17 festivals and special events in Buckinghamshire in 2016
PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:38 12 April 2016
Let no one say Buckinghamshire's residents don't know how to enjoy themselves. From festivals to traditional events, Sandra Smith reminds of us some important dates
Amersham Festival of Music - 8–30 April
Music lovers are in for a treat with the return of this reputable Music Festival. Composers celebrated this year include Mozart, Brahms and Schubert with choirs, quartets and young artists featured. There’s also a Masterclass for Opera Singers and dinner at Chenies Manor House, whilst one evening interweaves a wine tasting talk with Johann Strauss.
Beaconsfield Beer Festival and Tug of War - 23 April
St George’s Day and this event, organised with the support of the rugby club and Beaconsfield Round Table, with main sponsor Inland Homes, is being held to raise funds and awareness to improve dementia care with Dementia and improve mental health awareness with Mind and Rethink and their Time to Change campaign.
Wycombe Arts Festival - 23 April–30 May
The popularity of this annual festival is reflected in the variety of events it embraces. From Open Mic nights to guided walks, lunchtime concerts, workshops and theatre, both amateur and professional artists bring performing and visual arts to South Buckinghamshire. With a commitment to maintaining reasonable ticket costs, the organisers ensure WAF is accessible to all.
Whitchurch Morris Men - 2 May
The May Day Bank Holiday is a big one for the morris men – and signals an early start as they will be up on Coombe Hill at 6.30am! Then it’s on to The Hampden Arms at Great Hampden at 9am, before heading for World’s End Garden Centre near Wendover for 10.30am. Then it’s on to the Whitchurch May Fair for noon, followed by Pitstone Green Farm Museum at 2.15pm. Evening pub visits in coming months include The Angler’s Retreat in Marsworth (26 April), The Five Elms, Weedon (10 May), The Chandos Arms, Weston Turville (17 May) and The Black Boy, Oving (24 May).
Chalfont St Giles and Jordans Literary Festival - 10-22 May
From Professor Robert Winston to Ffion Hague, an eclectic array of authors and speakers will give their insight into Lives in Words, a topic also explored by bestselling author Salley Vickers. Talks are spread across the fortnight using several village venues. A themed creative writing competition - open to all ages culminates in a prize giving on the final evening.
Marlow Town Regatta and Festival - 11-12 June
The Thames will showcase traditional rowing and colourful dragon boat racing during Marlow’s eagerly anticipated sporting and social weekend. But there’s land based entertainment too such as music and food stalls. Pimms and champagne will be served at the Riverside bar and for anyone planning to take their own picnic, pitches are priced depending on location. It’s a fabulous event, though don’t forget to check out the dress code.
Boodles Tennis - 21-25 June
Some of the world’s top tennis players will flock to Stoke Park, enabling fans to enjoy quality play in a quintessentially English backdrop. Unlike larger tournaments, the intimate setting of Boodles boasts an aura of summer garden party with the added advantage of five star catering minus queues. It’s a pre-Wimbledon competition right here in our county.
Roald Dahl Festival - 2 July
With the help of professional artists 500 school children are creating original BFG themed pictures which they will carry in a parade from St Mary’s Church to Aylesbury’s Market Square. The event, which begins at 11am, includes samba bands and street theatre and is followed by fun activities in the Bucks Museum and storytelling in Aylesbury Library.
BeaconLit - 2 July
Whether you’re a new writer or experienced author, this one day literary festival in Ivinghoe is guaranteed to nurture your creativity. Women’s fiction, crime and poetry are the main genres covered this year via discussion panels, interviews and talks with plenty of advice and guidance on offer. So whatever your literary goals, head to one of the prettiest parts of the county for inspiration.
Amersham Carnival - 9 July
Rio comes to Amersham with a colourful carnival, local bands, masses of stalls and the ever popular Amersham on the Sea beach. This crowd puller begins at 11am with the carnival procession leaving King George V Playing Field at midday to make its way through the town. There’s something for all ages here including barbecue, beer tent, horticultural show and music stage. And if that’s not enough to tempt you, entry is free.
Milton Keynes International Festival - 15-24 July
Willen Lake Park will host a wealth of mesmerising acts this summer. Aerial acrobats use the dusk sky as the backdrop and there are also circus ensembles, cabaret, and comedy from award winning Mark Watson, not to mention toe tapping music from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. These high energy performances have become a popular summer feature so don’t delay in ordering tickets.
Pennfest - 22-23 July
Penn Street village is the venue for this family-friendly music festival, now in its sixth year. Over the weekend main and second stages will be buzzing with lively acts, two of whom are Ocean Colour Scene and Dizzee Rascal. Nearby camping (featuring security, showers and toilets) is available whilst VIP tickets offer a little luxury.
Bucks County Show - 1 Sept
One of the biggest agricultural shows in the country returns to Weedon Park with Royal Signals White Helmets Display Team the star attraction. Meanwhile rural organisations, crafts and demonstrations are well represented in the Countryside Area, Food Hall and trade stands. Look out, too, for show jumping, the sheep show and Best of British livestock adding to this extravaganza of family entertainment.
Roald Dahl Day - 13 Sept
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the nation’s most memorable storytellers and groups are invited to host their own party (downloadable party packs are available) to create the biggest ever global celebration of Roald Dahl’s birthday. And why not extend the fun by going along to the Great Missenden museum on 17 September when the colourful building transforms into The Museum of the Unexpected.
Marlow Carnival - 17 Sept
This well supported community event is a highlight of Marlow’s social calendar. There are familiar attractions such as ponies, classic cars, mini go karts and fair rides and all ages may test their mettle on an Immortal Fitness obstacle course. The popular Flying Tearoom returns along with Phil Bowditch’s barbecue. And whilst enjoying Marlow FM’s stage and sound, look out for local clubs’ and associations’ stalls.
The Kop Hill Climb - 17-18 Sept
Motor vehicles built pre-1976, including some very elderly ones, head up this hill near Princes Risborough, conquering twists and turns and some steep gradients. It was revived as a festival in 2009 by a team led by Tony Davies and since 2013 has been run by Kop Hill Climb Ltd as agents of the charitable Buckinghamshire Community Foundation’s Heart of Bucks campaign. Last year £75,000 was raised. There’s also a steam fair and children’s entertainment area.
Wooburn Festival - 23 September–22 October
Classical, Jazz, Folk and Opera, a week long Visual Arts Exhibition, Spoken Word, Poetry and Film form this year’s Wooburn Festival, now celebrating its 50th season. And the founder’s vision to bring acclaimed artistes to the local community at affordable prices is as strong as ever. The 20 events feature the internationally renowned performers.