WE’RE still recovering from last month’s exploits, but there’s no time to relax with August seemingly as jam-packed with festivals and weekend events dominating the calendar again.
Some of the big ones are out of the way now, with no major casualties falling foul of this hit and miss summer weather so far – let’s hope this month’s highlights are blessed with sunshine, with so many outdoor shows still to come.
Weekend number two heralds the arrival of the Lake District Folk Weekend (August 11-13). You don’t need to be a huge folk fan to enjoy this one – there’s free events, musical workshops and a handful of ticketed gigs, all taking place in stunning Staveley. If you don’t know it, this tight-knit community just north of Kendal has a splendid backdrop, and we hope it stays dry for the riverside gigs – the perfect way to enjoy a pint. There are also award-winning leaders of the genre, such as Ciaran Algar and Greg Russell playing headline gigs in venues such as the Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall and the Village Hall, though tickets are being snapped up quickly.
One of the county’s biggest agricultural events, the Lowther Show (August 12 & 13), is always a massive draw, and this year will be no different. Lowther Estate comes alive with the best in Cumbrian countryside pursuits, adventure sports, and all the animal classes that you can imagine. It’s the sheer scale of the thing that makes this one stand out though, with hundreds upon hundreds of exhibition stands, trade stalls, craftspeople and artisan food producers.
A major new event that might have flown under the radar for many is the Carlisle Fringe. Running simultaneously with the internationally-recognised Edinburgh Fringe, it’s the same idea albeit on a much smaller scale. There will be a similar level of variety though in this two-week programme, which takes over the city from August 18 to 28. When they say there’s something for everyone, well in this case it’s not just a throw-away line; from kids’ theatre to comedy for grown-ups, choral singing to rock bands, an international market and a street party, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. Apart from (mysteriously) Wednesday 23, there will be something going on each day, so we recommend you pop down and have a look.
Somewhere in the midst of all that there is the Sticky Wicket (August 18-20) – a fundraiser at Penrith Cricket Club that has taken on a life of its own as a lovely small music festival with some Cumbrian favourites on the stage, such as Beachmaster, Kontiki Suite, The Postcard Band and Hadrian’s Union.
But there’s one event that weekend (August 19) that we’ve had our eye on for a while: the All England Stone Skimming Championships take place at Fell Foot, on the shore of Windermere, representing the only realistic chance many of us will have of picking up a national title of any description. Reigning champion Ron Long is reportedly going to be there taking on all comers – but we fancy our chances of making a splash…
August always ends with a bank holiday weekend, which also offers the last opportunity for a bit of a blow-out before the summer is through. So that’s naturally where the biggest events take place.
Always eye-catching is the Solfest line-up – right up at the top of Cumbria on the Solway Coast, it’s long been a popular event with families, but in 2017 it’s out to recapture its crown as a top class music festival, with world-renowned DJ duo The Stanton Warriors and much-loved folk rock star Newton Faulkner leading the line-up. The three-day festival takes place from August 25-27.
Over the same dates, the region’s biggest tribute band event, Wannasee Festival, will be running at Hutton in the Forest. Squint and you could be watching Meat Loaf, David Bowie, Queen, AC/DC, The Bee Gees, The Cure and many more – but for a fraction of the price you’d normally pay.
Barrow’s big summer show, ambitiously titled The Ultimate Pop Fest, has made a decent fist of living up to its billing: the real Boyzlife (members of Boyzone and Westlife), Atomic Kitten, S Club, A1, and Antony Costa from Blue all appear at Craven Park rugby ground on August 27.
Just up the road, at the Black Dog near Dalton, DogFest is back and has tripled in size. Also on August 27, this big outdoor festival has relocated to the field opposite the cosy countryside pub, and will see highly-rated Carlisle band Hardwicke Circus headline.
by Karl Steele on behalf of Cumbria Live