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June hotspots for festival season in the South West

  • Date: 3 June 2014
  • Area: South West
Guild member Rosie Sanders at the 2013 Festival

Guild member Rosie Sanders at the 2013 Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey. Credit: Simon Williams

The busy South West festival season continues strongly in June with an eclectic selection of high quality events on offer, many of them are supported by Arts Council England through our National portfolio and the National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme.

Often the festivals are free or have free events and they are a great way to try something new.

Nick Green, Relationship Manager, Combined Arts, South West, said: 'The South West is home to hundreds of festivals. From the world's best known music festivals to local events and annual traditional festivals, they are a great way for us to support new work and new audiences.'

Adam Gent, Relationship Manager, Combined Arts, South West, agrees.  He said: 'In the South West, there is a real explosion of festivals, large and small, many of them pioneering in the ways they work with communities, engage with their natural surroundings or present exciting new work.  For audiences, it's a chance to adventure and can even help to define a place.'


  • Ignite (2-7 June) is a six day celebration of live performance in Exeter with the central premise that any space can be a theatre and anyone can tell a story. From acclaimed national companies to the newest theatre makers, Ignite gives an opportunity for a variety of companies, artists and audiences to mix with over 200 performances on offer.


  • Cheltenham hosts perhaps Europe's leading science festival (3-8 June), promoting a dialogue about the latest ideas in science and engineering through over 300 events. The Times Cheltenham Science Festival is recognised as one of the most important platforms for science communication and public engagement globally and this year's guest director is Steve Backshall, the BAFTA -winning British naturalist, writer and television presenter, best known for BBC TV's Deadly 60.


  • The Contemporary Craft Festival (6-8 June) is an annual highlight in Bovey Tracey, Devon, also home to festival co-founders and Arts Council England National portfolio organisation the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Now in its 11th year, it is one of the most prestigious and highly acclaimed craft events in the UK. This year's exhibitors include designer makers in wood, jewellery, metal, furniture, glass, ceramics, leather, mixed media, paper, silver and textiles as well as trade stand, demonstrations and workshops galore!


  • Featuring over 100 organisations, the Bristol Festival of Nature Wild Weekend (14/15 June) gives wildlife-lovers of all ages a unique opportunity to discover and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city. With a line-up of hands-on activities, fascinating talks, live entertainment, a market bursting with local produce and much more, the weekend is expected to attract over 12,000 people to Bristol's Harbourside. The Festival features the Biosphere, where live literature events, creative writing and reading will be held right at the heart of the event.


  • Now in its 15thyear, the Portsmouth Festivities has developed a reputation for providing high quality events with professional artists in the city's unique venues, capturing imaginations, celebrating diversity and exploring Portsmouth's amazing heritage. For 2014 they have commissioned a video installation Faces, an ambitious new film featuring people from Portsmouth today telling the story of the City in the lead up to the Great War.


  • If you're doing Glastonbury (25-29 June), don't forget to visit the Theatre and Circus Fields to see one or all of the new pieces of performance for 2014/15 that make up the Glastonbury Festival Arts Commissions. A new show for the circus big top will be made by Leo and Yam, a contemporary circus duo who will direct four performers in a show inspired by alien forms and raw humanity. Yo-Yos past and present and those obsessed with them will feature in a new show by Arron Sparks, and there will be 2 outdoor pieces - a comedy of disasters from Dot comedy and a marvellous fairground organ with small-scale automata and musical performances from a collective of artists in Penryn. A newly commissioned sculpture by Joe Rush of Mutoid Waste will feature in the night-time spectacular Mutane Gas.


Look out for our next festival round-up soon - and check out our news story about some of the summer's literature festivals in Cornwall at  


You can find out more information about Grants for the arts and the projects we support at: