12 Festival Top Picks
With summer well and truly on the way, check out some of the festivals taking place across Cornwall over the next few months!
Summer is always a busy time, and with so much going on, it can sometimes be hard to decide what to do! Whether you’re into film or folk music, sea shanties or street performance, there truly is something for everyone happening across the county this summer.
Read on to find out more about a small sample from the hundreds of events taking place – and check out our listings where you can see the full range!
1. Golowan Festival
Fri 16th — Sun 25th June
Various Locations, Penzance
Penzance’s Golowan Festival is a 10-day festival of arts, performances, culture and parades. It’s the UK’s second-largest street festival; based on the traditional Cornish midsummer festivals that were all the rage in the 18th & 19th centuries, particularly in the Penzance area.
Wonderful parades, music, theatre, dance, fireworks and children’s entertainment, this year centred around the theme ‘Our Town, Our Planet’!
2. International Sea Shanty Festival at The Working Boat
Fri 16th — Sun 18th June, 2023
The Working Boat, Falmouth
Europe’s largest free nautical music festival returns to Falmouth this June and it promises to be a good old knees up!
As proud sponsors of the festival, The Working Boat beer tent will once again be one of the main stages for this incredibly popular Falmouth event – so come down and join in the fun!
Expect thigh-slapping, beer-swashing, shanty-singing good times as venues across Falmouth host shanty bands from around the world.
3. Tropical Pressure Festival
Fri 14th — Sun 16th July, 2023
Mount Pleasant Eco Park, Porthtowan
Tropical Pressure is the intimate, exclusive festival of the summer, where only 3000 lucky ticket-holders visit the stunning site overlooking the sea at Porthtowan each July.
It curates a positive, dance-inducing and life-affirming line up of music, food, and workshops that celebrate the vibrant cultures of Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. During the day, the arena hosts incredible live bands from all corners of the world, and as the sun sets, world-renowned DJs take over.
But that’s not all – Tropical Pressure Festival is committed to creating the greenest, most eco-friendly festival possible and welcomes all ages from babies to grannies!
4. Fun on the Folly
Sat 5th — Sat 26th August, 2023
Join intoBodmin for a fiesta of street performance on Saturdays throughout August! Featuring family theatre and entertainment from some of the region’s best outdoor performers.
A series of free, fun, family-orientated live performances to be held in the centre of Bodmin on selected dates over the school summer holidays. Fun on the Folly will create an accessible and relaxed – yet engaging – performance space, creating vibrancy in the town centre and welcoming audiences to sit down and stay a while, or to just pause as they pass by.
Bringing summer fun into the heart of the town for local people and supporting the high street.
5. The Splendid Film Festival
Sat 23rd September, 2023
Watergate Farm, Trewennack
A bespoke international film festival in a beautiful setting on the outskirts of Helston.
Open the Box Arts is a female led artist collaboration between Melanie Young and Caroline Schanche, who aim to create socially engaged arts projects with diverse groups of people, particularly people who may feel excluded from mainstream culture and to create beautiful performances and installations that shine a light on the mysterious process of grief, loss and its resolution.
Themed around choreography and sound score with five screens to explore in woodland and field, with guest curators, fire and wonder.
6. St Endellion Summer Festival 2023
Tue 1st — Fri 11th August, 2023
Collegiate Church of St Endellion, Port Isaac
International musicians passionately present a sumptuous programme of concerts, chamber music and a fully staged opera.
This year includes performances of Verdi’s La Traviata and Rachmaninov’s second Symphony, alongside a well-curated programme of works by composers ancient and modern.
The summer of 2023 sees the launch of a new creative team in joint Artistic Directors Roderick Williams and Joely Koos. They will be combining their experience of myriad festivals over the years with Joely’s expertise in all things instrumental and Roddy’s understanding of choral and solo singing to create a festival programme that satisfies across the board. Their shared sense of fun steeped in decades of professional musicianship at the highest level, will bring a very particular sparkle to the 2023 Summer Festival. There will be plenty on offer for the keenest music lover – from Verdi’s glorious and heart-breaking opera La Traviata to Rachmaninov’s sumptuous second symphony – while also promoting music and musicians less often presented on the concert platform. The 2023 Festival truly seeks to offer something for everyone.
7. 3 Wishes Fairy Festival
Fri 16th June, 2023 — Sun 18th June, 2023
Mount Edgcumbe Country House and Park, Torpoint
Enjoy 3 days and nights of fairy delight as you fly away with the fairies at the award-winning 3 Wishes Fairy Festival in Cornwall. Celebrating seventeen years in fairyland! Cornwall’s 3 Wishes Fairy Festival is hailed as the UK’s first most magical and unique family friendly fairy festival!
With three music stages, more than 100+ workshops and activities, camping and glamping, hot water showers, flush loos, delicious plant-based refreshments, food and sweet treats, daily (optional) dress themes including Green-men, Pirates, Mermaids, Flower Fairies and Gnomes!
Music from Mediaeval Baebes, 3 Daft Monkeys, Professor Elemental, The Dolmen, Celtic Giants, SeeD and more!
8. Cornwall Folk Festival
Thu 24th August — Mon 28th August, 2023
Wadebridge Town Hall, Wadebridge
On August Bank Holiday the 50th Cornwall Folk Festival welcomes folk greats from across the UK and from the rich seam of musical ability in Cornwall and the Southwest.
Wadebridge, North Cornwall, has hosted the festival – which mixes traditional and contemporary Celtic and British folk – most years since 1972.
The town centre event runs over five days, with headline concerts, a dance, and multiple showcases of local talent. In the town’s pubs, cafes and streets will be a myriad of performers and dancers.
9. Mevagissey Feast Week
Sun 25th June — Sat 1st July, 2023
Various Locations, Mevagissey
Mevagissey Feast Week celebrates the Feast of St Peter, starting with a trawler race & fish parade on Fish Sunday.
Fish Feast day features exhibitions, demonstrations, live music and lots of fish dishes to eat. Other events include choirs and bands, flora dances, children’s entertainment and competitions, plus colourful parades, boat and raft races a fete and a huge firework display!
10. Cornwall Tattoo Convention
Sat 19th — Sun 20th August, 2023
Royal Cornwall Show Grounds Event Centre, Wadebridge
At the convention you will find over 100 tattoo artists from the across the UK and the world. You can get tattooed on the day, but please get in early to ensure you get booked in with your favourite artist! Artists charge for their tattooing time so please bear this in mind!
The Convention is an explosion of art, music and alternative performing arts; hear great music you’ve never heard before, join in with workshops, experience the art, get inked by some of Cornwall’s and the world’s most prestiged artists.
Also we will have a ride variety of trade stands selling the most unique merchandise on the market today!
11. St Ives September Festival
Sat 9th — Sat 23rd September, 2023
Various Locations, St Ives
A 15 day festival of music and arts in St Ives, with a huge choice of events to enjoy including music, theatre, film, poetry, walks, talks & exhibitions.
With over 30 different venues hosting varying events, there’s so much to take part in and enjoy!
St Ives artists will also throw open their studios and all are welcome to participate in arts and crafts workshops!
12. Lafrowda Festival
Sun 9th July — Sat 15th July, 2023
Various Locations, St-Just-in-Penwith
Roll up, roll up! The annual Lafrowda Festival is back for the first time since 2019!
We kick start on Sunday the 9th of July beginning a week of community events celebrating the best of local art and music and finishing on Saturday the 15th with the main event, Lafrowda day itself!
The festival will return with all the things you remember and love including community parades, a wide range of music and dance performances, buggy racing and plenty more things that we are busy planning!