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Muddy’s 2022 Festival Guide: Northants and beyond

Are you ready to make some noise?! From world music extravaganzas to thumping chart-toppers, spiritual happenings and literary affairs, these are the festivals you need to know about this summer.


The Music Barn Festival, Cranford, Kettering, 17 & 18 June

This year’s Music Barn line up is absolutely storming, with headline slots from Sleeper on Friday and The Hoosiers on Saturday, plus sets from DJ Lottie, Mark Morris, Seb Fontaine, Shaka Loves You and loads more. Profits go to the amazing Cransley Hospice in Kettering. Hedonism and altruism all rolled in to one magical weekend – what’s not to love? There are still a few tickets available at the weather is going to be HOT HOT HOT!

Northampton Music Fest, Northampton, 19 June

Northampton Music Fest hits the town with 61 acts set to perform in eight locations throughout the town centre completely FOC! The World Music stage, in the courtyard of The Guildhall, will see a headline performance from T Bone Afrika Allstars, plus Northampton’s own Ivor Johnson Band. Headlining the classical stage, in its new home at Northampton Museum’s Courtyard, will be top trumpeter David Blackadder (he played at Harry and Meghan’s wedding). Plus there’s folk rock at The Black Prince and loads more.

Midsummer Garden Poetry Festival, Quinton Rectory Garden, 24-26 June

The beautiful Quinton Rectory Garden hosts a Midsummer Garden Poetry Festival this month, where you’ll have the chance to hear former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy share her funny and powerful poetry and discover your own writing talents by taking part in a workshop, plus more poetry readings, live music, outdoor yoga and loads more fabulous events throughout the weekend.

Charlbury Beer Festival, near Witney, 25 June

Every year the well-heeled Cotswolds town of Charlbury pulls out all the stops for its beloved beer festival, one of the largest of its kind in England. The fest attracts thousands of punters with its offering of real ales, craft beers, ciders, perries, wine, gin, Pimm’s, and food trucks to help it all down. There’ll also be live music, a culture tent, children’s entertainment and high-octane sport with the World Aunt Sally Singles Championships. Entry is £5.

Chilfest, Tring, 1-2 July

Over the border into Herts, Chilfest is quite the glossy affair: posh loos, sushi, and good wine to knock back as you boogie to tribute acts and 80s hits. Friday is tribute night: The Bootleg Beatles, Noasis and ABBA Revival, among others. Then Saturday is a funky throwback of 80s and 90s legends: The Proclaimers, Toploader, Peter Hook & The Light (ie., guitarist/vocalist of Joy Division and New Order) and Tony Hadley are just some of the familiar faces ready to light up the stage. Fluff those shoulder pads and get grooving. Tickets from £26.50.

Cornbury Festival, Great Tew Park, 8-10 July

This iconic Cotswolds music festival has spent the last 18 years perfecting a uniquely mellow, friendly and happy family vibe. Think amazing music and atmosphere, plus a kids zone with circus workshops, puppet shows, dance parties, samba drumming, storytelling, crafts, and more. But, OMG, this year is the last ever! Quit sobbing and go make it count: you can catch Bryan Adams, The Waterboys, The Darkness, Mica Paris, Ronan Keating, James Blunt, Jools Holland and friends — oh, and er, us! The Muddy team will be be there en masse as Cornbury’s media partner, so come and see us for a glass of champers at our tent.

Oundle International Festival, Oundle, 8-16 July

One for the cultured Muddy reader. Well, that’s all of you then. The Oundle International Festival returns this year with a swathe of old festival favourites, including Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, plus family theatre, classical, jazz, folk and world music, open gardens and Party at the Wharf on 16th July with Queen tribute band, Flash!

Nocturne Live, Blenheim Palace, 15-18 July

A festival for people who are too posh for festivals! This four-day series of concerts sees The Great Court at Blenheim Palace turn into a grand, 7,000-seat arena. The line-up is a series of nostalgic greats: Simply Red, The Brand New Heavies, David Gray celebrating the 21st anniversary of his ‘White Ladder’ album, and UB40 featuring Ali Campbell, among others. Individual concert tickets from £36, series passes from £181.50.

Bedford Festival Fringe, 21 – 31 July

Bedford’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the concept behind the Bedford Festival Fringe is to come and see not one but loads of live shows, from performances of new work by household names to brand new faces cutting their teeth on the circuit. There’s everything from music and dance to comedy, theatre, kids’ entertainment and spoken work coming to various venues in and around Bedford.

Bedford River Festival, 23-24 July

Come to the banks of the River Great Ouse for some watery fun including dragon boat and raft racing, boat parades, water sports and open water swimming. Not only that, there’ll be eight live entertainment stages, fab food and drink, craft marquees, a funfair, market stalls and heritage re-enactments. Plus… the best bit… it’s absolutely free!

Bedford Park Concerts, 28 – 31 July

This annual collection of gigs, Bedford Park Concerts, are always hotly anticipated and feature big names in a stunning venue, giving it that day festival vibe. This year’s line-up kicks off with Simply Red and Lisa Stansfield, followed by Café Mambo Ibiza In the Park and the one and only Paul Weller, plus on 31 July is the grand finale – The Bedford Park Proms (part 2) featuring West End stars, laser shows and fireworks.

Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, 4-7 Aug

The most revered of the Oxfordshire festivals, Wilderness returns this summer for a four-day boutique experience. There will be music (headliners: Years & Years, Jungle, Underworld), long-table banquets, woodland parties, theatre, film, dance, and a pop up spa (well, we are in Oxfordshire). It’s generally a heady mix of right-on hippiness (yoga, skinny-dipping, hot hubs) and top-tier music. General camping adult tickets from £230.

Waterperry Opera Festival, Near Wheatley, 12-20 Aug

Love a bit of high culture? You’ll want to get yourself tickets to an opera festival, darling. The 2022 line-up promises eight productions to enjoy over the eight days: Mansfield Park (Dove), Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev), The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Svadba ‘A Wedding’ (Ana Sokolović), and more. There is also a Young Artist Gala on 14 and 19 Aug. Tickets for The Marriage of Figaro are £45 (or £25 for under-30s — think we could pass?), or from £15 for all other productions.

Shambala Festival, Northampton, 25-28 Aug

Sadly, tickets for this lo-fi, indie festival at Kelmarsh Hall are sold out (they did release a handful of cycling tickets at the beginning of June if you’re super quick), but you can keep eye on the ticket page to potentially bag a returned ticket. The festival isn’t big on household name music bookings for its 12 (yep, 12!) stages but there’s more cabaret, inspiring talks, yoga, circus acts and comedy than you can shake a stick at. Plus it’s very family friendly.

Green Belt, Boughton House, Kettering, 26-29 August

Get set fort the long August Bank Holiday weekend at Greenbelt. It’s a celebration of humanity like no other, where spiritual meets secular and nurtures everything in between, with music, performing arts, literature, comedy, spirituality, workshops and children’s entertainment. This year’s acts include Brian Eno, Kae Tempest, Simon Armitage, Caroline Lucas, The People Versus and plenty more.

The Big Feastival, near Kingham, 26-28 Aug

A posh nosh extravaganza, and an unbeatable excuse to eat yourself silly. Hosted on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James, The Big Feastival promises top notch chefs, family fun and chart-topping artists: good food, and great music. The line-up this year includes Anne-Marie, The Human League, Stereophonics, plus others. Adult day tickets from £92.50.

Towersey Festival, 26-29 Aug

This veteran folk celebration (which, confusingly, is now held at Claydon Estate, rather than Towersey village) has a reputation for being family friendly, thanks to plenty of workshops, entertainments, and dance classes. Activities includes yoga, a circus, community singing, Tai Chi, and more. The line-up includes Bill Bailey, Anais Mitchell (writer of the Broadway and West End hit Hadestown), and Kate Rusby among others. Adult weekend tickets from £152, day from £50.

Foodies Festival Oxford, 27-29 Aug

The UK’s biggest food festival returns to Oxford South Parks over the Bank Holiday weekend, featuring Chef residencies from The Orange Bakery‘s Kitty Tait, the team behind Oxford’s Taste Tibet, and Lottie Bedlow from 2020’s series of The Great British Bake Off. Music headliners include Natalia Imbruglia, Toploader, and The Feeling. Get ready to eat, enjoy good music, learn new skills, and then eat some more. Weekend adult tickets from £42, day from £23.


Isle of Wight Festival, 16-19 June. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Kasabian, Pete Tong, Muse, Craig David, Shaggy)

BST Hyde Park, London, 24 June – 10 July. (Line-up: Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Adele, Eagles, Pearl Jam, Duran Duran)

Wireless Festival, London Finsbury Park, 8-10 July. (Line-up: Cardi B, SZA, Nicki Minaj)

Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 21-24 July. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Snow Patrol, Phoebe Bridgers)

Kaleidoscope Festival, London Alexandra Palace, 23 July. (Line-up: Orbital, Happy Mondays, Charlotte Church)

Camp Bestival, Dorset, 28-31 July. (Line-up: Rag’n’Bone Man, Rudimental, Kool & The Gang)

Edinburgh Summer Sessions, 8-14 Aug. (Line-up: Tom Jones, Simple Minds, Simply Red, Michael Kiwanuka)

Boardmasters, Cornwall, 10-14 Aug. (Line-up: George Ezra, Disclosure, Kings of Leon)

Camp Bestival, Shropshire, 18-21 August. (Line-up: Fatboy Slim, Rag’n’Bone Man, Becky Hill, Sara Cox)

All Points East, London Victoria Park, 19-28 Aug. (Line-up: Charlie XCX, Gorillaz, Nick Cave, Kraftwerk)

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