30 summer festivals to enjoy in Dorset this year

PUBLISHED: 10:31 01 June 2015 | UPDATED: 16:03 26 July 2017

The Red Arrows at the Bournemouth Air Festival. Photo: Hattie Miles

The Red Arrows at the Bournemouth Air Festival. Photo: Hattie Miles

Hattie Miles 07907 645897

From kite flying and wing walking to dogs and music, Helen Stiles rounds up Dorset’s very best summer festivals

Feature from 2015. Click here for the latest events.




12-14 June - Wimborne Folk Festival

Three days of ‘folk, family and fun’, with dance displays, workshops and stalls. Performers include BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Blair Dunlop and Katriona Gilmore and the Carrivick Sisters, runners-up in the 2010 BBC Young Folk Awards. Saturday’s ceilidh, at the Allendale Centre, is led by Gareth Kiddier and The Watch and Colvin Quarmby closes the festival.




19-21 June - Bournemouth Jazz Festival

The town’s first summer jazz festival features an impressive line up of over 30 acts including jazz singer Zoe Schwarz, jazz guitarist Rob Koral and the Swing Unlimited Big Band, performing at a variety of venues from hotels and cafes to piers and bandstands.




26-29 June - Vdub at the Pub

Dorset’s biggest and friendliest Volkswagen Festival at a river side show ground in Wimborne, with two live music stages, beach chill area, free kayaking, dodgeball tournament, ‘family only’ camping zone and zorbing for bigger kids!




27 June-5 July - Beaminster Festival of Music and Arts

World class classical music, jazz, literature and local art all feature at this popular festival.




27-28 June - Folk on the Quay

Poole’s free folk festival features top quality live music and dance including the fabulous Plumhall, Fred’s House and Roving Crows.




3–5 July - UK Boogie Woogie Music Festival

Sturminster Newton hosts 3 days of great music by international and local professionals at gigs both inside and out. Plus Dorset Producers market in the centre of the town and a vintage market.




4 July - Big Mix Music Festival

Set against the stunning backdrop of Lyme Bay, the B Sharp Big Mix offers non-stop entertainment from musicians showcasing an amazing variety of talent on an outdoor stage by the Marine Theatre, from 1pm onwards.




9-12 July - Cerne Abbas Music Festival

Now in its 25th year, education and the love of music lie at the heart of this festival featuring Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, and works from Françaix, Mozart, Mahler, Wagner, Debussy, Poulenc and Bruch.




10-12 July - Swanage Jazz Festival

Now in its 26th year this year’s line up of over 50 acts ranges from New Orleans jazz to contemporary fusions, with lots of leading names aswell as rising stars.




11 July - Jurassic Fields Music Festival

Askers Meadows Bridport plays host to this family-friendly event of live music, food and fun.




11-12 July - Grooves on the Green

Dorset’s best community festival offers 2 days of family-friendly events, music on two stages, local food and drink, sports on the Green, alternative therapies and the ever popular Kidzone.




11-26 July - Festival of British Archaeology

Part of a national event, Corfe Castle hosts Norman maritime themed living history displays presented by Regia Anglorum.




15-19 July - Larmer Tree Festival

Popular boutique-style festival on the Dorset/Wiltshire border, headlined by Sir Tom Jones, features over 70 international, national and regional musicians as well as comics including the legendary Bill Bailey.




17-19 July - Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival

This annual festival and rally, commemorating the famous Dorset martyrs, features music, speakers, stand up comedy, poetry and family entertainment.




24 July - Beer & Bluegrass Festival

Branksome (opposite Bowlplix) offers foot-tapping Bluegrass and Americana music along with 30 of Britain’s finest real ales and select American-style beers.



25 July–2 August - Spirit of Portland Festival

Community-based festival celebrating Portland’s heritage including walks, talks, water-based firework displays, open-water swimming and live music.




26 July–2 August - Milton Abbey International Music Festival

A series of courses and concerts against the glorious backdrop of Milton Abbey. This year’s musicians include Voces8 and the Gabrieli Consort




30 July-2 August - Camp Bestival

The award-winning family festival at the castle by the sea, Lulworth has a Go Wild theme this year.




1-2 August - Mudeford Arts Festival

Local artists show their work at Christchurch’s famous Mudeford area, the theme is Flights of Fancy.




15-22 August - Burton Bradstock Festival of Music & Art

A glittering array of national and international musicians descend on the West Dorset village.




20-23 August - Bournemouth Air Festival

Named Tourist Event of the Year, this fabulous free festival on Bournemouth seafront features the Red Arrows, wing walkers, historic planes, parachute displays and Night Air entertainment.




21-23 August - Lyme Folk Festival

A weekend featuring the cream of the UK and local folk scene.




22 August - Woofstock UK

Join Harry Spaniel and chums at Marnhull for this festival by dogs for dogs and wooftastic events.




27-30 August - Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

The barns at Purbeck Valley Farm provide the professional stages at this delightful and friendly event.




4-6 September - End of the Road Festival

A music and comedy festival at Larmer Tree Gardens including music from Surjan Stevens, Saint Etienne and Laura Marling.




5 September - Bridport Hat Festival

Annual celebration of head gear, including a mass hat-wearing selfie in Bucky Doo Square.




11-13 September - Swanage Folk Festival

This friendly festival features over 50 colourful dance sides, a vibrant craft fair and plenty of live music.



19-26 September - Swanage & Purbeck Walking Festival

Explore this glorious area of Dorset with guided walks for all.




19-27 September - Lyme Regis Arts Festival

A celebration of Lyme’s vibrant arts scene includes open studios and an art trail through town.




20 September - Eggardon Kite Festival

The magnificent Iron Age hill fort of Eggardon Hill provides the venue for this annual kite festival.

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