14 Quirky Festivals 2019

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Festivals don’t have to be all about camping, live music and street food. This summer there are plenty of quirky alternative days out.

From pirates and sustainability to soaring aeroplanes and story telling, read our guide to some of the more unusual events taking place in the East of England this summer…

Pirates Ball

Into the Woods ‘A Pirate’s Ball’, 11 May

Thorington, Suffolk

This popular and quirky festival once again sails into Suffolk for a night of live music, a fabulous mix of live bands, DJs, interactive shows and cabaret. Join in the fun and dress up as a pirate! Don’t miss the circus and cabaret performances! www.mauiwauievents.co.uk

Sustainability Festival, 11 May – 1 June

City Centre, St Albans

A packed programme of events for all ages will be linked to the environment and sustainable awareness. There are talks, tours, films, food, bike-rides and community crafts. It’s a great opportunity to get out in nature or learn something new. Most events are free too! www.sustainablestalbans.org/get-started/sust-festival


Weird & Wonderful Festival, 18-19 May

Haughley Park, Nr Wetherden, Stowmarket, Suffolk

The festival is dedicated to the beauty and craftsmanship of wood. Over 120 artists and crafts people come from all over the country to show their skills in demonstrations such as carving and sculpture, fine furniture making, musical instrument making, displays by traditional fletchers and bowyers, chain saw carving and more. Workshops, for both adults and children are free and include activities such as archery, den building and tree climbing in nets. www.weirdandwonderfulwood.co.uk

Duxford Air Festival 2018 at IWM Duxford. Photographed 26th May 2018. Crowds trying to get a shot of “Sally B” Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as it taxis past them.

Duxford Air Festival, 25-26 May

IWM Duxford, Cambs

Experience the thrills in the sky above and enjoy the fun on the ground at the Duxford Air Festival. Enjoy dynamic flying over the skies of Duxford’s historic airbase, showcasing the skill and capability of pilots in amazing aircraft, witness hair-raising aerobatics and aerial ingenuity from powerful aircraft. Take part in the live entertainment across the show ground including music, family activities and interviews. There’s also delicious festival food! www.iwm.org.uk/events/iwm-duxford/airshows/duxford-air-festival

The Wildwood Rumpus, 8 June

Horseheath Racecourse, Cambs

My Little Festival’s magical one-day family festival returns for a second year in a woodland at Horseheath Racecourse. Designed to attract families from the area, the event focuses on creating a beautiful, eco-friendly, woodland event, with enchanting activities and performances around every corner. Expect art installations, story-tellers, woodland crafts, children’s theatre & authors, plus fantastic food from local street food vendors, bars, and live music from the Brass Funkeys and local bands. Family tickets are now on sale (2 adults and 2 children) from £65. www.thewildwoodrumpus.com

The East Anglian Storytelling Festival, 14-16 June

Elmswell Village, Suffolk

Created by a group of East Anglian Storytellers – known as The East Anglian Fabulation, the festival will feature children’s stories, adult stories, storyrounds, professional development sessions and guest tellers. www.eastanglianstorytellingfestival.co.uk

Life Arts Wellbeing Festival, 15-16 June

Chelmsford City Racecourse, Chelmsford, Essex

Put your health first at the largest wellbeing event in the region. Yoga, live music, NHS health checks, pain relief workshops, mindfulness, meditation and more will be on offer at the Life Arts Wellbeing Festival. Visitors will be treated to a wide-range of free-of-charge activities, including cooking demos and talks from leading industry experts, to help boost their wellbeing.

This year’s event will have a wellness zone with a yoga studio where festival-goers will be able to enjoy yoga for pain and stress management, restorative yoga, pilates, hatha yoga, chair yoga, gong bath, drum circle, yoga flow and a family rave! There will also be a ‘Buddha Cave’ for meditation guidance classes, plus a relaxing ‘chill-out’ space. The Life Arts Wellbeing Festival will also be raising much-needed funds for the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. Tickets cost from £5 for adults, under 16s go free. www.lifearts.co.uk

Slaughter in Southwold Crime Festival, 15-16 June

Southwold Library has launched the programme for the seventh annual ‘Slaughter in Southwold’ crime festival. The established crime writers’ festival will once again feature several renowned crime writers giving talks about their writing. The event takes place at Southwold Arts Centre and is part of Southwold Arts Festival. This year’s packed Slaughter programme features Kate Ellis, Mick Herron, Jill Dawson, Val McDermid, Mark Dawson, Martin Edwards, Nicci French, Felix Francis and Elly Griffiths. There will also be a range of other activities on offer including a Murder Mystery Night based on the bestselling Shetland books by Ann Cleeves, a staged murder mystery musical, a crime-themed quiz night and a chance to have a fish and chips lunch with the visiting authors. www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/slaughterorwww.ticketsource.co.uk/slaughterinsouthwold

Young Children’s Festival, 15 June

Castle Park, Colchester

The festival will be providing arena displays, hands-on activities, sporting and craft workshops, free children’s clothes stall, tombola, tea tent and food stalls. A funfair plus a range of stalls providing information about services and signposting sources of support for parents and carers is set to make this event a great day. www.colchester-events.co.uk/event/young-childrens-festival-2

3foot People Festival, 2 July

Hylands Park, Chelmsford

The hugely popular 3foot People Festival, aimed exclusively at pre-school children will feature a mix of music, theatre, storytelling, arts, crafts, sporting activities and play. You’ll need to be quick, tickets sell out fast!  www.hylandsestate.co.uk/events/3foot-people-festival/2019-07-02/

Fling Festival

Fling Festival, 6 July

Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex,

The fun and creative festival for adults returns for a day of live music, cabaret, surreal theatre, circus acts and immersive arts and crafts, plus yummy food. Headliners include Oh My God! it’s the Church, Lee Nelson and Tony Law. This festival is best described as a playground for adults – don’t miss your chance to take part in the space hopper race!  www.flingfestival.com

Smoke & Fire Festival, 17-18 August

Promenade Park, Maldon

The Maldon Smoke and Fire Festival is a celebration of cooking using smoke and fire. You can expect to salivate at the aromas of smoked ribs cooked low and slow as you explore the festival’s other array of attractions. There will be live music, lots of food & drink to choose from, a trade market, extreme eating contests, Kansas City Barbecue Society Masters and much more. www.smokeandfirefestival.com

East Anglian Dragon Boat Festival, 31 August

Teams across East Anglia come together to battle it out on the water in aid of charity. Join the thousands of spectators and cheer on participants or enjoy the embankment activities such as inflatable games, funfair, kid’s activities and food and drink stalls. Www.dragonboatfestivals.co.uk/

Retro Dub Suffolk VW Festival, 20-22 September

Trinity Park, Ipswich

Enjoy a VW camping festival experience in the beautiful grounds of Trinity Park. The atmosphere is laid back and the music is great. A must for those looking for an easy going weekend festival. On the Saturday, Norfolk and Suffolk Retro Riderz are hosting a bike show and shine with various trophies up for grabs. All old-school rides are welcome, be it chopper, cruiser, BMX or trike. www.retrodub-suffolk.co.uk

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