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 beer bonanzas and foodie feasts, you’re sure to find your perfect festival for 2018 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 Jazz Festival

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

When: Annually in 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, with 2018 including Jamie's Picks, See It Here First, Big Nights Out, Rising Stars and Jazz Greats. This year's incredible line-up includes music legend Van Morrison, singer Imelda May, 80s star Rick Astley and chart-topper Corinne Bailey Rae.
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 June/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 2018 event will see names such as Sir Mark Elder & The Hallé, acclaimed violinist Maxim Vengerov, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales 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 previous years boasting appearances from renowned figures such as Hilary Clinton, JK Rowling, Ian McEwan, Lionel Shriver and Jacqueline Wilson.
SoGlos loves: Formed in 1949, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is the oldest of its kind worldwide and has earned itself a global reputation, with the programme catering for book lovers old and young.
For more info: See Cheltenham Literature Festival
To book: Call (01242) 850270, email boxoffice@cheltenhamfestivals.com or visit cheltenhamfestivals.com directly.


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, or call 0344 579 3003


Prescott Bike Festival

When: Annually in April
Expect to find: Promising to be bigger and better than ever for 2018, the festival will return with a host of bike manufacturers; large display of historic, modern and race bikes in the paddock; plethora of bike clubs; celebrity appearances and entertainment for all the family.
SoGlos loves: Aside from providing thrilling entertainment year after year, the Prescott Bike Festival offers 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.
For more info: See Prescott Bike Festival or call 07005 968687


Cheltenham Wine Festival

When: Annually in April
Expect to find: Browse a range of over 300 delicious wines from across the world, when Cheltenham’s popular Wine Festival returns to the iconic setting of Pittville Pump Room, with the chance to taste a wide range of tempting white, red and sparkling glasses, with the chance to take home a bottle or two to enjoy at a later date too.
SoGlos loves: Visitors can enjoy a few drinks and do their bit for charity, as the profits from this exciting event will go towards a worthwhile cause.
For more info: See Cheltenham Wine Festival


Cheltenham Jazz Festival

When: Annually in 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, with previous years having featuring names such as Will Young, Jamie Cullum, Laura Mvula, and jazz icon Dee Dee Bridgewater.
For more info: See Cheltenham Jazz Festival, or call (01242) 850270


Cheltenham Science Festival

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 Cheltenham Science Festival, or call (01242) 850270


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 previous performers having included Bill Bailey, The Levellers, Ms Dynamite, and Billy Bragg. 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 Music 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, not to mention a plethora of food and drink exhibitors serving up everything from pizza 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 during the event.
For more info: See Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.


Festivals in the Cotswolds


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. Last year's highlights including local bestselling 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.


Lechlade Festival

When: Annually in May
Expect to find: A family-friendly festival which takes place in the market town of Lechlade, the event offers an eclectic programme of live music alongside a host of workshops and activities for festival-goers old and young. Last year’s impressive line-up included chart toppers The Hoosiers; rhythm and blues band, Dr Feelgood; and mod revival band The Lambrettas, with the 2018 festival sure to offer another brilliant year.
SoGlos loves: Dedicated to providing family-friendly activities and events, Lechlade Festival offers an array of workshops for little ones. What’s more the unrivalled Cotswold setting alongside the River Thames makes it a lovely festival experience.
For more info: See Lechlade Festival, or call (01367) 700350


Festivals in Gloucester


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.


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 the last year’s festivities including The Fratellis, Dub Pistols, Lucy Spraggan, and more; in addition to offering 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.


Festivals in Tewkesbury


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
Thursday 18 January 2018

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