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Muddy’s 2022 Festival Guide: Herts, Beds & beyond

Are you ready to make some noise?! From top tributes and dance floor fillers to foodie affairs and comedy capers, these are the festivals you need to know about this summer.

ON OUR DOORSTEP

Totfest, Redbourn, 25 June

Totfest

A veritable kids’ heaven – this is like all your little one’s wildest dreams rolled into one epic day. Expect baby raves, theatre shows, tonnes of art and craft activities, a fairground, race tracks, toy villages, a giant soft play, character meet-and-greets, sports sessions, music making and LOADS more.

Chilfest, Tring, 1-2 July

Chilfest is quite the glossy affair: posh loos, sushi, and good wine to knock back as you boogie to tribute acts and 80s hits. Friday is tribute night: The Bootleg Beatles, Noasis and ABBA Revival, among others. Then Saturday is a funky throwback of 80s and 90s legends: The Proclaimers, Toploader, Peter Hook & The Light (ie., guitarist/vocalist of Joy Division and New Order) and Tony Hadley are just some of the familiar faces ready to light up the stage. Fluff those shoulder pads and get grooving. Tickets from £26.50.

Buzzstock, Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club, 1-2 July

Belt your heart out to the best tribute acts in the biz at this two-day festival featuring Oasish, Kaiser Thiefs, Abba Mania, Ultimate Elton, Kings of Lyon, Re-take That and loads more. Plus there’ll be stalls hawking tasty grub and providing the festival glitter (biodegradable, natch!).

Electric Woodlands, Bygrave Woods, Newnham, 1-2 July

This over 18’s camping weekender brings the best of dance music to Herts with the likes of Annie Mac, Shy FX and Sigala playing across three stages in an awesome woodland location.

Sign of the Times, Little Hadham, 1-2 July

For an under-the-radar festival there are some massive names coming to this two day extravanganza of rock, indie, blues, folk and new wave music. UB40, Echo and the Bunnymen, Shed Seven, Boomtown Rats and Lightning Seeds are top of the lineup. PLUS Craig David is playing an open air gig at the same venue on 3 July! Camping and day tickets are available and under 5s go free!

M Festival, St Albans, 2 July

M Festival is dedicated to showcasing local talent, including that of students from the Marlborough Science Academy. There’s a cracking family friendly acts including Massaoke (kareoke as a crowd, of course!), 80s party band, Six Go Mad and Electric Umbrella which creates awesome music experiences for and with learning disabled people. There’ll also be a funfair, soft play bus, silent disco, wildlife experiences, circus skills, yoga, games and crafts.

Communion Presents At Home Farm Live, Elstree, 4 July – 1 September

Communion Presents is a programme of intimate woodland performances as part of the At Home Live festival season in the Elstree countryside. There’s on-site glamping and there’ll be music from RY X on 4-5 July, Rae Morris on 6 July, Patrick Watson on 12 July, The Staves on 13-14 July and Bear’s Den on 31 Aug and 1 Sept. It’s tipped to be a really magical experience, with fairy lights leading you to the stage, hay bale seating and music by moonlight. Communion started life as monthly live music night at Notting Hill Arts Club and is now a leading indie record label – so these are the acts set for the top. You heard it here first!

Hertford Food and Drink Festival, 9-10 July

This free weekend includes loads of street food stalls, while local cafés, bars and restaurants open their doors to offer special promotions, cookery demos and samples (don’t mind if we do!), and it joins forces with the Hertford Castle Beer & World Food Festival, which takes place in the castle grounds.

Todd in the Hole, Stevenage, 15-17 July

Todd in the hole

The super family friendly fest was set up by two local chaps to celebrate the best of the Herts countryside, live music and good fun in the sun. They’ve got 80 bands and solo artists lined up, including tributes and local ones to watch, plus folk and rock acts. There’ll also be great food on offer, DJ after parties and a kids’ arena with loads of activities. Find out more here, and then enter our comp to try and bag a pair of VIP tickets by 16 June!

Battle Proms, Hatfield House, 16 July

Load the hampers and pop the Champers for this explosive celebration of pomp and ceremony. The grounds of Hatfield House will be filled with a rousing orchestral programme of toe-tapping tunes, accompanied by dramatic Spitfire displays, cavalry and canons and a spectacular fireworks finale. Win tickets here before 16 June.

Folk by the Oak, Hatfield House, 17 July

This easy breezy summer fest is all about chilling with a cold bevvy to the sountrack of some of the finest folk acts in the biz. On the main stage this year will be vor Novello Award-winning and GRAMMY® Award-nominated Richard Thompson and regulars on the folk fest circuit, The Unthanks. And you won’t want to miss Folk by the Oak’s specially commissioned set, Spell Songs – a musical companion piece to the Lost Words and Lost Spells books, performed by a seven-piece folk band, while the books’ illustrator paints live on stage. Enter here to win tickets before 16 June. Don the floral headgear and away you go!

Great British Food Festival, Knebworth House, 17-18 July

This popular food-focused weekend returns to the glorious grounds of Knebworth and there’s something for everyone. Along with the Chef Demos, street food stalls, artisan market, Cake Off and Men v Food comps, Bake and BBQ stages, there’ll also be kids cookery, live music, foraging walks, a craft market and a mini zoo. Plus it’s dog friendly so bring pooch along for the fun.

Standon Calling, Standon, 21-24 July

Boutique music and arts festival, Standon Calling started life as an extravagant birthday garden party, only the party just kept getting bigger and bigger. This year’s line-up includes Anne-Marie, Loyle Carner, Craig David and the Sugababes, with DJing by Annie Mac and Grandmaster Flash. Day ticket for £70, or weekend ones for £189.

Bedford Festival Fringe, 21 – 31 July

Bedford’s answer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the concept behind the Bedford Festival Fringe is to come and see not one but loads of live shows, from performances of new work by household names to brand new faces cutting their teeth on the circuit. There’s everything from music and dance to comedy, theatre, kids’ entertainment and spoken work coming to various venues in and around Bedford.

Bedford River Festival, 23-24 July

Come to the banks of the River Great Ouse for some watery fun including dragon boat and raft racing, boat parades, water sports and open water swimming. Not only that, there’ll be eight live entertainment stages, fab food and drink, craft marquees, a funfair, market stalls and heritage re-enactments. Plus… the best bit… it’s absolutely free!

St Albans Comedy Garden, Verulamium Park, 27-31 July

Who needs a good laugh? This fab funny fest runs over five night and has an immense line-up including Frankie Boyle, Henning Wehn, Sara Pascoe, Rosie Jones, Kerry Godliman and Reginald D Hunter to name a few! It’s all live and open air with street food, summer cocktails and craft beer on offer too. Lovely!

Bedford Park Concerts, 28 – 31 July

Bedford Park Concerts

This annual collection of gigs, Bedford Park Concerts, are always hotly anticipated and feature big names in a stunning venue, giving it that day festival vibe. This year’s line-up kicks off with Simply Red and Lisa Stansfield, followed by Café Mambo Ibiza In the Park and the one and only Paul Weller, plus on 31 July is the grand finale – The Bedford Park Proms (part 2) featuring West End stars, laser shows and fireworks.

The Legends Festival, Herts County Showground, St Albans, 29 – 30 Jul

The UK’s biggest tribute act festival, The Legends Festival has a massive line-up with thirteen of the world’s biggest and best pop and rock tribute bands and artists. There’s Gordon Hendricks as Elvis, UK Queen, plus Pink and Phil Collins tributes on Friday, followed by Ben as Michael Jackson, Rogue Minogue, Kelly O’Brian as Dolly Parton, Dan Budd’s Robbie Williams, Nya King as Whitney and Malcolm Pitt as Lionel Richie on Saturday. It’s super family friendly, if fact you can bring under 16’s for just a tenner a day!

Wild Canvas, 29 July – 30 August

Not your usual festival but Wild Canvas is a pop-up camping experience with a festival vibe that’s coming to the grounds of the grand Turvey House. There’ll be posh tipis, activities for the kids, wild swimming, wellness sessions and world class DJs. Count us in!

Rock at the Castle, Hertford Castle, 7 August

Always a winner for a fun family day out, this annual FREE festival is set against the iconic backdrop of our county city’s castle. Enjoy music from local rock, indie and folk bands, roll out the picnic rug and grab a bite and a bevvy from the stalls. There’ll also be a family stage with bouncy castle, face painting and kids’ activities.

Warm Up Festival, Bygrave Woods, Herts 18-21 August

Hedonists listen up! How about four days of techno, house, progressive and electronic dance music worthy of the best London clubs, brought to you in the middle of a pine forest? Sasha is headlining and will be joined by the industry’s top and upcoming artists, plus look out for the light installations and sculptures around the forest. And to soothe those morning-after heads, make a beeline for the wellness zone where you can try sound journeys, meditation and yoga. Ommm!

Classic Ibiza, Hatfield Park, 20 August

Transport yourself to clubbers’ nirvana for for Classic Ibiza – a homage to heady Ibiza nights. It might not be on a sun-drenched island or involve partying into the small hours (gates close at 10.15pm), but you can bring a picnic and enjoy the lovely setting of Hatfield park. Former Pacha Ibiza DJ, Jose Luis, opens the evening with a chillout set. Then Urban Soul Orchestra and Goldierocks will up the tempo with a Sundowner Set, and for the finale, expect an al fresco nightclub vibe with a laser show accompanying the dance set. Glowsticks at the ready.

Breakin Science, Colesdale Farm, Potters Bar, 20 August

Join 5000 ravers to celebrate 20 years of this day fest which pays homage to the great raves and drum and bass music venues. With a lineup of the best DJs and MCs in the biz playing in three arenas, you can expect a top quality production. Plus there’ll be a funfair to boot.

Goatfest, Codicote, 26-28 August

Goatfest has grown from a small, free one-dayer in a pub beer garden to a three-day extravaganza with over 70 acts performing (Tony Christie, Sandie Thom are headlining this year) on four stages plus there’s a live DJ arena. It’s also a great chance to discover some new music from up-and-coming performers on the festival circuit, as well as some homegrown acts.

Maiden Voyage Festival, Lee Valley Showground

A Bank Holiday bonanza of Jazz, House, Hip Hop and Techno music played over four stages, Maiden Voyage has been described as created ‘by music lovers, for music lovers’ and comes to Lee Valley for the first time. VIP tickets (with posh loos and a private bar) are available too.

Twinwood Festival, Clapham, Bedfordshire, 26-29 August

Twinwood

Don the floral headscarfs, up-dos and swing skirts, and slather on the red lippy for this celebration of vintage music, dance and fashion. There’ll be a fab line-up of bands and artists to get you bopping, dance classes where you can perfect your lindy hop, and fashion stalls to up your vintage game.

Benington Lordship Chilli Festival, Stevenage, 27-29 August

chillis

Like things hot and spicy (naughty!)? Then you’ll love this three-day fest dedicated to the humble chilli. There’ll be over 60 stalls selling everything from chilli plants to fiery chutney and chocolate, international street food, local beers and cocktails with a kick, musical entertainment AND the famous chilli eating comp – but can you handle the heat?!

Bedford Running Festival, Russell Park, Bedford, 2-4 Sept

A little less lazing about in a field, and a little more action! This one’s calling on sporty types to sign up to 5k, 10k and half marathon races. Or you couuullld just sit back and soak up the atmosphere in the festival village, where there’ll be live music, comedy, a street food market, wellness sessions and open air cinema. Hmm, let me think…

Pub in the Park, St Albans, 9-11 Sept

Catch Tom Kerridge’s popular gourmet-scran-meets-live-music fandango Pub in the Park over at Verulamium Park in St Albans this September. Tuck into top-level food and boogie along to the likes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Mel C, Gok Wan, Kaiser Chiefs, and more. The Hairy Bikers will also be there, affably slinging good food with all that Geordie charm. Adult tickets from £40.

Dogfest, Knebworth House, 10-11 Sept

Dogfest

Dogfest is back for a barking good time. There’s a big dog walk, a puppy academy, doggy wellness, and the chance to prove — once and for all — who’s the best boy, in one of the dog shows. Tickets from £20, or £35 for the weekend.

JUST OVER THE BORDER

Henley Royal Regatta, 28 June – 3 July

It’s a festival of sorts, and the best-known regatta in the world. Henley Regatta is back for five days of summer sporting frenzy and frightfully refined eating and drinking. Get yourself a straw boater, dig out the heels, and watch those boats go. Tickets from £30, or (insider tip!), if you hire out a boat, as long as you keep moving, you can watch the races from a prime spot on the river itself.

Henley Festival, 6-10 July

Don’t forget your black tie and Champagne for this genteel shebang. Henley Festival is back for five days of fabulous fun, promising knockout performances from Tom Jones, Craig David, and The Script. Tickets from £65.

Cornbury Festival, Great Tew Park, 8-10 July

This iconic Cotswolds music festival has spent the last 18 years perfecting a uniquely mellow, friendly and happy family vibe. Think amazing music and atmosphere, plus a kids zone with circus workshops, puppet shows, dance parties, samba drumming, storytelling, crafts, and more. But, OMG, this year is the last ever! Quit sobbing and go make it count: you can catch Bryan Adams, The Waterboys, The Darkness, Mica Paris, Ronan Keating, James Blunt, Jools Holland and friends — oh, and er, us! The Muddy team will be be there en masse as Cornbury’s media partner, so come and see us for a glass of champers at our tent.

Pennfest, Penn, 22-23 July

For a serene Bucks village, Penn really does manage to pull in an impressive line-up of rabel-rousers. Hello, Clean Bandit, Jake Bugg, and Rudimental! Other acts will include Grandmaster Flash, The Selector, and Arrested Development. Pitch up your tent in the scenic field next-door and get ready to party. Weekend tickets from £104.63, day from £54.

Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park, 4-7 Aug

The most revered of the Oxfordshire festivals, Wilderness returns this summer for a four-day boutique experience. There will be music (headliners: Years & Years, Jungle, Underworld), long-table banquets, woodland parties, theatre, film, dance, and a pop up spa (well, we are in Oxfordshire). It’s generally a heady mix of right-on hippiness (yoga, skinny-dipping, hot hubs) and top-tier music. General camping adult tickets from £230.

HAVE WELLIES, WILL TRAVEL

Isle of Wight Festival, 16-19 June. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Kasabian, Pete Tong, Muse, Craig David, Shaggy)

BST Hyde Park, London, 24 June – 10 July. (Line-up: Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Adele, Eagles, Pearl Jam, Duran Duran)

Wireless Festival, London Finsbury Park, 8-10 July. (Line-up: Cardi B, SZA, Nicki Minaj)

Latitude Festival, Suffolk, 21-24 July. (Line-up: Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Snow Patrol, Phoebe Bridgers)

Kaleidoscope Festival, London Alexandra Palace, 23 July. (Line-up: Orbital, Happy Mondays, Charlotte Church)

Camp Bestival, Dorset, 28-31 July. (Line-up: Rag’n’Bone Man, Rudimental, Kool & The Gang)

Edinburgh Summer Sessions, 8-14 Aug. (Line-up: Tom Jones, Simple Minds, Simply Red, Michael Kiwanuka)

Boardmasters, Cornwall, 10-14 Aug. (Line-up: George Ezra, Disclosure, Kings of Leon)

Camp Bestival, Shropshire, 18-21 August. (Line-up: Fatboy Slim, Rag’n’Bone Man, Becky Hill, Sara Cox)

All Points East, London Victoria Park, 19-28 Aug. (Line-up: Charlie XCX, Gorillaz, Nick Cave, Kraftwerk)

Need more summer entertainment ideas? Try our round up of the best outdoor theatre in Herts and Beds.

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