Wickham Festival is a long way from the massive festivals at Glastonbury and Download. Louder Than War’s Alan Ewart tells us why early August will see him jump into his camper van for the short drive from Dorset to rural Hampshire to take in four days of folk music in a much more relaxed and laid back atmosphere than his recent visits to the larger festivals.
Wickham Festival is a small family friendly festival located in a beautiful rural location on the edge of Wickham village in Western Hampshire. The festival has a daily capacity of just 5000 so it retains a personal and very friendly vibe. Wickham leans towards the folk end of the musical spectrum and as such prides itself on being laid back and relaxed.
Wickham aims to meet the needs of all festival goers and as such there is plenty of entertainment on hand for the younger members of the family. There are children entertainers, a digital fun fair, a play-bus, story tellers and bouncy castles to help the little ones burn of excess energy. Craft activities, a puppet theatre and a solar powered cinema will help to keep the kids amused whilst their parents relax and check out one of the three stages of quality music.
The music lineup for this years Wickham festival is nothing short of superb. The festival has pulled together an incredible array of talent for 2015. Classic acts like 10cc, the Proclaimers, Billy Bragg and Wilko Johnson rub shoulders with contemporary folk heroes Seth Lakeman and Moulette’s and up and coming bands like Megson and Libby Stainton. If the laid back acoustic vibe is your thing then make for the 3rd stage with your chair and chill out to the very wide range of acoustic acts on offer.
It seems hard to believe but the main stage under-card even has the likes of Steve Harley, Tom Robinson, The [beautiful] South, Show of Hands and Eliza Carthy for your listening pleasure.
Wickham is perhaps unique in that both main stages are under cover so even if the weather doesn’t play nicely you can usually stay dry, a definite bonus in the British summer. The bars sell a wide range of real ales and ciders so that you can chill out over a pint enjoying the music and the unique atmosphere that Wickham offers. As you would expect there are a wide range of catering facilities available both onsite and in the village of Wickham which is just a few minutes walk away. There is even a Farm Shop and Tea Room at Westlands Farm adjacent next to the tented camping fields where you can obtain milk, bread, eggs etc. plus breakfasts and snacks through the day.
Whilst you are at the festival you really should make time to visit the village. It is a beautiful village full of olde worlde charm, unique shops, bars, restaurants, wine bars, tea-rooms and country pubs where you can relax with a drink, enjoy a delicious dinner – or sit down to a wonderful cooked breakfast to recover from the night before! The locals are very friendly and welcoming to festival goers and are happy to have such a wonderful cultural event on their doorstep.
The festival site has ample room for cars, caravans and camper vans just a few minutes walk from the arena. There are washing, shower and toilet facilities across the site. Being in a rural location walking boots are always a good bet. They can deal with mud and water if it rains and are comfortable and breathable if it is hot. They are much better than wellies or (heaven forbid) flip-flops!
The Festival site at Wickham is just a couple of miles north of junction 10 on the M27 and about 10 miles from either the M3 or A3. The closest railway station is at Fareham and a taxi to the site from the railway station is around £10.
If top quality folk music in a relaxed and friendly environment at a very reasonable cost is your thing then Wickham is definitely for you. On a personal level I am looking forward to chilling out in a relaxing environment at a festival where I don’t have to walk 20 miles a day to see the acts I am interested in. I am looking forward to spending time chatting to people I have met for the first time and I am looking forward to spending some time unwinding to a backdrop of quality music. I won’t, under any circumstances, miss Wilko Johnson and there won’t be any sign of Kanye West.
Tickets are still available from here. Don’t delay or you might miss out!