The Warwick Summer Festival last June may not have been the highlight of everyone’s year, nor was it anyone’s idea of good value for money. However, that doesn’t mean we should lose faith in the festival scene in Warwick’s local area. There are a multitude of artsy and cultural festivals taking place in Warwickshire and the West Midlands throughout the summer. Not only the well-known annual festivals like the Warwick Folk Festival, Kenilworth Arts Festival and the Coventry Godiva Festival to name a few (taking place throughout July to September and which will be covered in a later article) but, there are also plenty of smaller independent events being held in June whilst students are still on campus enjoying those post-exam days.
The long days following the end of exams when everyone tends to just laze around before moving out are often desperately in need of direction. Whilst of course there is plenty going on campus, the surrounding areas have much to offer and go unappreciated, plus getting out of the Warwick bubble is often what’s needed. There are opportunities not only just to visit and enjoy these events, but to volunteer. If you find yourself itching to go out and take part in something new and interesting, here is a comprehensive list of some of the best (and quirkiest) festivals taking place throughout June:
Warwick Food Festival – 27 May, Warwick.
Admittedly this one is mainly for the lucky souls who finish in May. The lineup will feature over 80 food and drinks stalls, along with entertainment and food demonstrations. So if the weather is good and you fancy a chilled day out, this is definitely one to try. Even better, there will be another food festival in Kenilworth on 22 July!
Birmingham International Dance Festival – 1-24 June, Birmingham.
The BIDF has a jam-packed schedule featuring dance acts and entertainment from around the world. Events will range from live performances to workshops, classes and club nights. There’s even a ‘Morning Gloryville’ rave starting at 7am on 1 July – you never know, it could be a good way to wake up before starting revision?! Tickets will be sold on the basis of individual events, so it is well worth delving into the range of experiences on offer. Opportunities to volunteer can also be found through their website and on Facebook.
Warwick Thai Festival – 2-3 June, Warwick Racecourse.
A slightly more niche option, but who doesn’t love an opportunity to get your hands on some Thai food? There will be two days of full Thai immersion, from food to massages to Thai boxing. Perhaps amongst the highlights will be a Thai beer garden and, wait for it – a Ladyboy show. For just £4 for one day, I doubt that’s something you’d want to miss.
Leamington Peace Festival – 16-17 June, Leamington Spa.
A little closer to home, this year’s Leamington Peace Festival will be held in the Pump Room Gardens. Whilst this may not sound particularly exciting or exotic, the programme from last year may persuade you otherwise. According to its website, the festival “exists to promote peace, environmental harmony and living in co-operation with others”. As well as music, food and live performances, there will be peace talks on topics ranging from Palestine to Buddhism. There was a fantastic lineup of immersive workshops on offer last year, including African drumming, circus skills, Tai Chi, street dance and a hula hoop stall. If nothing else, let the Leamington Peace Festival be a reason to get out and do something a bit crazy, and enjoy the best that Leam has to offer! They are also accepting volunteers.
Supersonic Festival – 22-24 June, Birmingham.
This is perhaps the first ‘proper’ festival of the month in the area. It really does appear to be a collection of the weird and wonderful, a widely acclaimed experimental music and arts festival involving gigs, visual arts, exhibitions and audience participation of all varieties. It has been described as the festival “for the curious” and a champion for “collaboration and reunion”. Weekend tickets are going for £100 (and tickets can also be bought for individual performances). Although there is no camping, hotel accommodation is recommended and again, volunteers are wanted, making this a chance for a weekend getaway full of eclectic and international music. http://supersonicfestival.com
Also Festival – 29 June-1 July, Compton Verney, Warwickshire.
The best is definitely saved for last here. Also Festival looks like a real treat for the mind and the senses. As the self-nominated “Small festival – Big ideas” and “the UK’s greatest boutique festival for world-class ideas”, it endeavours to be both a relaxing and stimulating weekend. This year’s theme, ‘Isle of Noises’, is a sensory and immersive experience in a natural setting, with camping and even a ‘Safari Hotel’ for those wanting a little more glamour. The lineup is bursting with wonderful experiences from leisure to the more intellectual. There is music and partying abundant, but there is also set to be a beach, wild swimming, a roller disco, karaoke and ‘glitter yoga’, whatever that might be. To go along with this are talks ranging from astrology and the physics of magic, to the psychology of comedy, altruism and, of course, feminism. There is no way I can capture everything this festival has to offer in this short description, so make sure to explore the full lineup on their website. A full weekend ticket including camping is just £120. There are some great deals for volunteering as well, with the option of both full volunteering with three shifts and free entry, or a £50 Volunteer Ticket allowing you to contribute just one shift and subsidised entry. I might just have to look into getting a ticket myself!