Devon Music Festivals: 5 of the best

January 16th, 2017 | By Ross Purdy

One of the 2015 Dart Music Festival's quirkier performers

For many people, South Devon brings to mind peaceful hamlets and quiet little seaside towns, but make no mistake – Devonians know how to make some noise! There are a surprising number of Devon music festivals, many of which are within easy reach of the holiday hotspots of Salcombe, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and the rest of the South Hams.

Let’s take a look at just five of our favourite Devon music festivals.

1. Dart Music Festival (12th – 14th May 2017)

The Dart Music Festival takes over more-or-less the entire town of Dartmouth for three days, turning almost every café, pub, meeting room and public space into a venue. A lively yet laidback and friendly atmosphere pervades the Dart Music Festival, which is volunteer-supported and almost entirely free to attend. The music is hugely varied but the standard is strikingly high considering the sheer number of acts you can enjoy.

Now entering the 20th year since its inception, this has become one of the most popular Devon music festivals with performers, Dartmouth residents and visitors alike.

The Old Library in DartmouthRemember that there are bargains to be had at this time of year when it comes to finding holiday accommodation in Dartmouth, but don’t forget to book early as this event becomes more popular every year.

2. Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival (2nd – 4th June 2017)

Since 2012, the charming market town of Kingsbridge has also got in on the festival act. While nearby Dartmouth likes to serve up its music and food festivals at different times of the year, Kingsbridge has thrown the two together to make one glorious hotchpotch. The result is a family-friendly event with the emphasis on fun. Who can argue with the organisers’ stated mission, which is:

‘to throw a party for the people of Kingsbridge, and visitors to our beautiful town, to celebrate the eclectic mix of incredible tastes and sounds that originate from the area.’

With this kind of enthusiasm, it would be no surprise to see this Kingsbridge event grow to become one of the biggest Devon music festivals on the calendar.

As with the Dart Music Festival, the entertainment is free, but the organisers would appreciate it if you bought a programme, the proceeds of which help to recoup the cost of staging the event.

3. Dartmoor Folk Festival (11th – 13th August 2017)

I’ve long been of the opinion that folk music provides the best soundtrack for driving across the Moor. But did you know you can go one better than just turning up your car stereo, by attending the Dartmoor Folk Festival?

This is a paid event featuring leading contemporary folk artists. Attendees can camp or purchase non-residential day/weekend tickets, meaning it’s possible to fit the event in with your holiday plans.

You can reach the festival site of South Zeal in under an hour from Totnes, and in around 80 minutes from most of the South Hams. It’s well worth the drive to soak up the atmosphere at one of the most celebrated Devon music festivals.

4. Teignmouth Folk Festival (16th – 18th June 2017)

Another fine festival for folk fans will take place in the Mid-Devon town of Teignmouth this June. As with its Dartmoor counterpart, tickets are available with and without camping included. You can reach Teignmouth in around an hour from most places in the South Hams (considerably less if you’re staying in or around Totnes).

5. Glas-Denbury (7th – 9th July 2017)

Glas-Denbury surprised many journalists and bloggers with the quality of entertainment and food on offer at this scaled-down, reasonably-priced Devon music festival. It takes place on Fairfax Farm in the village of Denbury near Newton Abbot, which is roughly three-quarters of an hour’s drive from Dartmouth or Salcombe. As Dave Dryden of the Mid Devon Advertiser put it:

Glastonbury, eat your heart out.

It’s not one of the largest music festivals in Devon, but it’s known as one of the warmest and most welcoming.

Many of us go on loving live music long after the prospect of spending sleepless nights in soggy tents has lost its appeal. If that’s true in your case, why not browse through our range of luxury holiday homes in South Devon to find yourself a comfortable base for your holiday?

So that was a flavour of the Devon music festivals from which you can choose this year.

Interested in other festivals and activities besides live music? Discover more about what’s on in South Devon here.