Festivals for the over-50s

17 January 2017 ( 24 May 2017 )

We bring you our selection of fantastic festivals to add to your 2017 diary, from across the UK plus a few other festivals within easy reach of our shores.

Folk music festivals

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, July 27-30

Held in a lovely parkland setting, the Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the most prestigious folk festivals in the world. 

The 2017 line-up will include Jake Bugg, Oysterband, Lau, Hayseed Dixie and Jon Boden.


Broadstairs Folk Week, Broadstairs, Kent, August 11-18

This folk festival enters its 52nd year in the delightful little Kent coastal town of Broadstairs and showcases hundreds of different events.  

Headline acts include Bob Fox, The Urban Folk Quartet, Lau, The Dylan Project, Monster Ceilidh Band and The Hotfoot Specials, among others.


Fairport's Cropredy Convention, near Banbury, Oxford, August 10-12

Ideal for baby-boomers and their families, this three-day jamboree is renowned not only for its music but its real ales too. You can even take dogs to the festival and arrive by narrowboat. Full line-up details will be online soon but 2016 headliners include Marillion, Feast of Fiddles, The Pierce Brothers and, of course, Fairport Convention.


Jazz festivals

Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival

August 24 - 28, Rye, Sussex.

The festival offers world class headline concerts, free street music, an outdoor performance stage and many fringe music events, making the town come alive with music, fun and vibrancy. 

Headline concerts take place at the stunning and intimate setting of St Mary’s Church throughout the festival and include Hue & Cry, as well as brothers Patrick and Gregory Kane, who will be performing a very special ‘Stripped Back’ concert on Friday 25th August. 

Find out more and book tickets at ryejazz.com

Contemporary music festivals

Glastonbury, Somerset, June 21-25 

The big daddy of them all and not so much a festival as a life experience. If you can get a ticket in the re-sale in April, go! All ages do. There’s something happening on 57 stages across the city-sized event. 


Cornbury Festival

Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, July 7-9

A laid-back, civilised gathering, with a focus on families and decent accommodation, such as glamping and a pop-up hotel. It’s almost a country fair, with added rock music, including Bryan Adams, Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, and The Pretenders.


Latitude Festival, 

Southwold, Suffolk, July 13 -17

will host music highlights including beardy, close-harmony US stars Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and Goldfrapp. A stellar comedy line-up features Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett, Susan Calman and Dom Joly. You can also go swimming in the lake.


Festival No 6, Gwynedd, September 7-10,

This award-winning music/literary festival gets its name from The Prisoner at Portmeirion and provides an eclectic mix of music and culture, hosting everything from intimate performances from iconic bands to amazing installations, surreal street theatre and impromptu interactive happenings. 

Headliners at last year’s festival included Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Super Furry Animals, Hot Chip and Bastille.


Henley Festival, Oxfordshire, July 5-9

This year's line-up is still TBC, but to give you a flavour of Henley's pulling power, last year's Henley Festival along the banks of the stately Thames featured music from Elton John, Dame Shirley Bassey, Elvis Costello and Bryn Terfel. While comedians including Al Murray and Reginald D Hunter performed and an extensive foodie festival provided sustenance. 


Rewind Festivals - Scone Palace, Perth (July 21-23), Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire (August 4-6) and Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire (August 18-20)

This '80s pop nostalgia fest is always a whole lot of fun and it's now spun out in high summer across three different venues, in Scotland, the north and south of England. 

Join in the 80s singalong fest with some of the biggest names from the era.

80s popstars appearing at last year’s festivals included Rick Astley, Adam Ant, Marc Almond, Erasure’s Andy Bell, UB40 and Tony Hadley. So dig out the legwarmers, ‘Frankie Says Relax’ t-shirts and acid wash jeans – and party like it was the 80s!


Classical music festivals

Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, Harrogate Royal Hall, August 4-20

Now in its 24th year, the 2017 programme is yet to be confirmed, but you can visit the website listed below to find out which operas will be performed this year.


Food festivals

'Big Feastival', near Kingham, Oxfordshire, August 25-27

Rock music and food combine very successfully at Jamie Oliver and Alex James’s (ex-bassist of Blur, now a Big Cheese in, er cheese), held on Alex’s beautiful Cotswold farm.

This year's line-up has yet to be announced, but last year, music came from DJ superstar Mark Ronson, Kaiser Chiefs, Ella Henderson, Moloko’s Roisin Murphy, The Proclaimers and The Cuban Brothers.

Food-wise, obviously Jamie usually makes an appearance at his own festival. But other superstar chefs join him on the bill. Last year, Raymond Blanc,Tom Kerridge, Thomasina Miers, and Gizzi Erskine appeared at Feastival.

And as the Big Feastival is a family affair, children’s entertainment comes from Dick and Dom, Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) and Reggie N Bollie. 


Dundee Flower and Food Festival, Dundee, Scotland, September 1-3

Look out for mouth-watering produce and star chefs doing their thing at this three-day show.


Frome Agricultural & Cheese Show, Frome, Somerset, September 9

If you're a cheese lover, then Frome's the place to be one Saturday in September. The grandly-named - and rightly so - Cheese Pavilion is where cheese lovers can pay homage to 1,200 different entries from around the world, vying for prizes in the show's Global Cheese Awards. 


Great Cornish Food Festival, Truro, Cornwall, Dates TBC

Chefs and assorted foodies are on hand to share their expertise in this showcase of Cornwall's abundant and fine produce, which goes way beyond hackneyed old notions of pasties and clotted cream. 


Plymouth Seafood Festival, Plymouth, Devon, September 22-24

Plymouth is proud to have been named as the first city in the world to be given Fish2Fork Blue City status, thanks to its commitment to sustainable fishing. And this festival celebrates all that's good about the port's locally-caught seafood.


Melton Mowbray Food Festival, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, October 7-8

Melton Mowbray is known as the UK's rural capital of food thanks to its pork pies and Stilton cheese. Expect exhibitors galore and the chance to sample exceptional quality food from the East Midlands and further afield.


Literary festivals

Gibraltar Literary Festival, dates TBC

A long weekend of winter sun on the Rock with a literary roll-call of international novelists. Now in its fourth year, it’s still small enough (but big quality) to be intimate and sociable for writers and readers alike. Last year’s programme included appearances from the Rt Hon Lord Paddy Ashdown and Pam Ayres, among others


Folkestone Book Festival, Folkestone, November, exact dates TBC

Literary luminaries who have appeared at the coastal town's literary festival have included Alan Bennett, Beryl Bainbridge, Jonathan Coe, William Dalrymple and many others. Innovative children's events give the young ones in your life a chance to bring their favourite stories to life too.


City festivals in 2017

Grande Braderie de Lille, Lille, France, September 2-3

Lille is easy to get to on Eurostar from London St Pancras International, or by taking the car across the Channel on a Dover to Calais ferry. And when you get there, Europe's largest flea market is a sight to behold. With 62 miles - yes, miles! - of vendors across the streets and squares of the Flemish city, this braderie takes bargain hunting to a whole new level.


Flower and garden festivals in 2017

Chelsea Flower Show, London, May 23-27

The granddaddy of them all - and the highlight of the horticulturist's diary - is set in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. The RHS's flagship flower show is dwarfed in size by much larger shows like the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. However, Chelsea's trendsetting show gardens set the pace for the year ahead. What's happening in Chelsea this year will be popping up in a garden near you very soon.


Other festivals

Port Elliot Festival

St Germans, Cornwall, July 27 -30

Is it a musical festival? Foodie delight? Craft fair? This burgeoning gathering in beautiful south-east Cornwall is very hard to pin down. You can find everything from classes in pottery and bee-keeping to music from the likes of Nick Lowe and Saint Etienne. Then there’s talks and comedy from writers and performers such as Andrew O’Hagan, John Shuttleworth and Rowen Pelling, wellbeing workshops, science displays, and a wide range of upmarket food and drink stalls.


Chalke Valley History Festival

Dorset, June 26 – July 2

Step back in time with a festival that has a rather different focus: history. They’ll be talks from Dan Snow, Max Hastings, Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman. Living history displays include Celtic wheat grinding, Roman camp recreations, traditional Anglo Saxon craft making and a First World War trench. There’s also an airshow, featuring some of the most iconic planes from the Second World War – particularly Britain’s only flying Lancaster.


Compiled by Andy Stevens and other contributors.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.