Festivals By Month: 24 festivals happening in September 2017

Julian Owen, May 1, 2017

Local

1) Bristol Festival of Puppetry
Sept 1-10

Bristol
Price: various
www.puppetplace.org/festival17
Family friendly
Recommended
Properly magical and not just for the kids, the biennial puppet fest returns for a fifth instalment in and around a Tobacco Factory base. Expect a procession, pop-up theatre and an awful lot of animated brilliance on stage and screen that may be, by turns, funny, moving, unsettling and life-affirming.

2) Didmarton Bluegrass Festival
Sept 1-3

Kemble Airfield, Glos
Price: TBA
didmarton-bluegrass.co.uk
Ticket costs and line-up remains under wraps as we go to press, but this is an evergreen local fest with a tried and tested formula: lots of bluegrass, blues, Americana, rockabilly, folk, plus instrument workshops, Appalachian dance displays.

3) Other Art Fair
Sept 1-3

Bristol
Price: £8 per day
bristol.theotherartfair.com
Art
Theatre
80 artists
Organised by Saatchi Art, it’s the third Bristol outing for an art fair apparently dedicated to uncovering new talent. Expect work from 80 artists, workshops, immersive theatre, live music, performance art and artworks available from 50 quid.

4) The Downs Festival
Sept 2

Bristol
Price: TBA
www.facebook.com/thedownsbristol
Remember last year’s Massive Attack gig on the Downs? Two stages holding the likes of Primal Scream, Skepta, Savages, Khruangbin and Smith & Mighty, plus an Information Stage for a little progressive thinking? Well, something is happening again – details are sketchy at press time, but we are assured that “Massive Attack will once again be involved in the curation of the event’s musical, artistic and intellectual content”.

5) Bristol Rum Festival
Sept 9 – 10

Paintworks Event Space
Price: From £15
www.bristolrumfestival.co.uk
Love rum and cocktails? This is the event for you. This celebration of rum, rhum and ron features fifty varieties of the delicious sugar-based beverage along with tasting sessions, food and cocktails.

6) Bristol Craft Beer Festival
Sept 15-17

Motion, Bristol
Price: TBA
bristolcraftbeerfestival.co.uk
Strong debut year in 2016 and returning to charge your glasses with the finest fare local indie breweries have to offer. “We’re also bringing the best of the rest too, so expect beers never before poured in Bristol,” say the organisers.

7) Priston Festival
Sept 15-17

Priston, North Somerset
Price: various, mainly free
www.priston.org.uk/festival
Bit of an understated gem, this, lining up more than 30 bands on two free stages and utilising the village green altogether winningly. The Big Sing Workshop is always a draw, then there’s an art project, kids’ stuff, basically all you’d want from a properly well organised village affair. Line-up wise you’re looking at discerningly selected local acts such as Three Cane Whale and Jesse D Vernon’s Greatness of The Magnificence Fantasy Orchestra.

8) Cheltenham Comedy Festival
Sept 18-23

Cheltenham
Price: various
cheltenhamcomedy.com
Expect a strong lineup when the time comes, following in the2016 mic drops of Sarah Millican, Mark Watson and Tape Face.

9) Encounters Film Festival
*Sept 19-24

Bristol
Price: various, some free
www.encounters-festival.org.uk
Local
Film
Recommended
23rd outing for what has become one of the shiniest gems in Bristol’s increasingly bejewelled festival crown, and also one of the most internationally recognised. Not only is it the UK’s longest running competitive short film and animation festival, with screenings of more than 200 entries, it’s also an official gateway to the BAFTAs and a qualifying festival for the Oscars. Hence the quality. Deeply supportive of newcomers as well as the field’s established names, the film programme is augmented by any number of Q&As, interviews and workshops with the experts, live music and performance, exhibitions, outdoor events, pop-up cinemas and much more.

10) Stroud Folk Weekend
Sept 22-24

Stroud, Gloucestershire
Price: various
www.stroudfolkfestival.co.uk
If you take folk in its purest, purist form, this is the one for you. “We do not hire performers,” say organisers. “SFW is more about people getting together.” Thus, a weekend “consisting mainly of pub sessions, singarounds of mainly traditional music and morris dancing in the streets”.

11) Ross-on-Wye Walking Festival
Sept 22-24

Ross-on-Wye
Price: various (most walks £5)
rosswalkingfestival.co.uk
recommended
Guided walks from ‘The Lanes and Alleyways of Ross’ to ‘Woodlands of Three Herefordshire Hills’ and plenty more besides, this fest is barely an hour’s drive from Bristol and boasts some of the most beauteously sweeping landscapes in the country as its stage.

12) Tokyo World
September 23 (TBC)

Eastville Park, Bristol
Price: TBA
www.tokyoworld.org
Lots remains to be confirmed with this multi-stage bassy affair, which last year featured the likes of Carl Craig, Phaeleh, Moodymann, Mala, DJ Hype, Om Unit, Peverelist and Ed Rush.

13) Bath Children’s Literature Festival
Sept 29-Oct 8

Bath
www.bathfestivals.org.uk/childrens-literature/
Local
Literature
Family friendly
27th running for the largest fest of its kind in the UK. No word on line up at press time, but previous years have included such kid-lit luminaries as David Walliams, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz and Julia Donaldson. Expect lots of author readings, book signings, craft activities and quizzes.

National

14) Lockdown
Sept 1-3

Needs a listing

15) The Big Fake Fest
Sept 1-3

Thoresby Park, Notts
Price: £65
www.fakefestivals.co.uk
21 tribbers including The Jam’d, Four Fighters, The Fillers, The Really Hot Chili Peppers, Blondied and – ew – Coldplace.

16) Bestival
Sept 7-10

Lulworth Estate, Dorset
Price: £190
www.bestival.net
Recommended
Green
For once, the big news isn’t the fancy dress theme, but the location. With reluctance, Rob da Bank and co have left their home on the Isle of Wight because of the “boring economics of getting people on to the island”. Thus, pitching up on the entirely not exactly unfamiliar Lulworth Estate, home to sister fest Camp Bestival earlier in the summer. The xx will be the first headliners in the new site, Pet Shop Boys probably the most anticipated and A Tribe Called Quest’s slot the most important – more than years 30 since their founding, the hugely influential New Yorkers are playing their last ever UK show.

17) Festival No.6
Sept 7-10

Portmeirion, N.Wales
Price: £205 w/e
www.festivalnumber6.com
Recommended
Food and drink
Family friendly
With crazy old Portmeirion as its stage, Festival No.6 takes no prisoners when it comes to assembling one of the best arts fests of the year, comprising woodland trails and art installations, pop up woodland raves, comedy, spoken word, string ensembles and a promenade along the estuary. Music-wise you’re looking at the likes of Cinematic Orchestra, Mogwai, Kate Tempest, Public Service Broadcasting, The Flaming Lips, Arab Strap and Bloc Party.

18) St Ives September Festival
Sept 9-23

St Ives, Cornwall
Price: various, some free
www.stivesseptemberfestival.co.uk
theatre
film
art
Always a fine part of the world in which to plan a late-summer break, all the better for coinciding with this smartly programmed festival of art, guided walks, street theatre, films, etc. Music is chiefly of the folk variety, with early confirmations including the John McCusker Band, Show of Hands, Flats and Sharps, The Changing Room and Cara Dillon.

19) Raindance Film Festival
Sept 20 – Oct 1

London
Price: various
www.raindance.org
Film
Recommended
Screening roughly 100 feature films and over 150 shorts, the biggest indie film fest in the country also lays on a welter of seminars, workshops and parties to boot.

20) Porthcawl Elvis Festival
Sept 22-24

Porthcawl
Price: largely free
www.elvies.co.uk
Recommended
Like the darts, but for Elvies (the festival’s official collective noun for Elvis impersonator), this is a singing along at the top of your voice, arms round the shoulders of strangers, pints waving in the air affair. Or at least it is if you do it properly. You could pay a not insubstantial sum to watch the very finest Elvis tribbers on the planet in relative sterile theatre surrounds, or you could join us out here – the Elvies we’re watching are still globally sourced and, as the afternoon session turns to evening, disbelief is suspended increasingly easily.

21) Looe Music Festival
Sept 29-Oct 1

Looe
Price: £99 w/e
www.looemusic.co.uk
Two musical confirmations at press time and, in fairness, the Venn diagram of people keen to see to both isn’t likely to be populous: The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Lulu. A splendid site finds the event spreading across the town and out over the beach.

International

22) Electric Picnic
Sept 1-3

Stradbally, Ireland
Price: TBA
www.electricpicnic.ie
Theatre
Art
Comprehensively programmed music and arts fest – comedy, spoken world, loads of stages, tons of site art. Line-up TBC, but last year saw visits from the likes of the Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey,New Order and Super Furry Animals. Nb. Ticket off sale as we write but, as a guide, last year’s weekend tickets cost 234.50€.

23) Outlook
Sept 7-10

Pula, Croatia
Price: £130
www.outlookfestival.com
Another beauteous site in Croatia for a festival heavy on bass and beats. The main event line-up includes Giggs, Wiley, Pharoahe Monch, Goldie and Friction, while a separately ticketed gig on Sept 6 features Dizzee Rascal, DJ Shadow and The Outlook Orchestra.

24) Lollapalooza Berlin
Sept 9-10

Berlin, Germany
Price: 139€
www.lollapaloozade.com
Rennbahn Hoppegarten welcomes a third running of the American franchise. Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, The xx, Metronomy, Michael Kiwanuka and Django Django are among the performers.

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