities which provide the perfect opportunity for mini scientists to learn, ask any burning questions, and most importantly, have fun.
For more info: See The Times Cheltenham Science Festival
To book: Call (01242) 850270, email boxoffice@cheltenhamfestivals.com or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.


Cheltenham Music Festival

Cheltenham Music Festival

Image © mcphersonstevens.com

When: Annually in July
Expect to find: A cacophony of sound for classical connoisseurs encompassing scores of events and hundreds of performers, served up in a range of orchestral ensembles, solo acts and group efforts, and boasting a mix of world premieres and one-off collaborations, all hosted in some of the county’s most beautiful venues.
SoGlos loves: The festival welcomes class acts from all over the world, infusing contemporary ideas into classical styles and appealing to veteran classical fans and new ears alike. With a continually growing audience, the festival demonstrates that this is a genre of music that is far from extinct. The 2017 event will see names such as Bryn Terfel, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and a host of BBC Young Musicians take to the stage, promising another year of outstanding entertainment.
For more info: See Cheltenham Music Festival
To book: Call (01242) 850270, email boxoffice@cheltenhamfestivals.com or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.


Cheltenham Literature Festival

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Image © www.stillmovingmedia.co.uk

When: Annually in October
Expect to find: A 10-day literary feast for book lovers across the land, including hard-hitting debates between some of the biggest names in publishing, comedy from the country’s top stand-ups, interactive media sessions, unique food and drink evenings, writing workshops and masses of family fun talks and activities. The prestigious festival features some of the world’s biggest names, with 2016 boasting appearances from Ian McEwan, Lionel Shriver, Alan Carr, Jacqueline Wilson, and Joe Wicks.
SoGlos loves: Formed in 1949, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is the oldest of its kind worldwide and has earned itself a global reputation.
For more info: See Cheltenham Literature Festival
To book: Call (01242) 850270, email boxoffice@cheltenhamfestivals.com or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.


Prescott Bike Festival

When: Annually in April
Expect to find: A host of bike manufacturers; a large display of historic, modern and race bikes in the paddock; more bike clubs than ever; celebrity appearances and entertainment for all the family. Plus the chance to support the Severn Freewheelers, a local Blood Bikes charity which works to provide emergency motorcycle delivery services and is responsible for moving vital medical supplies.
SoGlos loves: Returning for 2017 will be last year’s showstoppers, On The Edge Trials stunt team, set to deliver another thrilling show.
For more info: See Prescott Bike Festival or call 07005 968687.


Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts

When: Annually in May
Expect to find: A medley of dance, music, speech and drama as part of the favourite Cheltenham festival, complete with dramatic presentations, recitals and musical performances. The festival encourages competitors of all ages to get involved and spectators can enjoy a warm and energetic atmosphere throughout.
SoGlos loves: With 2016 marking the festival’s 90th birthday, the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts is now the town’s oldest festival, with the festivities still going strong – certainly helping to put Cheltenham on the map as a place of notable cultural heritage.
For more info: See Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts or call 0844 576 2210.


Wychwood Music Festival

When: Annually in June
Expect to find: Held at Cheltenham Racecourse, the family-friendly festival encompasses a multitude of performances, from up-and-coming new acts to festival favourites – with headliners for 2017 including The Levellers and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Little ones are well catered for, thanks to the dedicated children’s literature festival, while fans of funny can have a chuckle at the comedians in attendance, as well as take part in a host of workshops.
SoGlos loves: Wychwood Music Festival offers the perfect opportunity to go camping, with an idyllic campsite situated beneath the rolling Prestbury Hills, allowing for the full festival experience.
For more info: See Wychwood Festival, or call (01993) 772580.


Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival

When: Annually in June
Expect to find: Three days of tasty treats and entertainment galore, with a jam-packed menu offering everything from chef demonstrations and wine tastings, to live music and street theatre, not to mention a plethora of food and drink exhibitors serving up everything from fish and chips and noodles, to baked goods.
SoGlos loves: Alongside the delicious foodie delights, the three-day festival features plenty of live music entertainment to provide a brilliant atmosphere. What’s more there is plenty to keep young visitors entertained, such as Punch and Judy shows and The Magic Man.
For more info: See Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.


Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy Festival

When: Annually in November
Expect to find: An enviable line-up of up-and-coming comics, performing across various venues in Cheltenham, and promising plenty of laughs for fans of funny nationwide. Previous years have seen the likes of Reginald D. Hunter, Nina Conti, Josh Widdecombe, and Hal Cruttenden make the bill.
SoGlos loves: Not just aimed at adults, the event also keeps mini comedy fans entertained with a family fun day which is guaranteed to have little festival-goers thoroughly entertained.
For more info: See Hobgoblin Cheltenham Comedy Festival.


Festivals in the Cotswolds


Lechlade Festival

Lechlade Festival

When: Annually in May
Expect to find: A family-friendly festival which takes place in the heart of the Cotswolds, offering an eclectic programme of live music alongside a host of workshops and activities for festival-goers old and young. The impressive 2017 line-up includes chart toppers The Hoosiers; rhythm and blues band, Dr Feelgood; mod revival band The Lambrettas; acoustic tribute act, Light Zeppelin; and nostalgic group, The 80s Rock Show. Meanwhile, with more than 20 DJ acts playing in the Dance Music Zone and a bevy of Burlesque performers, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.
SoGlos loves: Dedicated to providing family-friendly activities and events, Lechlade Festival offers an array of workshops for little ones. This year sees the return of the Jitterbug Circus featuring daily performances and the chance to try circus skills; a Kids' Play Tent full of toys and games; and The Little Top which will keep nippers entertained with evening fun and interactive workshops, in addition to providing a babysitting service until midnight, with stories, soft lighting, mattresses and blankets.
For more info: See Lechlade Festival
To book: Visit lechladefestival.co.uk directly.


Chipping Norton Literary Festival

When: Annually in April
Expect to find: A host of prestigious literary names ranging from top authors and public speakers to television personalities and professors, taking part in a number of special events, talks, and workshops. Highlights for 2017 include local author Clare Mackintosh, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, and best-selling author Bryony Gordon.
SoGlos loves: Placing emphasis on involving little ones in the festivities, the festival offers a dedicated programme of events for youngsters and schools, which will offer entertaining talks, and activities to encourage participation from young readers.
For more info: See Chipping Norton Literary Festival or call (01608) 642350.


Chipping Campden Literature Festival

When: Annually in May
Expect to find: Evidence that the literature bug is spreading – Chipping Campden enthusiastically jumped on the bookish bandwagon in 2010, aiming to provide the people of the Cotswolds with a further source of literary goodness. Visitors can expect a celebration of the written word with talks, readings, workshops from a host of celebrated figures.
SoGlos loves: Set in an official Area of Outstanding Beauty, visitors will be able to take in the stunning architecture of this historic market town while nurturing their intellectual sides.
For more info: See Chipping Campden Literature Festival or call (01386) 849018.


Bledington Music Festival

When: Annually in June
Expect to find: Oodles of acts across three summer evenings at St Leonard’s Church, in the pretty village of Bledington – spanning a variety of musicians. Already confirmed for the 2017 event will be performances from Juliette Bausor, a principle flautist in the London Philharmonic Orchestra; The Katona Twins, a popular guitar duo; and The Albion String Quartet, led by violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.
SoGlos loves: To get local children interested in music and performance, the festival runs a very successful educational programme, during which a selection of artists get involved in a mini concert with the pupils of local primary schools.
For more info: See Bledington Music Festival or call (01608) 658669.


Cotswold Beer Festival

When: Annually in July
Expect to find: This annual sell-out event allows visitors to sample hundreds of local ales while relaxing in a friendly and jovial atmosphere, with this year’s festivities expected to include live music entertainment.
SoGlos loves: With 2017 marking the Cotswold Beer Festival’s 41st year, the favourite local event is officially one of the longest-running CAMRA events.
For more info: See Cotswold Beer Festival, or call (01242) 239785.


Festivals in the Forest of Dean


Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival

When: Annually in October
Expect to find: Returning for its 17th year, the foodie festival will feature a plethora of deliciously good activities and events, spanning cookery lessons, demonstrations, workshops, children’s activities, and much more, with more than 80 local and artisan producers making the festival one of the largest in the area.
SoGlos loves: With plenty of producers displaying the best of local and seasonal food and drink, the annual festival celebrates independent, home-grown businesses. And, with expert demonstrations from chefs taking place for free, budding cooks can also learn top tips for developing their own recipes and dishes at home.
For more info: See Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival, or call 07980 357747.


Festivals in Gloucester


Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Festival

Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Festival

When: Annually in late August
Expect to find: An array of restored boats, military vessels, tugs and yachts proudly on display along Over Basin during the two-day festival, plus live music, local stalls, and an impressive flotilla of heritage boats sailing from Over Basin to Vineyard Hill.
SoGlos loves: The Beer, Cider and Perry festival that takes place alongside the canal festivities is perfect for keeping visitors in high spirits, while a host of family fun activities and entertainment also caters to younger festival-goers.
For more info: See Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Festival.
To book: Call (01452) 332900, email thewharfhouse@yahoo.co.uk or visit thewharfhouse.co.uk directly.


Strike a Light Festival

When: Annually in April
Expect to find: Strike a Light Festival gives visitors the chance to see exciting stage shows and world-class dance at affordable prices. The week-long event champions local artists and performers, inviting them to ‘strike a light’ for themselves, their creativity and the community.
SoGlos loves: An event which supports budding performers and unites the local community, Strike a Light Festival celebrates creativity and diversity, providing opportunities among talented locals.
For more info: See Strike a Light Festival, or call (01452) 503050.


Tall Ships Festival

When: Bi-annually in May
Expect to find: A flotilla of sailing vessels and waterside family fun within the historic setting of Gloucester Docks. From swashbuckling shows and enthralling stories, to pirate sword fights and awe-inspiring tall ships, visitors of all ages are in for a treat during the bank holiday bonanza.
SoGlos loves: Boasting exciting attractions and activities, the festival also brings Victorian history to life, offering of glimpse of Gloucester’s fascination maritime history.
For more info: See Gloucester Tall Ships Festival.


Carducci Festival

When: Annually in May
Expect to find: A series of world-class concerts and performances that focus on the critically acclaimed Carducci Quartet – a contemporary four piece committed to bringing classical music to the younger generation. Each year the quartet is joined by a variety of classical virtuosos, all doing their bit to add to the festival’s superb reputation.
SoGlos loves: 2017 will see Carducci Festival welcoming back a number of top guest artists including pianist Martin Roscoe, clarinettist Emma Johnson, and actor Crawford Logan who will be reading from Beethoven’s letters.
For more info: See Carducci Festival.


Barn on the Farm

When: Annually in July
Expect to find: Aiming to bridge the gap between your typical village hall shenanigans and its mainstream counterparts, Gloucester’s Over Farm Market is the setting for three days of folk music from dozens of live music performers – some up-and-coming and others who are well on the way to stardom – with previous performers including Ed Sheeran, James Bay, Hozier, and Jack Garratt.
SoGlos loves: Despite its big-name performers, the folk-orientated festival maintains an intimate atmosphere and provides a stage for fresh new faces to showcase their talent.
For more info: See Barn on the Farm.


Gloucester History Festival

When: Annually in September
Expect to find: A celebration of Gloucester's rich history and heritage, boasting a packed programme of fascinating events taking place throughout the city. Highlights will include insightful talks within the stunning setting of Blackfriars Priory; traditional Gloucester Day Parades; and a host of City Voices events to discuss the city’s history and famous names.
SoGlos loves: Gloucester History Festival forms part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days scheme, during which interesting buildings open their doors to members of the public, allowing visitors to discover their amazing history, join tours, and enjoy an array of special events.
For more info: See Gloucester History Festival or call (01452) 396572.


Festivals in Stroud


Nibley Music Festival

When: Annually in July
Expect to find: A diverse selection of live acts performing at one of the friendliest music festivals around, with names for 2017 including The Fratellis, Dub Pistols, Dr Meaker, and more; in addition to plenty of family fun such as storytelling, crafts, and circus skills.
SoGlos loves: Alongside two days of top entertainment, Nibley Music Festival boasts a breathtaking Cotswold location, to ensure a wonderful summer experience.
For more info: See Nibley Music Festival, or call 0845 224 1973.


Frocester Beer Festival

When: Annually in August
Expect to find: A tremendously popular event which sells out every year, the two-day festival is held in the Frocester Cricket Club ground and takes place every August bank holiday weekend. Boasting more than 100 cask-conditioned real ales, wines, ciders, hot food and a lively programme of music, the event is a highlight of the festival calendar for locals.
SoGlos loves: Despite being located in a small hamlet near Stroud, the festival has proved a real success over the years and now attracts thousands of visitors from as far afield as Europe.
For more info: See Frocester Beer Festival.


Festival of British Eventing

When: Annually in August
Expect to Find: A weekend of quintessentially British entertainment, with world-class equestrian competitions, a shopping village, family entertainment and more, all taking place within the beautiful surroundings of Gatcombe Park, the home of the Princess Royal.
SoGlos loves: For those looking to make a weekend of it, there is a caravan park complete with quality amenities, making for a memorable experience.
For more info: See Festival of British Eventing, or call (01458) 250200.


Festivals in Tewkesbury

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

When: Annually in July
Expect to find: A spectacular event that sends history enthusiasts wild each summer and sees nail-biting battles recreated with skill and dexterity; a vibrant medieval market; period entertainment; authentic re-enactors; children’s activities; and much more, Tewkesbury’s renowned medieval re-enactment event is one of the biggest in Europe – and even better, it’s free of charge.
SoGlos loves: The sight of 2000 brave warriors, archers and cannon-bearers re-enacting the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury as part of a series of magnificent combat displays.
For more info: See Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, or call (01684) 855040.


Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival

When: Annually in August
Expect to find: Lots of vintage vehicles, from buses to motorcycles, plus a great selection of cars going back to the pre-war era. There’s always something to keep the whole family entertained throughout the day, with more than 100 market stalls; a barbecue; and tasty sweet treats.
SoGlos loves: Over the years, the festival has seen world-famous cars such as Le Mans Bentley and the Rolls Royce Phantom among the 400 on display.
For more info: See Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival or call (01684) 850940.


If you know of an annual Gloucestershire festival which deserves a place in SoGlos’s guide, request an event listing for possible inclusion.

© SoGlos
Monday 05 June 2017

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