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Music festivals and gigs across Kent in 2018 from Steps and a-ha to Clean Bandit, Simple Minds and Black Deer Festival

By Angela Cole

Spring’s just around the corner, so music fans can turn their minds to the festival season. Here’s some hot tickets you need to snap up:


The first of the big music events for 2018 will be The Selecter and The Beat at Dreamland in Margate on Saturday, February 24. The amusement park also plays host to the Undercover Music Festival Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14. For more, go to dreamland.co.uk.

The Selecter
The Selecter


May brings Maidstone alive with the sounds of music as the annual Fringe Festival, when pubs, clubs and restaurants will host a range of acts, from the No Limits Street Band to Funke and the 2 Tone Baby, We Are Bandicoot, and the Mofos, between Thursday, May 3 to Bank Holiday Monday May 7. Details at maidstonefringe.com.


Some big names head to open air stages across the county in June, setting us up for a summer of sound. On Thursday, June 7, Norwegian pop group a-ha play the Spitfire Ground in Canterbury on Thursday, June 7, with Steps and Blue following at the ground on Saturday, June 9. For tickets go to ticketmaster.co.uk.

Steps are back performing live in 2018
Steps are back performing live in 2018

There’s forest fun at Bedgebury Pinetum in Goudhurst when Paloma Faith plays the first of two Forest live gigs on Friday, June 15, with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, formerly of the Beautiful South, play on Saturday, June 16. Tickets at forestry.gov.uk/music.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott
Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott

The new Black Deer Music Festival, mixing Americana and country music, comes to picturesque Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells, from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24. Tickets at blackdeerfestival.com/tickets.

The month rounds off with the Deal Festival of Music & The Arts from Friday, June 29 to Saturday, July 14 and Mote Park in Maidstone rocking out to the sounds of the Ramblin’ Man Fair, on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1. More at ramblinmanfair.com.

Steel Panther will be at Ramblin' Man Fair in Maidstone
Steel Panther will be at Ramblin' Man Fair in Maidstone


The height of summer means long evenings spent outdoors, enjoying the sights and sounds.

Family-friendly festival Big Day Out in Mote Park on Saturday, July 14 will be headlined by Strictly and The X Factor star Alexandra Burke, while the Leeds Castle Classical Concert on the same day features world famous acts. For tickets head to leedscastleconcert.co.uk.

The crowds at last year's Big Day Out in Mote Park Picture: Matthew Walker
The crowds at last year's Big Day Out in Mote Park Picture: Matthew Walker

There is also the boutique but buzzing Vicar’s Picnic festival at Yalding on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21.

Girls of the moment Little Mix play the Kent Showground at Detling on Sunday, July 22.


Holiday season sees more festivals cropping up, with a diverse range of genres on offer. Neverworld comes to Hever from Thursday, August 2 to Sunday, August 5, with chart topping Clean Bandit the first headliners to be announced. For tickets, go to neverworld.co.uk.

Clean Bandit
Clean Bandit

Other big music events include Simple Minds, the Pretenders and KT Tunstall at the Kent Showground at Detling on Saturday, August 4. Tickets at eventbrite.co.uk.

Other musical treats include A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Faversham (anewdayfestival.com) and Margate Soul Festival (margatesoulfestival.co.uk), both from Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5 and Broadstairs Folk Week from Friday, August 10 to Friday, August 17 - details at broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk.

Bearsted hosts the one-day festival, Music on the Green, with live music and family activities on Sunday, August 26. Details at musiconthegreen.co.uk

Simple Minds with Jim Kerr front centre
Simple Minds with Jim Kerr front centre


The sun-kissed days of summer may be over but don’t take the flowers out of your hair just yet, as Tenterden Folk Week comes to the town from Thursday, October 4 to Sunday, October 7. Details at tenterdenfolkfestival.org.uk.

Tenterden Folk Festival Picture: Paul Amos
Tenterden Folk Festival Picture: Paul Amos

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