Alongside the county’s two national parks, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and eight Blue Flag beaches, there are dozens of festivals in Devon that showcase its unique culture, innovative industries and beautiful environment.
Every year, businesses, residents and visitors come together to celebrate local food and drink, live music, literature and, of course, wormcharming (yes, you read that correctly!)
There are so many annual and one-off events and festivals in Devon that you’re sure to find plenty to enjoy, almost regardless of the month in which you arrive.
Here are some festivals in Devon to look forward to in 2017. Check back soon, as many more are usually announced as the year progresses.
Please be advised that all dates are subject to change and that Coast & Country Cottages cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies in the information below.
Also, don’t forget to check out our more wide-ranging guide to what’s on in South Devon.
Fri 13th – Sat 14th January 2017 (11:00 – 23:00): Head to St James Park in Exeter (the football ground) to escape the winter blues and enjoy the 28th Exeter Festival of Winter Ales, hosted by the Campaign for Real Ale.
March (dates tbc): Expect a line-up of high-profile comedians at the Flavel Arts Centre and elsewhere in the town for the 11th annual Dartmouth Comedy Festival. Last year’s festival included performances by TV regulars Shazia Mirza and Rob Beckett, as well as a poignant tribute to Rik Mayall.
Fri 17th – Sat 19th March: The peaceful market town of Chagford on Dartmoor is home to several well-known writers and artists. This makes it a fitting location to host Chagword, a semi-regular literary festival which in 2017 will feature visiting writers Patrick Gale and Michael Morpurgo amongst others.
Sat 29th April – Mon 1st May 2017: Follow your nose up the A38 to Exeter for the city’s annual Festival of South West Food and Drink. It’s a great chance to get to sample the best the region has to offer, amongst the beautiful surroundings of Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens.
Sun 30th April: 2016 saw the first ever Salcombe Crab Festival (‘Crabfest’) opened by Mary Berry, CBE. The event raised over £10,000 for local charities and featured over 40 exhibitors, so it’s no surprise that Crabfest will return in 2017. This time, the organisers promise it will be even bigger and better.
May (date and time tbc): Expect fancy dress, live music and – yes – some serious wormcharming at the Blackawton International Festival of Wormcharming, a family-oriented fun event.
Fri 12th – Sun 14th May: Every year, the friendly harbour town of Dartmouth plays hosts to the Dart Music Festival, a volunteer-organised free event that features over 100 performances. This is a great time of year to get to know Dartmouth at its liveliest and most welcoming.
Fri 2nd – Sun 4th June: Kingsbridge Food and Music Festival serves the ‘food of love’ to those with a passion for food. Expect an eclectic range of live music performances alongside dishes from all your favourite local food producers.
Sat 1st July: Let’s Rock Exeter is retro rock and pop festival with a distinctly 80s and early 90s feel. In this year’s iconic pop line-up, there will be Jason Donovan, Level 42, Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet and Chesney Hawkes, amongst other well-known blasts from the past.
Fri 7th – Mon 17th July: The next Devon event on our list lowers the volume, with the annual Dartington Ways with Words festival. This 10-day festival features many of the most critically and commercially successful authors of our time. The genres covered range from popular fiction through cookery books all the way to weighty political works. Last year’s event hosted such illustrious names as Sr Alice Roberts, Melvyn Bragg and George Monbiot.
Fri 21 – Sat 22 July: In addition to the aforementioned literary event, Chagford also hosts the music festival Chagstock, which Adrian Edmondson called ‘the best little festival in The South West’.
Sat 5th – Sat 12th August: Salcombe Town Regatta is one of the most prestigious events in the South Devon calendar. As well as the sailing events and competitions you’d expect, there are also air displays, fireworks and plenty of fun activities for kids.
Fri 18th – Sun 20th August: The award-winning Beautiful Days festival is a family-friendly, three-day celebration of music. This year’s line-up hasn’t yet been announced, but previous festivals have seen performances by the Levellers (who founded the festival), the Happy Mondays and Idlewild. Beautiful Days, firmly established as one of the biggest festivals in Devon, takes place near Fairmile, between Exeter and Honiton.
Thu 24th – Sat 26th August: One of the biggest events on the South Devon social calendar, the Dartmouth Royal Regatta is a fantastic festival with something for everyone – not just sailing enthusiasts. There are air displays which usually include the Red Arrows, there’s a funfair and you can expect dozens of food and drink stalls catering to every taste.
Wed 13th – Sun 17th September: The ferry ride from Dartmouth to Greenway, the former holiday home of the late Dame Agatha Christie, provides one of South Devon’s most enchanting days out. But did you know there is also an annual festival in her honour? The International Agatha Christie Festival takes place in various venues around Torbay, including Greenway itself. Expect talks from popular crime writers, live shows, workshops, children’s events, parties, dances and an evening ball.
Fri 20th – Sun 22nd October: Not just one of the best festivals in Devon, the Dartmouth Food Festival has established a national reputation is a top-10 celebration of all things culinary. Fill up on local delights and pick up some cooking tips directly from the country’s most renowned chefs at this hands-on festival of food.