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Festivals in Somerset

Festivals in Somerset

Festivals in Somerset come in all shapes and sizes.

SOMERSET’S LARGEST FESTIVAL

At the top end of the scale is the world famous Glastonbury Music Festival. Here, up to 250,000 music lovers gather at Worthy Farm. In 2020, this incredible music festival will have been in existence for 50 years!

This festival doesn’t take place every year. The land and local residents are given a break every 5 years or so. (Festival founder Michael Eavis usually has a herd of dairy cows grazing on the land.)

Festivals in Somerset

Somerset is home to a huge array of music, food, art, literary and comedy festivals which take place throughout the year.

A selection of Music FESTIVALS IN SOMERSET in 2020

Shindig Weekender (Bruton) 21 – 24 May 2020

Home Farm Fest (Chilthorne Domer) 12, 13 & 14 June 2020

Smoked and Uncut (music & food festival) 11th July 2020 – The Pig, near Bath

Pub in the Park Royal Victoria Park in Bath 2020 dates TBC (music & food)

Nass Festival (Action sports & music festival near Bristol) 9 – 12 July 2020

Priddy Folk Festival takes place 10 -12 July 2020

Godney Gathering (Garslade Farm, Glastonbury) 17 & 18 July 2020

Farmfest (Gilcombe Farm nr Bruton) 28 – 28 July 2020

Valley Fest (by Chew Valley Lake) 31 July – 2 August 2020. Held on an organic farm. Attracts some big names.

ArcTanGent (one for heavy metal lovers) 20 – 22 August 2020 on Fenhill Farm nr Bristol

Watchet Music Festival takes place 28 – 30 August 2020

The Downs (Bristol) 2020 dates TBC

Priston Music Festival (near Bath) 17-18 September 2021

Other festivals in Somerset

Wassail on or around 17 January at various farms across Somerset. (Give thanks for the harvest. Drink cider, sing songs and perhaps fire a shotgun!)

Festivals in Somerset

Eat festivals – various location across Somerset. Locally focused food and drinks festivals from a multi award-winning organisation

Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival 15 and 16 February 2020. Special stalls at the Sunday Market, talks, a snowdrop trail, a procession, arts and crafts and booksignings.

There is also a Snowdrop Festival at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells. February 2020 dates to be announced

Festivals in Somerset

Enjoy a snowdrop festival at The Bishop’s Palace

Mells Daffodil Festival usually takes place on Easter Monday. There’s much more to this festival than just daffodils. It’s taking a break in 2020. Hopefully be back in 2021!

Wells Festival of Film (usually takes place in April) includes two outdoor screenings in the beautiful grounds at the Bishop’s Palace.

May 11 is Somerset Day. Lots of events around the county to celebrate this special day.

Festivals in Somerset

Wedmore Arts Festival Friday 8 May to Saturday 16 May 2020. Music, drama, art and comedy spread over 9 days.

Wells Comedy Festival May 2020 dates to be announced. Previous acts have included; Nish Kumar, Josie Long, Lost Voice Guy, Mark Watson, Shappi Khorsandi and Phil Wang. Performances take place in various venues in Wells.

The National Trust’s Top of the Gorge festival takes place at Cheddar Gorge 12 – 14 June 2020.

Festivals in Somerset

Enjoy the views from Cheddar Gorge

Somerfest (Taunton) June 2020 date to be announced

The Frome Festival is on from 3 July to 12 July 2020. Lots of events, exhibitions and workshops to enjoy and it will be the festival’s 20th anniversary.

Wells Theatre Festival 9 – 12 July 2020

Buddhafield (nr Taunton) 15 – 19 July 2020

Wells Art Contemporary usually takes place in Wells Cathedral during July and August

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 7 to 9 August 2020

Wedmore Real Ale Festival 18 – 20 September 2020

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath 11 to 20 September 2020

Somerset Art Weeks (at various venues across Somerset) September – October Festivals in Somerset

Wells Food Festival A Sunday in mid October

Wells Festival of Literature takes place every October

Yeovil Literary Festival usually runs in October / November

The Frome Chocolate Festival takes place in the Cheese & Grain on a Sunday in November. 10am – 4pm.

After delving into a few great festivals in Somerset, perhaps it’s worth remembering that there is more to a festival than first meets the eye.

the origin of festivals

Throughout history, festivals have usually centred around communities to celebrate religion, traditions or seasons and are often marked by national holidays. (Interestingly, the UK is among the nations with the fewest public holidays in Europe. Finland has 15!)

The word, ‘festival’ comes from the word feast, first used in the 12th century, while the Spanish  word, ‘fiesta’ is usually associated with a religious feast to honour a patron saint. (Spanish residents enjoy 14 public holidays a year.)

Seasonal festivals are determined by the solar and lunar calendars and by the cycle of the seasons – especially the affect on crops. This has ensured that many festivals centre around and celebrate food.

Festivals in Somerset

Somerset is steeped in these traditions. We love festivals in Somerset. It’s an excuse to gather and have some fun.

the more unusual FESTIVALS

Beltane is a pagan festival held at the beginning of May. It  promotes abundance and is commonly associated with fertility. (Originally, couples used to frolic in the woods while the Beltaine fire raged.) Glastonbury is the place to be with colourful celebrations taking place in the market square. (Just a word of warning. Don’t frolic too much or you might get arrested…)

The Summer Solstice (celebrated just over the border at Stonehenge in Wiltshire) is world famous and attracts a real mix of people. In 2017, the longest day of the year was celebrated by around 13,000 people at Stonehenge.

Harvest Festival usually occurs around the Autumn equinox and the Harvest Moon. This is an especially important time in rural Somerset when we gather in the crops. This is also the time when the market traders of London don their wonderful Pearly King & Queen outfits and celebrate.

The Winter Solstice also attracts the crowds to Stonehenge. When the sun rises at around 8am on 21 December the shortest day in the northern hemisphere is underway. However, the burning of logs ‘ Yule’ has become better known for that lovely dessert we eat at Christmas.

Nowadays festivals come in many different guises, but the principle of gathering people, celebrating a product or skill, sharing experiences and having fun has not changed. We have many wonderful festivals in Somerset to enjoy.

Festivals in Somerset

The award-winning The Cross at Croscombe B&B lies in the heart of Somerset making it a great base from which to explore. Whatever you plan to celebrate – have fun!

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