Your Muddy Spring Festival Guide
It might be a bit early in the year for denim hotpants and wellies, but all of these Sussex festivals will get you in the Glasto mood without staying up all night clicking refresh on ticket ballots.
Spring festivals are blossoming (geddit) in Sussex and a festival is a brilliant way to enjoy the season, combining time in nature and the gorgeous views of the coast and the South Downs with music, food and drink, wellbeing and much more.
So go ahead and grab your hand sanitiser and wet wipes, pack an extra jumper in case it’s blowing a gale, and take a British stiff upper lip in case (inevitably) the weather doesn’t play ball.
The ‘for the kids’ one
New to Sussex, and to the family festival line-up, is The Kids’ Festival, which will hit the South of England Showground at Ardingly on 18-19 April. Recommended for under-9s, this is billed as ‘an immersive, fairytale experience bursting with a wide range of thrilling and enjoyable interactive activities.’ Family fave and not-at-all-annoying porcine Peppa Pig and her gang will be there with a fun holiday trail and you can even register for a meet and greet with Peppa and George, should you, um, want to. There’s also Didi cars for littlies to bomb around on, dance workshops, circus skills, bouncy castles, messy play, face painting and ‘much more’. This sounds like it could be good, but as this is its first year, the jury’s out on whether it’ll be worth the entry fee, which is £17.50 for the target age group of one to eight year olds, and £12.50 for adults and over nines. Babes in arms go free. This one’s also heading to Staffordshire later in the year.
Next up, head over to Mac’s Farm in Ditchling for Gin & Groove on Sat 9 May, the first overnighter of the season. This organic farm and campsite hosts the renowned Wild Meadows family festival later on in the year, but first up, this evening of live music, delicious food by Soul Street Kitchen and locally produced Ditchling Gin and Tom Cat Sussex, along with other booze, soft and hot drinks. The campsite will open a day early this year, on Fri 8 May, to give you the option of spending the whole Bank Holiday weekend outdoors. Tickets start at £15 for adults and £10 for under-14s, under threes go free.
The serious music one
May’s a good month for Sussex festivals. The Great Escape, Brighton’s new music showcase is the biggest in Europe and lauded by the likes of BBC 6 Music. It’ll run from 13-16 May this year. In total 500 emerging artists from around the world will perform at a range of venues across the city and at a pop-up site on Brighton Beach. This is one for those who fancy themselves as talent spotters – it’s a known hotbed of A&R for record labels. For bigger spotlight gigs, including the likes of Stormzy’s protegee Aitch, you’ll need separate tickets.
The fun-for-all-the-family one
Elderflower Fields is an established event in the calendar and this family festival has raked in the awards. This year it’s on from 22-25 May at Pippingford Park in East Sussex and the theme will be Night-time Animals vs Mythical Creatures. This one has the feel of a much bigger event, but is small enough for those who aren’t quite sure if family festivals are for them. There’s a big stage with live music and a Sunday family picnic, arts camp, woodland stage, woodland spa, campfires, morning yoga, sports camp, disco golf (no idea, sorry) art trails, the urban woods (street sports and activities like slacklining and climbing), and the usual array of food, drink and activities. If you’re tempted, check out Muddy’s tips to help you make the most of the festival.