Saturdays in the park - it’s not all rock’n’roll, you know

It’s festival fever, but will you go for opera, vintage style or a children’s day out? Kate Hilpern dons her wellies

Search “festivals 2011” online and you’ll find hundreds of music festivals ranging from small folk events through to Glastonbury and everything in between. But festivals are not just about watching bands in the mud. People with a passion for anything from food to theatre to children’s entertainment can also revel in the outdoor season, and this year the offerings have never been better.

Best for foodies - Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival

This is the largest festival of its kind in the south of England, running throughout September. With local producers, growers, restaurants, bars and food retailers firmly at its heart, this festival has oodles of mini one-off festivals of wine, coffee, seafood, chillies and more. You can take a vintage bus tour of Sussex producers, compete in a cake bakeoff and discuss topical food issues at the debates. There’s even a bartenders’ cocktail shake-off.

Date: 1 September–4 October

Cost: Mixture of free and ticketed events.

Contact: brightonfoodfestival.com

Best for children - Lollibop Festival, London

Following a sell-out success in London’s Clissold Park last summer, the magical LolliBop Festival moves to its new home in Regent’s Park for 2011. From the world of TV, there’ll be the Zany ZingZillas, who will be monkeying around on the main stage, joined by Charlie & Lola’s Best Bestest play. Kids can also get scared by Horrible Histories or see their favourite CBeebies presenters Cerrie Burnell, Alex Winters and Sid Stone introducing some fabulous acts. Other highlights include facepainting, arts and crafts, comedy, Babyoke, football factory, DJ workshops and pizza-making workshops.

Date: 5–7 August

Cost: Family ticket (four people) per day £80 (plus booking fee); at the gate £108. Single tickets also available.

Contact: lollibopfestival.com

Best for theatre buffs - Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, and has helped launch the careers of stars including Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Billy Connolly, Jude Law and many more. One of several festivals taking place in Scotland’s capital every August, the Fringe has everything from big name acts to street performances and includes theatre, children’s shows, exhibitions, comedy, musicals and more.

Don’t miss the other Edinburgh festivals that take over the city’s historic Royal Mile and arthouse venues, with showcase events aplenty.

Date: 5–29 August Cost: Free and ticketed events.

Contact: edfringe.com; thisismyedinburgh.com; edinburghfestivals.co.uk

Best for nostalgia - Goodwood Revival, West Sussex

This festival is devoted entirely to a period theme, with every detail faithful to that golden age of style, grace and glamour: 1948-1966. No other vintage fashion event anywhere takes place on such a vast scale and this year’s festival is expecting around 134,000 visitors, the overwhelming majority of whom are suited, booted and groomed from the tips of their “femme fatale” red fingernails to their stilettoed toes, proving that the Revival is far more than a series of races for old cars.

Date: 16–18 September

Cost: Tickets start from £36 per day per adult. Concessions available.

Contact: goodwood.com

Best for opera lovers - The Glyndebourne Festival, East Sussex

The Glyndebourne Opera Festival has been held annually at an English country house near Lewes since 1934. The renovated theatre, which seats 1,200, opened in 1994. The Festival has been particularly celebrated for its productions of Mozart operas. A long interval allows operagoers the opportunity for picnic dinners on the extensive lawns or in one of the restaurants in the grounds.

The 2011 Festival opened with a new production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Other productions include a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo and revivals of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Britten’s The Turn Of The Screw.

Date: 21 May–28 August

Cost: Tickets from £10 (standing) to £250

Contact: glyndebourne.com

Best literary festival for music lovers - The BBC Proms, London

The BBC Proms comes alive not only through music, but also through words. Key historians, novelists, poets and writers explore cultural themes behind this year’s music at pre-concert events, through subjects ranging from Scandinavian crime writing to humour in literature. This year’s highlights include Kate Mosse discussing French literary classics (18 July); Peggy Reynolds on the role of the cello in literature (20 July); Mark Ravenhill on the Faust myth that has inspired so many composers (26 July); and Sir Ronald Harwood and Neil Brand on music in film (12 August). New for 2011 is the Proms Poetry competition, inviting verse from children and adults that takes inspiration from a piece of music performed during the season.

Date: 15 July–10 September

Cost: Free

Contact: bbc.co.uk/proms

Best for budding historians - England’s Medieval Festival at Herstmonceux Castle, near Hailsham, East Sussex

This event has become an August bank holiday favourite with visitors from across England and the rest of Europe. A spectacular medieval artillery display and a grand parade featuring knights, ladies, mounted horses and performers all clad in authentic regalia will mark the opening of three days of medieval fun. Sieges are then mounted twice daily at 11am at the front of the castle and 3pm on the battlefield. You can have a go at archery, see displays of falconry, visit Europe’s largest medieval traders’ market and eat hog roasts.

Date: 27–29 August

Cost: Adult tickets (in advance) £15 for one day; £29 for two days; £42 for three days. Concessions and family tickets available.

Contact: englandsmedievalfestival.com

Best for arts and crafts - Art In Action, Oxfordshire

In 1977, 51 artists took part in this annual arts festival and 14,000 visitors arrived. Today Art In Action welcomes around 25,000 people over four days, who come to learn, buy and enjoy. There are demonstrations, exhibitions, classes and performances from designer makers, teachers, musicians and performers, with disciplines including painting, sculpture, glass, woodwork, textiles, ceramics, metalwork and jewellery. Visitors can listen to lectures, learn to create their own work of art, watch performances from different cultures and much more – all in a buzzing, family-friendly atmosphere.

Date: 21–24 July

Cost: Adult tickets £14 for one day, £20 for two days; £25 for three days; £30 for four days if you book online. Concessions available.

Contact: artinaction.org.uk

Best for beer lovers - CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, London

This year, the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court, Britain’s biggest beer festival, will offer more than 700 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers. Play traditional pub games, enjoy live music, sample food, including traditional pub snacks, and attend tutored beer tastings. The nation’s most prestigious beer awards – the Champion Beer of Britain Finals – will also take place at the festival on Tuesday 2 August.

Date: 2–6 August Cost: Advance tickets from £6 (Camra members) and £8 (non-members).

Contact: gbbf.camra.org.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on