The Best of Kent Festivals 2019

We are starting to get that festive feeling, but Saint Nick isn’t anywhere in sight! From fitness to food and live music to extreme sports, it’s time to plan your summer and get your tickets now!

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

Black Deer Festival

A multiple-award-winning event, and very much the new festival on the block, Black Deer is the celebration of Americana and country music that Kent needs.

You can expect an array of authentic Americana-style meats, smoky whiskeys, bespoke custom motorcycle showcases, chef masterclasses and artists from across the Americana, blues, roots, authentic country, folk and bluegrass genres.

The music line-up is headed by the likes of Nashville-based duo The Shires, who have two gold-certified record-breaking albums and have even worked with Ed Sheeran.

The Magic Numbers join Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Spender, Kent locals The Breretons and Grammy-nominated Seattle group Band of Horses.

Australian roots rockers John Butler Trio, The Staves and legendary country music icon Kris Kristofferson will all take to the stage.

Dance The Night Away stars The Mavericks, while the iconic punk-charged storyteller Billy Bragg will undoubtedly provide unforgettable performances.

In the Live Fire Arena, Jon Finch and Ben Merrington – founders of Grillstock, the largest BBQ festival outside the US – are back, pioneering the Americana barbecue scene with Live Fire Chefs including US BBQ pitmaster and TV personality Ray ‘Dr BBQ’ Lampe, Temper owner Neil Rankin, Countrywoodsmoke’s Marcus Bawdon and SMOKESTAK founder David Carter.

When: 21-23 June

Where: Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells


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Brogdale Cider Festival

Brogdale rolls up the barn doors to local producers of artisan cider, with barrels only available in selected outlets ready to be racked for visitors to sample.

Taste the finest ciders from small producers based in and around Kent including Kentish Pip, Turners, Kent Cider Company, Biddenden’s vineyard and Dudda’s Tun. The Cider Barn will offer more than 50 types to enjoy.

Entertainment will include three stages of live music from bands such as Rudy Warman and the Heavy Weather, Hullabaloo, The Old Country Crows and Jumbo Gumbo, while there will also be activities for little festival-goers, eating competitions, craft and cooking exhibitions and, of course, cider-making demonstrations.

When: 24-25 August

Where: Brogdale, Faversham


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Rochester Castle Concerts

Watch three BRIT Awards nominees perform live, all on one night, at the Rochester Castle Concerts in Medway.

You’ll dance the night away in the unique surroundings of Rochester Castle to the sounds of Rudimental and special guests Example and Mahalia on Wednesday 10 July.

With two No 1 albums and three No 1 singles under their belts, Rudimental have sold more than 20 million singles and two million albums. The genre-defying group from East London will be performing a Sound System set in the historic castle grounds, featuring live vocals and brass.

Joining Rudimental is Example, whose career spans more than a decade and needs little introduction, with three Top 10 albums and 10 singles that have made the Top 10. Meanwhile, Mahalia is one of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming female artists, last year becoming the only musician to be tipped for the BRITS Critics’ Choice Award and to make the BBC Sound Poll shortlists in the same year.

There are other nights, too! Legendary singer Heather Small will join George McCrae and disco group Odyssey to form the Soul Party night on Friday 12 July. Relive your favourite floor-filling hits and experience the vibes of Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie and Barry White, to name just a few.

The Castle Concerts draw to a close on Saturday 13 July with the iconic Proms finale, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with special guests Collabro and Laura Wright.

When: 10-13 July

Where: Rochester Castle, Medway

Info: / box office: 01634 338338

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One Love Festival   

One Love Festival heads back to The Hop Farm at Paddock Wood with a promise of peace, love and great music.

The three-day festival includes a Rasta Village in association with the Rasatafari Andahnet Center (St Ann, Jamaica) and the Ethiopian World Federation.

Experience traditional Nyabinghi drumming and witness food preparation through the Ital village kitchen, showing the vegetables, herbs and spices used in Rastafarian cooking.

In terms of live music, performers include Linval Thompson, Trinity, DubFX, Benjamin Zephaniah, Carl Malcom, Keith Poppin, Macka B, Dawn Penn, Roots Daughters inna Dub Session ft Sister Aisha and many more.

The DJ Mag Bunker presents Fabio and GrooveRider + Mantra & Double O, Saxon Sound, Liondub, Digitaldubs, Iration Steppers ft Macky Banton, Twilight Circus, E3 ft Tracey Zam Zam, Vibronics and more.

When: 30 August-1 September

Where: The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood


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Mac Demarco Takeover

Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mac DeMarco is co-curating a Dreamland takeover event including the Scenic Stage, Hall By The Sea, Roller Room and rides.

DeMarco will be joined on the bill by Kiwi singer-songwriter Aldous Harding, spellbinding alt-popster Yellow Days, London lo-fi artist Tirzah and Thurston Moore.

Fast-rising punk-rockers and Rough Trade new signing Amyl and The Sniffers join the bill alongside Australian musician Kirin J Callinan, indie-pop trio Girl Ray and South Londoners Blueprint Blue.

Tickets are £41 plus booking fee in advance and include entry and access to rides.

When: Saturday 29 June

Where: Dreamland, Margate


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Canterbury Pride

Pride Canterbury returns on Saturday 15 June for its fourth year and has seen phenomenal growth since it started in 2016.

Now the biggest one-day event in Canterbury, with more than 20,000 people expected, it is also the biggest Pride event in the South East outside Brighton.

Performing this year are all the usual crowd favourites, alongside chart-toppers Big Brovaz and Booty Luv and Girls Aloud superstar Nadine Coyle. Expect the Dane John Gardens to be filled with colour and a carnival atmosphere.

When: Saturday 15 June

Where: Canterbury city centre


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Faversham Hop Festival

Tankards up! Faversham Hop Festival is the region’s biggest free street festival and attracts people from far and wide, many taking advantage of the festival’s campsite at the nearby Abbey School.

More than 60 local acts will provide seven hours of live music across five stages in a carnival atmosphere.

Steeped in hop harvest tradition, there’s plenty of other entertainment including Morris dancers and street processions, while there will be many stalls selling the best local food, drink, arts and crafts, along with the town centre’s small, independent shops, bars and cafés. Once the town centre quietens down, head to one of the local pubs – many of which host live music long into the night – to continue the party!

When: 31 August-1 September

Where: Faversham town centre


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Ramblin’ Man Fair

Described by Planet Rock Magazine as transforming Mote Park “into its own raunchy turn off Route 66”, Ramblin’ Man Fair is a must-attend for fans of the rock genre. Having bagged monster acts across the past couple of years, the festival has continued on its journey of bagging a number of UK exclusive performances.

Headliners include rock legends Foreigner, Black Stone Cherry, Airbourne, glam rockers The Darkness, Ugly Kid Joe, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Beth Hart, Monster Magnet, Cheap Trick, Inglorious, Wayward Sons, Jimmy Barnes, Raveneye, The Wildhearts, FM, Sweet Crisis, Living Colour, Everlast, Orange Goblin, Crobot, Obsessed and Chris Robinson Brotherhood as well as more prog acts including Swedish act Pain of Salvation and Polish prog giants Riverside and many more.

When: 19-21 July

Where: Mote Park, Maidstone


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Wheels and Fins Festival

Kent’s leading music and action sports festival, Wheels and Fins has announced that global dance powerhouse Ministry of Sound will take over The Bunker dance tent on Sunday 8 September.

The mega club brand brings a giant line-up of house, bass and garage stars, including Noisia, Redlight, DJ Zinc, Barely Legal, Emerald, Harriet Jaxxon, Just Geo, Chris Thomas and a full live set from Killer Hertz.

Situated at stunning Joss Bay near Broadstairs, Wheels and Fins is a boutique beachside festival that mixes up quality music alongside the best bits of skate and surf culture.  

On the Saturday, pioneering drum’n’ bass label Hospital Records, who’ll bring stars such as S.P.Y, Kings of The Rollers, Logistics, Nu:Tone, Etherwood, Whiney, Uncle Dugs, Inja, Dynamite MC and Degs to The Bunker. The live line-up for the ocean-facing main stage is yet to be announced.

The best pro-skateboarders on the scene will battle in the UK Mini Ramp Champs, while a number of pro-skaters will showcase their nerves of steel as they take to the 12.5ft vert ramp. Elsewhere, the programme is packed with activities including-axe throwing, beach yoga, sand-sculpting, SUP racing and surf competitions.

Kent punk-rock duo Slaves will headline and curate the lineup for ‘The Lighthouse’ Main Stage on Saturday 7th September 2019.

As heady as the music that Slaves makes themselves, Laurie Vincent and Issac Holman have handpicked a bill of breaking talent fit to blow the speakers into the North Sea including, Willie J Healey, Lady Bird, Queen Zee, Para Fiction, Hockeysmith, FEET, MarthaGunn, and Ditz.

Adult day tickets start from £40, weekend tickets from £75, while children’s tickets are also available starting from £6 for the day or £12 for the weekend.   

When: 7-8 September

Where: Joss Bay, Broadstairs


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LoveFit 2019

This unique event brings together like-minded people for a fully immersive weekend of fitness, adventure and well-being.

LoveFitters can expect to spend the weekend working out and taking part in competitive games before an after-party in the hot tubs or listening to some of the UK’s hottest DJs.

This year’s festival highlights will include a range of fitness activities hosted by London’s best studios; live talks and activities on the lake such as SUP.

Tickets include three days and two nights’ entrance to the festival and camping, four studio classes per day or 12 classes across the weekend, unlimited Main Stage workouts and one hot tub session.

The line-up includes Gym Box, Fierce Grace, Frame, Broga, Farm Fitness, Island Feather and many more, while Main Stage workouts are taken by some of the UK’s most influential trainers. Weekend tickets are priced from £114 plus booking fee.

When: 19-21 July

Where: The Heritage Pinetum at the St Clere Estate, Sevenoaks


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Great Kent Cycle Ride

The Goatham’s Great Kent Cycle Ride returns for 2019, with a new route covering more than 200 miles of the county’s roads raising money for Kent Sports Trust and Help for Heroes.

The riders will set off from the headquarters of AC Goatham & Son at Flanders Farm, Hoo, on the morning of Friday 5 July and they begin their journey travelling east along the coast via Margate before reaching Dover. Day two sees the riders cycle across the beautiful Weald of Kent to Tunbridge Wells. On the final day, they cycle from Tunbridge Wells to Rochester, arriving by 5pm.

The three-day ride is open to people aged 14 and older and is fully supported with a team on hand to help keep both the rider and their bike moving. It costs £75 per person to register and there is a minimum fundraising target.

When: 5-7 July

Where: Flanders Farm, Hoo


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Margate Soul Festival

Margate Soul Festival is set to be another bumper instalment of top live acts and DJs spread across nine indoor venues and four outdoor stages and culminating in the big carnival finale at Margate Winter Gardens.

Appearing outside on the Red Stripe Sunset Stage and indoors at the Winter Gardens Main Hall on Saturday 3 August will be UK jazz funk giants Incognito and Light of The World with special guests Michelle John, Lukas Setto and Mad Yella.

The carnival finale features the latest modern soul sounds of Cool Million, with festival founder Eli Thompson on vocals and a special guest appearance by 80s artist James ‘D Train’ WIlliams, whose hit You’re The One For Me spawned a US Billboard dance chart No 1. Janet Kay, Omar and Steve Nicol of Loose Ends will all perform. A weekend ticket costs £69.

When: 2-4 August

Where: Margate


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Camp Wildfire

Need more adventures in your life? Want to party in a secret forest? Vice magazine said: “This is Utopia” and, with Team ‘cene having attended last year, we can vouch that this ain’t no Teddy Bears picnic.

The UK’s first Summer Camp exclusively for adults! It includes activities such quad-biking, zorbing, flying trapeze, rafting, tree-climbing, archery, dodgeball and swing-dancing.

Experience joy through learning, relax in a woodland spa, feast on incredible foods, dance wildly through the night, share stories around campfires and enjoy Craig Charles, DJ Yoda, Little Gay Brother, Dr Meaker, Keston Cobblers Club and more.

When: 3 August-2 September

Where: Heritage Pine Forest, Sevenoaks


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A spectacular immersive kingdom of music, party and wonder, Neverworld (formerly LeeFest) returns to The Neverwoods - home of the mischievous Lost Boys & Girls - one giant adventure playground.

Explore three magical realms and join a Neverworld tribe to be part of the unfolding story.

Beautiful woodland clearings feature the best organic crafts, food and drinks and the hottest new music and spoken word; Mermaids Lagoon, home to the outrageous sequin-covered mermaids, is a searingly hot miami beach town with a real beach, cocktail bars and 24-hour disco parties; while Skull Ridge, home to the anarchistic steam-punk pirates, is a boomtown of casinos, burlesque clubs and all night parties.

Already confirmed are Craig David, The Vaccines, Tom Grennan, Professor Green and Mystery Jets, with hundreds more performing live!

Taking over the late night parties are Shy FX, Grandmaster Flash, David Rodigan, MistaJam, Craig Charles, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Stanton Warriors and more.

When: 1-4 August

Where: Hever