Longer days, warmer weather and plenty of bank holidays - May is officially here. Which means one very exciting thing for North Devon: festival season is on the way.
Renowned for our sense of community and love of a good time, it’s no surprise that North Devon plays host to a huge number of different festivals. Ranging from arts and music to obscure seaside traditions - all North Devonians remember and miss Westward Ho!’s once annual potwalloping festival - keep reading to discover which North Devon festivals are on the way, and which you won’t want to miss.
Pigstock, 18 - 19th May
Pigstock is back for another year, much to the delight of every North Devon family we’re sure. Taking place at the Big Sheep in Bideford, guests can expect an exciting line-up of diverse live music from the main stage on the Saturday. With a separate, dedicated stage for the kids to get their fix of fun, as well as free entry to the Big Sheep itself, families will have no trouble keeping their little ones entertained.
That’s not all; get your foodie fix by exploring the food village with tasty dishes from around the world, washed down by a local cider or ale in the main bar. With unique activities on offer, like axe throwing and clay pigeon shooting, there’s something for everyone.
Finally, come back the next day for Chill Out Sunday - a lazy day packed full of comedy, live music and family friendly entertainment.
Westward Ho! Festival of Kites, 19th May
Quirky, fun-filled, and perfect for the family, don’t miss the Westward Ho! Festival of Kites. The beach is the ideal place to fly them, and you’re absolutely encouraged to bring your own and have a go with it in the free fly kite area.
There will also be demonstrations, with tips and learning opportunities for the experts, as well as a kite fight challenge with trophies up for grabs. Taking place on the beach, we’re sure the panoramic views across to Lundy Island won’t hurt either.
Clovelly Seaweed Festival, 26th May
Clovelly is well known not only for being a unique, timeless village with a curious history, but also for the range of quirky events in its calendar.
In aid of the North Devon Hospice, and celebrating the nutritional content and high health benefits of seaweed, the Seaweed Festival takes place along the harbour. Suitable for both adults and children, it’ll be a day packed full of informative fun. With educational talks, workshops and demonstrations, you’re sure to learn plenty, and can even bring your own seaweed for tips from experts or simply buy your own seaweed products from stalls.
In addition, the village will be alive with live music, street entertainment and craft activities - it’s the perfect day out for those looking to do something that tiny bit different.
GoldCoast Oceanfest, 21st - 23rd June
This year’s line-up is an exciting one; featuring big names like Craig David and Tom Odell surrounding plenty of up and coming talent, the festival offers a range of different sounds and genres with something for everyone.
Though music is at its core, so is sports - with competitive volleyball, beach soccer, surfing and swimming taking place over the weekend thanks to its prime location at Croyde Bay. Plus, there’s an array of other activities - from fair rides and cocktail bars to surf lifesaving - there’s plenty to see you through the 3 day camping festival.
Ilfracombe’s Grand Victorian and Steampunk Festival, 15 - 23rd June
Ilfracombe takes a quirky step back in time with this particular festival. The community will be buzzing with a range of unique events and activities taking place, and while you don’t have to get dressed up in your best Victorian-era or steampunk get-ups, it’s certainly encouraged and recommended. You may even be able to take advantage of local deals if you participate - plus, who doesn’t like getting into costume?
Competitions will see a best costume picked, alongside art and shop window competitions to engage the local community as well as visitors from all over. Activities will include live music, tea duelling, fireworks and much more, plus a healthy dose of history that’s perfect for anyone interested in steampunk or those who just want a different day out.
Fringe TheatreFest, 27 - 30th June
It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy some theatre, with attendance from high-up, professional companies, alongside local community companies, aspiring professionals, youth groups and more collating an exciting programme with all kinds of ambitious work. It’s a great opportunity to discover talent from far and wide.
Clovelly Maritime Festival, 14th July
A famous fishing village in its own right, Clovelly’s Maritime Festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate North Devon’s rich maritime past. Taking place on Clovelly Harbour and overlooking the surrounding sea, the day is sure to be packed with entertainment and family fun.
The North Devon Yacht Club will be racing across the bay to win the Clovelly Cup Rally, while the Bideford Sea Cadets will be available to give information on what they do and how to get involved. Other confirmed entertainment includes live music, craft and food stalls, street entertainment, and family friendly activities; crafting mermaid crowns and pirate hats for the children, building miniature boats, face painting and ‘Tales From the Sea’ mermaid storytelling.
Pilton Green Man Festival, 20th July
Pilton Green Man Festival is a fun, annual event that is run by a team of dedicated volunteers to bring together the community. Based on the pagan idea of the Green Man - a symbol of nature and fertility - it’s really just an opportunity to get outside and have some fun.
Usually beginning with a procession and pageant, Pilton’s main street is decorated vividly with memorable bunting and a bustling marketplace of food, drink, crafts and other things to buy, as well as live music and other live street entertainment taking place across stages and other locations within Pilton. A fun, unique event, it really commemorates the tight-knit village communities we have here in North Devon.
Appledore Book Festival, 20 - 28th September
Celebrating authors, readers, and really all things bookish, Appledore Book Festival is returning to North Devon for another fantastic year. The event is always packed out with a variety of activities, from author talks to educational workshops, with a trusty mobile bookshop provided by Waterstones.
Festival patron Jeremy Vine will be returning to Appledore again this year, alongside a variety of as yet undisclosed authors. Keep an eye on the website though; we can’t wait to discover what the full line-up will be this year!
It’s clear to see there’s no shortage of festivals to attend here in North Devon - and what a variety! But which are you most looking forward to attending? Are you a frequent visitor, or will this be your first year at one of these events?