Festivals in Hertfordshire 2019: music, food and film
PUBLISHED: 10:14 21 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:55 22 July 2020
We have gathered some of the best festivals taking place this year in Hertfordshire. Add these to your diaries
• Hertfordshire County Show (25-26 May)
Dunstable Road, Redbourn
It’s the biggest two-day event in the county with entertainment for the whole family. At Hertfordshire County Show you can eat, drink and enjoy the flavour of Herts in the local food courts and take home artisanal food and craft products from the Made in Herts marquee. Entertainment includes motorcycle displays, stunt teams, horse displays and a whole variety of live music.
• Hertford Arts Festival (5 Apr – 5 May)
The annual Hertford Arts Festival showcases and promotes the town’s arts, coinciding with the Hertford Arts Society Exhibition, Hertford Theatre week and Courtyard Arts Society Exhibition. During the month-long festival the streets of Hertford transform into a buzzing hub of artistic talent and expression. Visitors can pop into venues to follow the Art Trail or go along to the Street Art Festival and Craft Market to soak up the atmosphere.
• Rickmansworth Festival (18–19 May)
Taking place on the third weekend of May, Rickmansworth Festival celebrates the Grand Union Canal, community and the environment. Over 100 canal boats provide a wonderful spectacle along the towpath, alongside food, performing arts, music and more.
• Hertfordshire Festival of Music (13-23 Jun)
Gathering world-class musicians to present exceptional concerts, events and projects in midsummer is what the ambitious Hertfordshire Festival of Music, now in its third year, is about. Relax on a summer evening in June and enjoy performances of exceptional quality and imagination. There are 22 in nine venues in five Herts towns to choose from.
• Chilfest (6 Jul)
Cow Lane, Tring
What’s that coming over the hill? Is it the Chilfest, oh yes, it’s the Chilfest. Back by popular demand the Chiltern Hills will be filled with sounds of the likes of Bananarama, Jocelyn Brown and Hot Chocolate. On July 6 go back to the 70s and 80s with an amazing line-up, plus there’s a wide selection of international food.
• Battle Proms (13 Jul)
Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield
It’s a Spitfire-thrilling, cavalry-charging musical extravaganza that can’t fail to get you flag-waving. Put Last Night of the Proms in Hatfield Park and invite thousands of picnickers, pilots, parachutists and gunners and you’ve got Battle Proms.
• Folk by the Oak (14 Jul)
Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield
Folk by the Oak on July 14 promises to be a memorable day of award-winning musicians and emerging folk talent – all performing in the lovely parkland of Hatfield House. With much of the cream of British folk music plus international guests it has become a major player on the summer folk scene – and it’s very family friendly too.
• Todd in the Hole (20-21 Jul)
Bury Wood, Todd’s Green, Stevenage
Set in beautiful countryside between Hitchin and Stevenage, Todd in the Hole is one of the most exciting new festivals in the UK. Enjoy fantastic music across four stages, artisan food, themed bars, classic motorbikes, an Elvis competition, children’s activities and a disco after-party in the woods. Fun, friendly and offering something different, this should definitely be on your to-do list.
• The Great British Food Festival (20–21 Jul)
Knebworth House SG1 2AX
Coming to Knebworth House in the summer (dates yet to be announced), The Great British Food Festival will take place in the 28-acre formal gardens with some of the UK’s finest food offerings, 70 stalls of artisanal produce, expert chef demonstrations and cookery workshops. Bring the family (dogs welcome too) to explore the foodie delights and enjoy the live music - and don’t forget to bring your appetite!
• Standon Calling (25-28 Jul)
Luxury boutique music festival Standon Calling mixes up big name headliners with a real knack for booking the next big things. There’s top comedy, a fun fair and loads of smaller tents with intriguing goings-on. Taking place in deep countryside, it comes complete with pool, hot tubs, and accommodation ranging from tipis to deluxe suites – it’s safe to say this is not your average music festival. Ditch the tent pegs this time and indulge in a touch of festival luxury for all the family
• Meraki Festival (23–25 Aug)
For family-friendly summer holiday fun head to Meraki Festival at Herts County Showground. While the line-up is still a closely guarded secret, we do know the festivities will feature three stages of top live music from rock and pop, to folk and soul. Get your tickets fast, because this all-inclusive event takes the festival experience to the next level, with activities including laser tag, a roller disco, family-friendly fun and a little R&R in the form of a blissful festival spa.
• Benington Chilli Festival (24–26 Aug)
Benington Lordship, nr Stevenage
Things get fiery at Benington Chilli Festival in the lovely grounds of Benington Lordship. From August 24-26 there will be 60 chilli traders offering sensationally spicy food, cocktails and chilli plants plus there’s plenty of entertainment, including the infamous chilli eating competition.
• Cool Britannia (30 Aug – 2 Sep)
Britpop fans will not want to miss out on tickets to this one! Knebworth Park, the background for so many iconic events in British music, will once again host some of the best in British rock, pop and dance at Cool Britannia Festival from August 30-31. Celebrate an epic era of music with top bands from the nineties and noughties.
• St Albans Film Festival (TBC)
Film fanatics should head to St Albans to experience all that’s on offer at the city’s sixth annual Film Festival. With open-air movie screenings, workshops, and an international short film competition, along with plenty of food and drink, it’s time to grab a bucket of popcorn, settle down and enjoy some movie magic.
• The Game Fair (26–28 Jul)
Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield
Passionate about countryside pursuits? On July 26-27 the huge Game Fair returns to the grounds of Hatfield House, boasting a comprehensive itinerary for the whole family. Try your hand at activities including gundog handling and clay shooting or simply eat, drink and unwind while enjoying a spectacular programme of events in the main arena.
• St Albans Food & Drink Festival (28 Sep - 7 Oct)
A week-long festival of glorious local produce, beer and dining takes place in St Albans this autumn. The CAMRA Beer Festival and the St Albans Food and Drink Festival are excellent opportunities to try something new and, with a host of delicious local food and drink on offer from the St Albans’ area, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
• Pendley Shakespeare Festival (31 Jul - 4 Aug and 7-11 Aug)
Pendley Manor, Cow Lane, Tring
Embrace Shakespeare as it was meant to be; in the open-air in the beautiful grounds of Pendley Manor this August. Pendley Shakespeare Festival has been running since the ’40s and showcases two new productions each year. You can indulge in a three-course pre-theatre meal in the hotel’s award-winning Oak Restaurant or simply enjoy a picnic in the gardens, complete with peacocks.
• Flamstead Scarecrow Festival (10-11 Aug)
Visit Flamstead in August to enjoy the annual Scarecrow Festival when the village will be decorated with creatively crafted scarecrows to raise money for charity. It’s a traditional family day out with cream teas and cakes, Morris dancing, entertainment and stalls. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite scarecrow!
This annual autumn event is guaranteed to get you swinging and bebopping. Featuring a long weekend of live gigs and performances from some of the best in the business, Herts Jazz Festival is the perfect musical medley for fans old and new.
• Watford Food & Drink Week (date TBC)
Follow your tastebuds to Watford for the town’s annual Food and Drink Week, with a week of festivities showcasing the fantastic range of food, drink and produce available in the area. With many excellent eateries and delightful drinking holes, the events is a great time to try something new.
• Willows Activity Farm Pumpkin Festival (24 Oct - 4 Nov)
Coursers Road, St Albans
Pop down to the pumpkin patch at family favourite Willows Activity Farm during October half-term. Kids can pick out a free pumpkin on arrival before joining in a packed programme of pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, magic shows and even a Pumpkin Olympics.
This October Gadebridge Park in Hemel will be filled with Bavarian sounds from traditional folk to ‘Oompop.’ The widely regarded Oompah Band will return alongside headline acts that are yet to be announced. Grab some traditional German food, bring on the beer (30,000 litres to be exact) and step inside Europe’s biggest Bier tent to enjoy a true Bavarian bash.
Head to Hitchin in November for its annual wine and food festival and be treated to an array of national and world cuisine. There’s Turkish meats, churros and cheeses along with local gin and wines. Selling everything from Caribbean, Brazilian, Mexican and Indian street food, you’re sure to find something to put a big smile on your face.
• Old Town Halloween Party
Soak up the ghoulish atmosphere as Hemel’s High Street is transformed for Halloween with a ghost train, scary fairground rides, fiendishly good food, street entertainment and frighteningly fun activities for all the family. This annual event finishes with a spectacular free firework display in Gadebridge Park, so make sure you wrap up warm and dig out your sparklers.
Kickstart the Christmas season in style in the sparkling grounds of Knebworth House. With around 200 stalls selling everything from handmade gifts and delectable street food, plus a magical grotto, fairground and mulled wine tasting, this three-day event won’t fail to get you feeling like a shiny bauble.