Su Carroll reveals key Devon events coming up between July and December 2022.
DARTINGTON SUMMER SCHOOL AND FESTIVAL
JULY 23 – AUGUST 20
The Dartington Estate near Totnes combines a four-week summer school for students with a festival of performances for all. It will be curated by Sara Mohr-Pietsch, a music broadcaster, curator, and writer, best known for her work on BBC Radio 3 and fronting the BBC Proms on television. She attended Dartington Summer School as a student.
More details at dartington.org
NATURAL SEATON FESTIVAL
JULY 23 – 24
This festival, now organised by Seaton Tramway, celebrates the natural heritage of this beautiful part of East Devon. The festival, which started in 2014, sees hundreds of locals and tourists coming to Seaton to enjoy activities, games, live entertainment, and work by a variety of wildlife and conservation organisations.
Seaton Tramway is aiming to build on the event and make it bigger and more appealing to a wider audience, starting in 2022, the first time the festival has been held in three years.
For more information, go to tram.co.uk
SIDMOUTH FOLK FESTIVAL
JULY 29 – AUGUST 5
This internationally renowned festival has been going for more than 65 years so its appropriate that this year’s event comes with the tagline “ear to the past, eye on the future”. Planning is underway for a festival this year with some exciting developments – upbeat ceilidhs, dance displays, and a great folk dance programme. There’s lots for children including the return of Shooting Roots with a mix of music, dance, song, crafts, and drama for young people. And camping is back at the popular Bulverton Campsite.
Details at sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk
THE LITTLE BIG FESTIVAL
AUGUST 12 -13
Launched last year as a one-day event on a farm just outside the busy market town of Ashburton, this festival blends the eccentricity of an English country fayre with music, comedy,, film, circus, flamenco, and opera. There will be a dedicated children’s festival within the festival. The park and ride service returns and there will be overnight camping for the first time. Taster gigs and workshops are planned for the run-up to the festival.
Information and tickets at thelittlebigfestival.co.uk
NATURE VALLEY GONE WILD
AUGUST 25 – 28
Bear Grylls returns with his team to Powderham Castle for this family friendly festival of adventure and outdoor activity alongside live music including The Script, All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Reef. Last year’s inaugural events was attended by 6, 000 people with highlights including a spectacular arrival from the skies by the legendary Red Devils and a new World Record being set by hundreds of people taking part in a Be Military Fit workout led by boxer Nicola Adams and Bear Grylls.
The festival program will be packed with fun activities such as kayaking, axe throwing, archery, paddle boarding, talks, workshops, and bushcraft skills.
DARTMOOR WALKING FESTIVAL
AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 4
This popular annual event brings together organisations such as Dartmoor National Park, The Ramblers, National Trust, Woodland Trust, and SW Lakes Trust for a series of events on the moors. Last year’s festival worked with the National Disabled Ramblers for some accessible events and the chosen charity was the Devon Air Ambulance.
For more information go to moorlandguides.co.uk
THE TEIGN MARATIME AND SHANTY FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 2 -4
Now expanded from two days to three, this free event straddles the Teign Estuary with performances by more than 50 musical groups alongside around 20 events on both sides of the water in Shaldon and Teignmouth. The festival helps keep the sea shanty traditions alive – songs originally conceived to reduce the monotony of repetitive tasks at sea.
The festival is the only one of its kind in Devon and will include talks and exhibitions as well as raising money for local charities.
For information, go to teignshantyfestival.co.uk
LIVE IN DEVON
SEPTEMBER 2 – 3
McFly are the first band to be revealed as headliners at a three-day music event being held at Exmouth’s Imperial Recreation Ground. Live in Devon is expected to attract more than 15, 000 music lovers over the course of the weekend and bring a significant economic boost to Exmouth and the wider area.
Tickets are on sale now, visit facebook.com/LiveinExmouth for information and to see announcements about their other headline acts.
INTERNATIONAL AGATHA CHRISTIE FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 10 – 17
Agatha Christie’s connection to Torquay, where she was born and spent much of her life, is celebrated with a festival that aims to use her global reputation to promote engagement and participation in literature and the arts. The festival helps increase tourism and support work to support and promote the area’s literary and geological heritage.
The festival includes high profile speakers and performances of her plays and poetry as well as other related arts and literary activities and a Festival Fringe encompassing a whole variety of engaging experiences for all ages.
A full programme will be announced at iacf-uk.org
WHIDDON AUTUMN FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 15 – 18
After staging music performances in Chagford in 2018-19, Freddie Crowley – who grew up in Gidleigh and was a chorister at Exeter Cathedral – developed the events into the Whiddon Autumn Festival, held for the very first time last year.
The musical offering included chamber music, solo song, education workshops, community participation events, and choral performances by Freddie’s choir, Corvus Consort.
For more information go to whiddonautumnfestival.co.uk
CHAFORD FILM FESTIVAL
This small Dartmoor town always manages to attract interesting special guests (including Oscar winners) to the unique Chagford Film Festival. The programme is yet to be announced but expect an amazing line-up of eclectic films, quirky events, and hands-on workshops to suit all ages and tastes. The week begins with an opening night gala and finishes with a spectacular street event on Saturday
SALCOMBE LIVE FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 7 – 9
Last year’s festival was only the second to be held in this popular waterside town but it is already proving popular with visitors and performers. From folk, jazz, and country to soul, acoustic, comedy, and more, around 50 live performances will be hosted across venues in the town with some outdoor spaces. Organisers plan to make all the events, with the exception of the finale, free to attend thanks to the generous support of the town’s businesses.
While the 2022 line-up is yet to be announced, past performers include folk royalty such as Cara Dillion and Sam Lakeman, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, and Bafta-award winning singer songwriter Emily Barker.
Go to salcombe-live.co.uk for information.
EXMOOR DARK SKIES FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 14 – 30
It’s more than a decade since Exmoor was designated an International Dark Sky Reserve, the first in Europe. Research by the countryside charity the CPRE shows that 92% of Exmoor has pristine night skies, free from light pollution, and even the remaining 8% have incredibly dark skies. The Dark Skies Festival encourages residents and visitors, many of whom live in light polluted towns and cities, to marvel at the night sky. There are organised events throughout the festival for anyone with an interest in the outdoors, the natural world, the night sky, and our places in the universe.
Visit exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk. 2022 dates to be confirmed.
This immersive festival of light and magic coincides with Thanksgiving every year marking Plymouth’s close connections with America. Last year it expanded into a two-week long experience at its traditional home of the Royal William Yard and the newly refurbished Market Hall in Devonport.
Work at last year’s event included a first-of-its-kind multi-sensory music making installation and a monumental wall of artificial sunlight. At Market Hall you could take a night dive into an immersive seagrass meadow with Seagrass by Chloe Georgakis and Will Harvey.
For information go to realideas.org
CLOVELLY HERRING FESTIVAL
This North Devon village with its cobbled streets and quaint atmosphere celebrates the herring season with a festival to celebrate the fish known as the “silver darlings”. On the quay, kitchens serve a variety of sustainably sourced herring specialities along with beer, gin, and cider tastings, local food, and craft stalls. Throughout the day there will be live music, street entertainers, face-painting, art workshops, an exhibition of Clovelly herring fishing, and children’s activities.
For visitor information, go to clovelly.co.uk
Local businesses need our support in the run-up to Christmas and you will find markets popping up in villages, towns, and cities across the county. They are a great place to pick up some individual and unique Christmas gifts as well as delicious food and drink. The biggest markets can be found in the pedestrianised Plymouth City Centre, where the wide-open space of the Piazza is transformed into a Christmas market with food and entertainment, and in Exeter where the Christmas market can be found on Cathedral Green.
To discover these and other Christmas markets in Devon, go to visitdevon.co.uk