28 music festivals taking place in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex in 2017
This summer East Anglia offers a plethora of music events covering a wide range of genres. Whether you like to boogie to Bananarama, clap along to Mumford and Sons, be swept away by classical tones, or prefer the blues vibe of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, there is more than enough variety to suit the discerning music-lovers in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. Here’s our pick of the best...
July 13–16 | Henham Park, near Southwold
Latitude knows how to throw a summer party – complete with the best music and a dazzling array of visual arts. The family-friendly festival – now in its 12th year – takes place near Southwold. Confirmed artists for this year include Goldrapp, Mumford and Sons, The Divine Comedy, Fatboy Slim and John Cale, with Dara O’Briain, Katherine Ryan and Simon Amstell among those booked for the popular comedy tent. Other attractions include cabaret, literary and poetry stage, theatre, Pandora’s Playground, The Faraway Forest and much more. Whether you visit for the day or choose to stay in a podpad, boutique yurt or you bring your own camping gear, a great weekend is pretty much guaranteed.
Tickets: Various eg. Adult Day Ticket, £77.50, Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £197.50
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September 22-24 | Deepdale Farm, Burnham Deepdale
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Deepdale Backpackers & Camping will host a small but perfectly formed music festival across two stages in the last weekend of September. There will be the regular stage in the Brick Barn and an Acoustic Tent with music on Friday evening, Saturday all day and Sunday afternoon. More information will be released soon.
Tickets: Adults, £10 plus accommodation
July 7-8 | Stradbroke Community Playing Field, Stradbroke
Set against the quiet rolling countryside of rural Suffolk, Stradisphere promotes itself as a “premium music festival, designed for all genres and for all generations”. Expect to find more than 20 acts spanning the event, from East Anglian musicians to tribute acts from further afield. This year will see the addition of a third stage called “The Island Stage” which will offer alternative music such as reggae, ska, dubstep and others.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Day Ticket, £25. Adult Weekend Ticket, £30
August 18-20 | Glemham Hall Grounds
A fine combination of folk music, food and crafts, all “suffused with good vibrations” has won FolkEast its place among the UK’s top folk festivals. Now in its sixth year, the festival features music on six stages, food and drink, art, dance, donkey rides, children’s activities, yoga, poetry, storytelling, folk film screenings, and tours of Glemham Hall by owner Major Philip Cobbold. Patrons The Young’uns make their return – with Michael Chapman also set to appear, alongside duos Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick, Will Pound and Eddy Jay, the Damien O’Kane Band, and Ulster quintet Beoga, who collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his third album. Jon Boden’s former Bellowhead colleague John Spiers returns to perform and take a place on the Gardeners Cornered discussion panel – and Suffolk performers include The Broadside Boys, John Ward Band and Shorelark.
Tickets: Adults, £115. Youth, £70. Under-11s free.
June 1-3 | Euston Hall
Passionate about rhythm and blues, Red Rooster’s line-up and atmosphere is dedicated to celebrating the finest R&B, Americana, blues, soul, roots and country music. The line-up this year boasts such esteemed acts as Nick Lowe, Nick Waterhouse and Barrence Whitfield & The Savages. Take your own tent or hire one of the yurts or tipis on site. Expect to find American-style comfort food on the menu – think smokey barbecue and gourmet mac and cheese – all served with that ‘gen-u-ine’ Deep-South hospitality
Tickets: Adult Day Ticket, £35. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £55. Kids free.
Norfolk and Norwich Festival
May 12-28 | Various venues across Norwich
Described on the website as “The flagship arts festival for the East of England” – last year saw 57,000 visitors to the 17-day spectacular. Each May the event offers an internationally-acclaimed programme of music, theatre, literature, visual arts, circus, dance and outdoor arts and this year’s line-up has now been announced. From a giant moon casting its glow upon lunar-inspired performances to a double decker bus taking people on a theatrical journey around the city, there are lots of colourful and quirky events to entertain audiences. Returning this year is the Adnams Spiegeltent, a 10-hour choral sleepover with The Voice Project at the Assembly House in Norwich, and the Britten Sinfonia is curating the classical music programme which among other things includes six concerts at St Andrew’s Hall, ranging from cellist Steven Isserlis performing Bach and Kurtag to Britten Sinfonia playing Beethoven. The festival will also feature a virtual reality playground from Thrill Laboratory in which audience members can encounter a range of experiences, such as riding on the back of a mechanical jellyfish.
Tickets: Various, see website for details. Some events free.
August 25-28 | The Madra, Knapton
A unique family festival hidden in the North Norfolk countryside, a mile from the sea. The 20 acre site will be home to live music all day on the main stage and on the acoustic stage. Other activities include a performing arts stage, children’s field, Trunchonbury Arms Beer Tent, stalls and food market, fun fair, street entertainers and Healing Fields marquee. Headlining on Friday will be Dub Pistols and The Correspondents, then Saturday will feature Dodgy, Sam and the Womp, and Banco de Gaia, with Jeremiah Ferrari on Sunday.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Weekend Ticket £70. Adult Camping Ticket, £95. Discounts available before May 31 here.
Dereham Blues Festival
July 6-9 | Various venues, Dereham
Now in its fifth year the four-day music festival attracts an estimated 2,000 fans to Dereham to see and hear more than 40 blues acts playing in town centre bars, clubs and other venues. With top blues bands from all over the UK, festival-goers can enjoy free access to a truly wide range of styles delivered by talented musicians. The opening event at the Dereham Memorial Hall will feature Andy Fairweather Low and his band The Low Riders. A top-notch performer and guitarist, Andy has recorded with and performed on stage with the very best – including Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Jimi Hendrix, Bonnie Raitt, The Who and many other rock and blues stars – and had a string of top ten hits including ‘Wide Eyed and Legless’. Also on offer will be a whole mess o’ blues from Mississippi swamp through to R&B, from the Chicago blues of Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters to Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan right up to the funky, verging on jazz.
Entry is free to all the venues, who sponsor and host the bands and performers.
Bury St Edmunds Festival
May 19-28 | Numerous venues across Bury St Edmunds
Music, theatre, film and exhibitions are all set to top the bill at the 10-day Bury Festival. Known for its quality performances, from classical, jazz and folk music to award-winning comedians, Bury Festival is a grown-up alternative to the weekend camping music festival. The various acts performing include Rick Wakeman, Dixie Strollers, Harvey and the New Wallbangers and West Suffolk Jazz.
Tickets: Various, see website for details. Some events free.
Drum Camp Festival
July 6-9 | Hulver Farm, St Michael South Elmham
Drum Camp is a world music festival that draws talented musicians from across the globe – Brazil, Senegal, Columbia, Zimbabwe and more – right to our doorstep. Now in its 22nd year, the education-based festival quite literally bangs the drum for music from around the world, celebrating our most ancient rhythmic traditions. Superb live concert performances across four nights, daily global traders’ market, fine food and drink and therapy zone, along with children’s workshops and activities, all go into making this event a most friendly and relaxed space to be truly inspired within an eclectic mix of people, music, and dance traditions from around the world.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Day Ticket, £50. Adult Full Event Ticket, £190
Folk in a Field Festival
June 30–July 2 | West Acre
Taking place in the heart of Norfolk, this festival brings together a diverse mix of performers from the acoustic, folk and roots music scene. The rural setting of the festival, surrounded by woodland, contributes to a real “get away from it all” vibe in which to enjoy some great music, take in interesting craft demonstrations or sample local food. Acts will include Neopunk, The Larks, Flaming June, Creeds Cross, The Vagabond, Long Shore Drift, Chad Mason, The Malingerers, Tarn and Wolfswood. A playground with sandpit and tyre swings will keep children entertained.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Saturday Ticket, £30. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £50
WoW Music Festival
July 7-9 | Woolsey Bridge Fields near Diss
A family-friendly festival with music including acoustic, roots, ska, bluegrass and everything in between, mixed up with a bit of swing. WOW is affordable, relaxed, intimate, bijou, family-friendly and adamantly sponsor-free. It draws headliners from across the world but otherwise focuses on talent from this region. This year’s line-up includes High Points, Suburban Minds, Simon Wilkins, Dee Ajayi, Low Lily, Charlotte Sometimes, Horro Quintet and DoDo Streetband.
Tickets: Various eg. Adult Day Ticket, £42. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £75
June 9-25 | 5Snape Maltings, Snape
A ‘celebration with birds, circus and pianos at its heart’, Aldeburgh Festival is more than the usual weekend offering, spanning a fortnight with its revered concerts. The wholly cultured line-up is packed with orchestras, choirs and soloists that promise to deliver an aural extravaganza of classical and contemporary music, plus a range of talks and exhibitions infused with a Suffolk flavour.
Tickets: Various. See website for details.
July 1-15 | Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn
Created in 1985, Festival Too is held in King’s Lynn each year and features fireworks, street entertainment, shopping and live performances. Previous acts that have joined the festival have included Scouting For Girls, The Hoosiers, Blue, Atomic Kitten and The Stranglers. This year’s line-up will include K T Tunstall and Busted.
May 27-28 | Melford Hall, Long Melford
This boutique non-profit festival is held in memory of local musician Lee Dunford, with all proceeds donated to the Willow Foundation. In addition to the mix of pop and rock acts, including this year’s headliners Toploader and Wheatus, there is a family area and an on-site beer festival, plus the all important campsite where campervans are also welcome.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Weekend Ticket, £35
ThorpeFest Summer Music Festival by the Sea
July 8 | Thorpeness Country Club
Formerly known as Music by the Sea in Aldeburgh, this festival became so popular that is now held at the Thorpeness Country Club nearby. The charity event, on the Suffolk coast, features local and national bands and artists performing live from noon until 10pm (gates open from 11am). There will also be children’s entertainment, food market, bars and a firework finale. The line-up has yet to be announced.
Tickets: Adults, £12. Children (5-12 years), £6
September 1-3 | Norfolk Showground, Norwich
Renowned for delivering a range of the biggest names in pop, urban and dance music, this music extravaganza attracted some 40,000 people last year. For 2017 the festival is set to be “bigger and better than ever” according to organisers, with the addition of two new stages, bringing the total to five. This year’s line-up will see Craig David and Pendulum headline and features artists such as Rag‘n’Bone Man, Giggs, Wiley and X Factor winner Louisa Johnson. Other acts confirmed for the upcoming event include Raye, Kurupt FM, AJ Tracey, Tom Greenan, John Newman, Stefflon Don, Younger, Zak Abel, Hannah Wants, Disciples, Noisia, TQD, Camo & Krooked, Metrik, Jaguar Skills, Low Steppa, Artwork, Solardo and Skream.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Day Ticket, £38.50. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £99
Houghton Festival of Music and Art
August 11-13 | Houghton Hall
A brand new three-day festival of art and music at the Norfolk country estate where spontaneous back-to-back sets will be encouraged and longer DJ sets will be the norm. Bespoke world-class sound systems will be paired to stages, with music and extended exclusive performances from acts including Ricardo Villalobos, Nicolas Jaar, Cobblestone Jazz, Seth Troxler and Mixmaster Morris. The festival is centred around a beautiful lake, set among thick deciduous woodland and plays home to a number of unique venues including an abandoned warehouse, subterranean bowl and a world renowned art and sculpture park.
Tickets: Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £150
Reepham Summer Music Festival
August 12-13 | various venues, Reepham
An intimate, laid-back musical experience in the beautiful Norfolk countryside. This community festival stages a mix of established names, top tribute bands and up-and-coming young performers. The diverse music programme on two stages ranges wildly and wonderfully from acoustic to alternative, blues, classical, Celtic, folk, jazz, pop and rock. This year is the event’s 10th anniversary and 2-Tone legends The Beat will be a headline act with support from Thin Lizzy tribute band Limehouse Lizzy, festival favourites Walkway, Jeremiah Ferrari, and a host of other fabulous acts and musicians will also perform. Food and drink will be on offer across both days, and even some entertainment for the kids, so family-friendly satisfaction is guaranteed.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Weekend Ticket, £30
Wymondham Music Festival
July 1-16 | Various locations throughout the town
The Festival returns for its 22nd year with a packed programme of open air events, recitals and concerts in this historic Norfolk market town. There will be live music in the Market Place on Saturday July 1 (11am-1pm), then Featherfest takes over, rocking The Feathers pub until 11pm. The Festival’s largest event, the Jazz Picnic is at Becketswell on Monday July 3 (6.30pm-9pm) with Simon Nelson’s DixieMix, and the popular Teddy Bears’ Picnic for the under-5s will be at King’s Head Meadow on Sunday July 9 (11am-1pm). More events follow including Vagaband’s brand of indie roots rock at The Regal along with a blues night with Robin Bibi and The Shunters. Arcelia bring their beautiful, soulful folk to Central Hall and Wymondham Abbey has a busy programme of concerts and recitals. Other highlights include the annual Music Lecture & Recital at Wymondham Baptist Church, Massimo Radaelli Brown’s harpsichord recital and an open-air ceilidh in the Market Place. The family concert with The He Hews rounds off Festival Fornight at the Baptist Church on Sunday July 16 (3pm).
Tickets: Various. See website for details.
Southburgh Festival of World Music
July 28-30 | Burton Manor Barns, Southburgh
Aiming to bring a slice of the world to the heart of Norfolk, this is an event where people of all ages and nationalities can come and share experiences through music, story telling, food and crafts. Over the weekend Burton Manor Barns will be filled with colours, sounds, laughter and music from many different parts of the world. 2017 promises to be one of the best yet with more craft stalls, lots of workshops, camping, hot shower, food stalls and two stages. A unique event set in 30 acres of the Norfolk countryside with plenty of space to camp and for children to run around, explore and make friends while parents chill out or take part in the activities available.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Day Ticket, £18. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £38
August 19-20 | Hylands Park, Chelmsford
V Festival has become one of the country’s biggest pop events. The event is held at two parks simultaneously (the other being Weston Park in Staffordshire) and they share the same bill; artists perform at one location on Saturday and then swap on Sunday. The Essex event is set in the grounds of Hylands Park, an undulating tree-lined space with the main stage placed perfectly at the foot of a gentle incline, creating something of a natural amphitheatre effect and enabling those at the back, to the top of the hill, a decent view of the proceedings. This year, Jay Z, Pink, Rudimental and Ellie Goulding will be among the acts. Pete Tong, Craig David, Jess Glyne, George Ezra, Jason Derulo, Madness, Sean Paul, James Arthur, Clean Bandit, Dizzee Rascal, Sigma, Gordon City and Stormzy have also been confirmed.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Day Ticket, £89. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £189
June 30-July 2 | Easton Farm Park, Easton, Suffolk
Lovers of Americana will have heard of this feel-good festival at Suffolk’s Easton Farm Park, near Framlingham. Over forty different artists, ranging from roots music and dance to comedy, perform across five stages indoors and out. The line-up this year – from both sides of the Atlantic – includes ‘Norfolk’s Finest Murder Balladeers’ The Henry Brothers, vocalist, instrumentalist and tap dancer Stompin’ Dave Allen, British urban bluegrass rockers Police Dog Hogan, American acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter Brooks Williams, Texan troubadour and 2008 festival closer Sam Baker, East Nashville pairing The Danberrys, New England string and vocal trio Low Lily, and Canadian roots rockers Terra Lightfoot. One for the whole family, the festival is even dog-friendly.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Weekend Ticket, £95
Bures Music Festival
July 6-10 | Community Centre grounds, Nayland Road, Bures
Now in its 21st year, Bures Music Festival has grown to become one of the most diverse and exciting events of the region. This festival, based in Suffolk, supports a multitude of musical genres from jazz to blues, rock to pop, plus a popular choral night. While it evolves every year, the event prides itself on its community values – reflected in its low ticket prices and its ongoing pledge of support to local charities. This year will feature The ELO Encounter, The Committed, Who’s Next – Europe’s premier live tribute to The Who – and Rhapsody, one of the most successful Queen tribute acts.
Tickets: Adults, £40. Teens, £15. Children, £5
VW Whitenoise Festival
August 3-6 | Euston Park
A truly independent motoring, arts and music festival that doesn’t work to a formula and excels with diverse live music, a beautiful venue on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and unrivalled free activities for children. This friendly, family-run event is based around a passion for VWs and a highlight is the final day’s show and shine, which attracts hundreds of competitors eager to show off their rare and much-loved VW vehicles. Music acts confirmed so far are: DJ Cheeba, The Allergies, Beach Boys UK, The Future Dub Project, They Say Jump, Frank Fraize, Bu Bounce, Solko, Hello Bear, The Sweetbeats, The Hot Steppas, Ghosts of Men, Dulcet Tones, James Summerhill, Chrome & Ill Sinspired, The Foolish, Chris Pidgeon, Anton Morra, Tom Malchowski, Sibohan Phealan, Hipology Sounds, The Hot Stove League. DJs include Aaron B, Kerry Nolan, Doctor Tonic, Nine Lives and Lloyd Jones. Don’t worry if you don’t have a VW, visitors don’t have to have one to attend.
Tickets: Various eg. Adult Camping Ticket, £58.89
June 9-11 | Church Farm, Barrow
The ethos of this small, friendly festival near Bury St Edmunds is grounded in showcasing home-grown music from the thriving local music scene. Dance to an eclectic range of sounds from British soul to alternative rock and tribute bands. Expect to find locally sourced food and ales on the menu, plus on-site camping including a family area.
Tickets: Various, eg Adult Saturday Ticket, £20. Adult Weekend Camping Ticket, £50
Let’s Rock Norwich - The Retro Festival
June 24 | Earlham Park, Norwich
Music stars of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are set to rock Norwich this year as a new festival heads to Earlham Park. Tony Hadley, Bananarama, Kim Wilde, Nik Kershaw and Go West are among the acts set to appear at the one-day festival. Other acts include Howard Jones, Belinda Carlisle, Midge Ure, Alexander O’Neal, Chesney Hawkes, Boney M, Jaki Graham and Captain Sensible. Let’s Rock festivals have previously been held in other parts of the country, but this will be the first time one has been held in Norwich. Up to 15,000 music fans will be able to attend the event, with people being encouraged to step back through the decades and dress in 1980s attire. Alongside the packed music programme, there will also be lots of entertainment for children, including circus workshops and a funfair.
Tickets: Adults, £38.50. Children (under 13), £19.80
Kings Kynn Festival
July 16-29 | Various venues, Kings Lynn
Established in 1951 as an annual music and arts festival in West Norfolk, this year’s festival features more than 30 events including home-grown and international performers of classical, jazz and folk music, as well as talks, exhibitions and films. Highlights include a rousing first night performance by the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band and a final concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. There will also be a concert broadcast on BBC Radio 2 - Friday Night is Music Night introduced by Ken Bruce - featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra and violin virtuosi Vladimir and Anton with a programme of popular film music called “Heroes and Villains”.
Tickets: Various, eg Friday Night is Music Night Ticket, £35