Bestival: This year's festivals boast an array of non-musical delights

Everything's on offer, from dance at Womad to comedy...

So you're either too middle-aged or too middle class to mainline bottles of lager while hoisting your friends on to your shoulders to the sound of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Is there any point in going to a music festival at all, then?

Well, yes. This year is a better time than any to discover the off-piste, non-musical delights of the festival circuit. And while the arts-heavy Latitude Festival was last weekend, all is not lost: there is plenty more to come. From Cuban dancing at WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) to Noel Fielding's make-up-based brand of comedy at The Big Chill, we run through the choicest family-fuelled delights coming up this week and later in the Summer. And none of them, thankfully, involve getting soaked in beer.

Theatre/Performance

Leave your conventionality outside in the rain: are you up for a primped-up performance by the Queen of London's alternative drag circuit? That rather specialist moniker goes to Jonny Woo, who will be appearing at this year's Big Chill (6 to 9 August). His set features an array of kitsch props – everything from baby doll dresses to Mickey Mouse gloves, tar, feathers and green wigs – which are destined to fire a slug of psychedelia into your day.

If you're not familiar by now with Steampunk (also at The Big Chill), you should be: Perverse Universe – a SteamPunk Affair will introduce you to the trend's Heath Robinson-inspired delights (highlights are, wonderfully, a "perverted sexdroid" and trapeze artists employing hot air balloons). And make sure you look in on the activities of Camden's Roundhouse, also at the Herefordshire festival, which will be hosting an arts-and-crafts treasure hunt, as well as drumming and singing workshops. Finally, please don't miss Scamps Theatre's Pinocchio. The fairy story will be told using the tools of a carpenter's workshop – with the titular character being carved in real-time on stage.

Dance

When festival-goers dance these days, it isn't through an acid-haze with flowers in their hair, as WOMAD (24 to 26 July) perennially proves. Here, the Creole Choir of Cuba will attempt to fuel inject people's hips using their 14-strong line-up of world music and funk musicians. If that doesn't total your joints, then join in the fun of Street Style Barcelona, which fuses Latin, punk and reggae moves with, er, politics. Over at The Big Chill, Shreya Kumar's Bollywood dance classes will cater for traditional and contemporary preferences. Feel free to make up your own steps later in the evening.

Comedy

Belligerence and beer – music festivals and stand-up comics both share a passion for them. The Big Chill trumpets the edgier end of the established comedy circuit: Noel Fielding, Dylan Moran, Russell Howard, Sean Hughes and Alex Horne are all set to brave the sun-kissed heckles. Camp Bestival (24 to 26 July) has more of a mixed bag: the wonderful Marcus Brigstocke will crack gags along with seasoned stand-ups Lee Mack and Frankie Boyle (whose appearance, apparently, is a "UK exclusive"). Less well-known, although equally talented names like Andre Vincent, Al Barrie and Carl Donnelly will also make an appearance.

Books/Poetry

There are few authors who share Patrick Neate's authentic, far-reaching passion for good music, so if you have the opportunity, catch him at this year's Camp Bestival, which takes place within the copacetic confines of Dorset's Lulworth Castle. Neate will be participating in his very own literary "nightclub", an idea he dreamed up with Ben Watt – one half of Everything but the Girl and co-founder of Notting Hill Arts Club's much-loved Sunday afternoon shindig, Lazy Dog. The event will feature readings from Neate, as well as music and appearances by poets Laura Dockrill and Salena Godden. As ever, goings on at The Secret Garden Party (23 to 26 July) in Cambridgeshire look more enigmatic: their literary offering is simply being billed as talks by "international security consultants, Nobel Prize nominees and leading lights in the world of international politics". At The Big Chill (one for the nostalgics out there) are Stephen Morrison and Alex Jenkins, who wrote their own Choose Your Own Adventure book ("Remove the small goblin clinging to Merlin's beard and turn to page 46") in spoof style.

Film/Visual Art

Acclaimed artist and music video director Chris Cunningham – the man behind the sometimes perversely surreal musical promos for Aphex Twin – will be performing a rare, audiovisual show at The Big Chill. Featuring live, remixed music and projected images, this showcase will be one of only a handful of such outings he will be doing across the globe this year. If that doesn't fry your sense of taste, then look to Pete Fowler, best known for his surreal illustrations for Super Furry Animals and creator of Monsterism, a fictional world inhabited by monsters, which he has immortalised in both music and children's literature.

Follow that up with a little cultural edification from Movimientos Soundsystem, an organisation set up to promote Latin culture in the UK, who will be providing a platform for Latin-inspired, politically motivated documentaries, as well as serving up tropical, global and Latin dance music guaranteed to get your toes tapping. And in the morning, why not capture your mood in perpetuity (which will vary depending on whether Mother Nature steps in to blow your tent down) through the work of celebrated fashion and portrait photographer Rankin, who will be taking the public's portraits for £50. The proceeds will go to Oxjam, the Oxfam-backed series of music events held in October. Unluckily for some (depending, of course, on how rain-tousled your hair is), the results will be exhibited on-site. And, if you have any alcohol-stained cash left after that, check out the Art Car Boot Fair – an art sale normally found in a car park close to Brick Lane. It will be temporarily transported to the countryside for your commercial satisfaction.

Arts and Entertainment
music

Arts and Entertainment
Creep show: Tim Cockerill in ‘Spider House’

TVEnough to make ardent arachnophobes think twice

Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tvThe Apprentice contestants take a battering from the business mogul
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Jewel in the crown: drawings from ‘The Letter for the King’, an adventure about a boy and his mission to save a medieval realm
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
art
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
art
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
books

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

books
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain