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Your round-up of Kent music festivals 2014

By KentOnline reporter
Grace Jones

Friday, May 30 to Sunday, June 1

This weekend is the 20th anniversary of this family-friendly festival which makes a big feature of a communal fire. This year’s music features headliners the Forest Hill Billies ska/skiffle band and controversial rockabillies Fat White Family among many others over four stages. Its programme is targeted to attract a diversity of ages and musical tastes. There will be a large range of food outlets including vegetarian, camping and parking on-site and kids’ tents and workshops, including a children’s procession at noon on Sunday.

Tickets cost £50 for adults for the weekend, £20 for children 12-16 and £5 for under-12s. Visit www.hopefestival.co.uk

Paul Weller

Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21

Although not strictly a festival, Forest Live does involve two big-name outdoor concerts in the stunning surroundings of Bedgebury Forest. First up is Jessie J on the Friday night, supported by last year’s The Voice runner-up and Will.i.am’s protege, Leah McFall. Saturday night is the domain of legendary Paul Weller, for whom it marks a return to Bedgebury. He has enjoyed playing several times in the past, saying: “It is a favourite summer jaunt for me, I always look forward to performing in a forest.”

Tickets to both concerts are now sold out, but to keep abreast of news on next year’s Forest Live events, watch at www.forestry.gov.uk

Curb Pilots

Saturday, June 28

This one-day festival at the UK Paper site in Gore Court Road brings together live music, a large-scale barbecue and a funfair in the heart of Sittingbourne. Headliners include classic covers band Marylebone Jelly, ska and reggae covers band Curb Pilots and live electro dance act Deckajam, among others performing throughout the afternoon and evening. The food stalls and bars will keep you well refreshed, and the kids will love the rides and funfair.

Adult tickets cost £15 in advance or £20 on the day, children under-16 cost £5, and family tickets cost £35. Call 01795 427852.

Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6

It’s the big one – a rammed three-day line-up of world class acts. From iconic Grace Jones, to people’s favourites like the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, 10cc, Ray Davies, Echo and the Bunnymen and contemporary artists like Caro Emerald, James Blunt, the Noisettes and Eliza Doolittle, most musical tastes are pleased. The entertainment expands to comedy, circus performers, a vintage fairground, and the options of camping or glamping have your accommodation covered.

Prices vary but an adult weekend ticket is £185 and there’s a new family ticket introduced for this year to add value, priced at £330. For full line-up and ticket prices visit www.thehopfarmmusicfestival.com

Saturday, July 5

Big beats will abound as DJs from the cutting edges of the dance music scene converge on Eridge Park for one day only. Superstar DJ Carl Cox heads a line-up that includes top international acts including Marco Carola, the Martinez Brothers, Mampi Swift, Brockie, Mistajam and recent chart-toppers Gorgon City. Tickets now cost £44.50 and prices will go up nearer to the event.

Visit www.highdefinitionfestival.com

Shane Filan

Wednesday, July 16 to Saturday, July 19

Popular pop acts rounded off by a patriotic proms attract the crowds to this four-day series of outdoor concerts in Medway. Level 42 kick off the fun on night one, followed by former Westlife pin-up Shane Filan, UB40 and the Saturday night Castle Proms. Tickets range from £30 to £35 per concert, but UB40 is already sold out.

Visit www.thecastleconcerts.co.uk


Sunday, July 27

Everybody loves a freebie, and when it’s a public festival featuring bands of the calibre of chart-toppers Nizlopi, what’s not to love? This one-day event featuring three live music stages and a DJ stage in Victoria Park is the South East’s biggest free music event.

Visit www.createfestival.co.uk


Friday, August 1 to Sunday, August 3

The new life that’s been breathed into Margate’s creative quarter in recent years is showed off to best effect at the annual soul weekend. This summer it hosts acts and DJs including Norman Jay OBE, Omar, BBC Radio 1Extra’s Ronnie Herel, founder of Street Soul Records Andy Davies, and scene legend DJ Bigger.

Adult tickets for the weekend cost £15, or £10 excluding the closing party where Omar will entertain. Visit www.margatesoulweekend.co.uk

Fun Lovin' Criminals: From left, Huey, Frank and Fast

Saturday, August 2

This boutique festival has long since secured its place in Kent music-lovers’ hearts. Despite the fact that changing circumstances at the venue, Merton Farm in Canterbury, mean organisers had to reduce the usually three-day long event to a one-day spectacular for this year only, there’s no doubt the craic will be mighty. Headliners Fun Lovin’ Criminals, The Subways, Congo Natty (formerly Rebel MC), Peter Hook and the Light, DJ Yoda and the rest will cover every musical base.

Adult tickets for the weekend cost £55 and £35 for young people aged between 13 and 17. Children aged 12 and under go free. Visit www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk

Thursday, August 21 to
Monday, August 25

Powered by the wind and sun, this eco-festival celebrates ‘the sheer joy of creativity, trust and love’ and brings together performers, artists, healers, craftspeople, colourful characters, jesters, magicians, families and party people.

Tickets ‘cost £90 if you have a well paid job, £70 if you don’t.’ Visit www.smallworldsolarstage.org

Singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan

Thursday, August 28 to Sunday, August 31

Organised by Deal-based Smugglers Records, the musical theme leans towards world folk roots rather than traditional folk. Organiser Will Greenham said: “Expect beautiful rural woodland, brilliant music fused with talks, plays, workshops and more celebrating collective skill-sharing.” The line-up, yet to be announced, will include rising singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan and the hugely popular Kent band Cocos Lovers among others.

Adult weekend tickets cost £70, and £35 for children aged 12 to 16. Under-12s go free. Visit www.smugglersrecords.com

Saturday, August 30 and
Sunday, August 31

This free folk music festival sees revellers pack the streets of the historic market town which is home to brewery Shepherd Neame. To celebrate its hop heritage in musical style will be four mixed-genre stages plus Morris dancers and pearly kings and queens.

Visit www.favershamhopfestival.org

Saturday, September 13

Kick back in rolling countryside near Ashford, accompanied by the sounds of local heroes CoCo and the Butterfields and Van Susans among others. Busker sessions will feature with up-and-coming artists, and food is also a focus at this one-day festival so expect some real treats.

Tickets cost £15. Visit www.rarebreeds.org.uk/acoustics-in-the-woods

DJ Carl Cox

Saturday, September 13

Big-name DJ and Maidstone local Nic Fanciulli is behind Kent’s best-known specialist dance music festival in Mote Park. As well as the host himself and the return of Carl Cox to Kent for the second time this summer, it boasts DJs Ben Pearce and Route 94 on the line-up.

Tickets currently cost £40 and will go up to £45 nearer the event itself. Visit www.thesocialfestival.com

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