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Latitude Festival sign (c) Sam Neill

THE BEST FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK in 2018

Festivals in Suffolk are more varied than anywhere else in the country. From the UK’s leading music and arts festival to a festival celebrating Brazilian culture and another dedicated entirely to seafood, there’s a Suffolk festival for every interest. With so many festivals to choose from, we simply haven’t been able to mention them all, but here are some of the very best to get you started:
FlipSide Festival in SuffolkFlipside Festival at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast

MUSIC FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

ALDEBURGH FESTIVAL
8th - 24th JUNE

Founded by Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten, Peters Pears, and Eric Crozier in 1948, the Aldeburgh Festival is a bastion of classical music at home on the beautiful Suffolk Coast. Each year the 17-day festival goes from strength to strength, with a programme that presents classical music in increasingly innovative ways.

MAVERICK FESTIVAL
6th - 8th JULY

With a programme that spans the Atlantic, Maverick Festival at Easton Farm Park brings roots and americana music to Suffolk in what’s been hailed as one of the “friendliest, most sincere festivals in England,” and the number one UK festival for any lover of Americana.
Maverick Festival 2018Maverick Festival 2018

LATITUDE FESTIVAL
12th - 15th JULY

Winner of the Best Major Festival Award at UK Festival Awards in 2017, Latitude Festival has already proved itself to be one of the best festivals in the country. Featuring an eclectic mix of literature, comedy, theatre, dance, poetry and some of the world’s greatest musicians, Latitude simply has it all, and a beautiful lakeside setting on The Suffolk Coast to boot.

SNAPE PROMS
1st - 31st AUGUST

30 summer nights, 30 concerts in the world-class Snape Maltings Concert Hall on The Suffolk Coast. The Snape Proms feature musicians from all over the world playing a spectacular mix of genres and styles, with a little bit of poetry and comedy thrown in.
Snape Maltings Concert Hall (c) Matt JollyThe Snape Maltings Concert Hall is home to several Suffolk festivals. Photo (c) Matt Jolly

FOLKEAST
17th - 19th AUGUST

Folk music and culture is deeply ingrained in Suffolk, and FolkEast Festival celebrates this ancient link like no other. A unique combination of folk music, food and crafts, all “suffused with good vibrations” has won FolkEast it’s place among the UK’s top folk festivals, a position that’s wholeheartedly deserved. This year's line-up puts the spotlight on legendary bands Oysterband and Show of Hands, and offers a range of satellite events, including The Art Arcade where the region's finest artists and craftspeople proffer their wares, along with a number of demonstrations and workshops.

“FolkEast feels more like a very English village fete than a festival” The Guardian.

FolkEast Festival in Suffolk (c) John HealdFolkEast Festival in Suffolk (c) John Heald

Maui Waui Festival
24th - 26th August

Maui Waui Festival, now in its 6th year, is a 3-day international festival of music, performance and arts, with a special focus on family-friendly events and kids. With a rather unique line-up, including a mix of accomplished and undiscovered bands from around the globe, this year sees the expansion of the kid’s area, including a themed Pirates Party on 11th and 12th May and packed full of additional activities, including lots to make and do! The good thing is, children 13 years and under are free!

RED ROOSTER,
31st May - 2nd June

Replicating the soulful atmosphere of the American deep south, Red Rooster brings the finest rhythm and blues, americana, blues, soul, roots and country musicians to Suffolk for a weekend of nothing but great music, great food and great times. Based at Euston Hall, this year announces the headline act of the Brooklyn based 10-piece High and Mighty Band, renowned for celebrating the best of blues, roots and Americana.
Kids at Latitude Festival (c) Marc Sethi / Latitude FestivalKids love Latitude Festival, and who could blame them?
Photo (c) Marc Sethi

Also see our Music Festivals blog for more inspiration!

LITERARY FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

FELIXSTOWE BOOK FESTIVAL
27th June - 1st JULY

Among the newest literary festivals in Suffolk, the Felixstowe Book Festival has a love for reading at its core. With talks from writers and novelists hailing from many different genres, it describes itself as a festival ‘for those who always have their head buried in a book and those who haven’t yet fully experience the wonder of reading.”

Hosted by the elegant Orwell Hotel (and the odd beach hut!), expect highlights from Dame Jenni Murray on a History of Britain in 21 Women; fiction from Sally Vickers, Liz Trenow, Amanda Craig; Sir Vince Cable with his first thriller; crime, and pop-up events.

The children’s book festival is hands-on with workshops, and horrible history.

Jenni Murray Felixstowe Book FestivalJenni Murray at the Felixstowe Book Festival

ALDEBURGH POETRY FESTIVAL
2nd - 4TH NOVEMBER

Founded in 1989, the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival is one of the oldest and most rewarding events of its kind in the country. The packed weekend programme includes not just poetry readings from some of the world’s finest poets, but discussions, close-readings, poetry workshops and more, allowing you to get closer to poetry than ever before.

WAYS WITH WORDS
8th - 12TH NOVEMBER

This 5-day festival in Southwold, Ways with Words attracts bookworms, literature lovers, writers and intellectuals with an engrossing programme of events, from discussions of art, politics and history to fiction readings and literary dinners.

LAVENHAM LITERARY FESTIVAL
20th - 21st October

Britain’s Best-Preserved Medieval Village provides a magical backdrop for this literary festival, which features readings and discussions from a wide range of authors, and across a broad range of genres. History meets crime writing, biography meets fiction, writers meet readers, and all are left inspired.
Lavenham, SuffolkThe picture-perfect village of Lavenham, a Suffolk 'Wool Town'

FLIPSIDE FESTIVAL
2018 DATES T.B.C.

A festival like no other, FlipSide makes Brazilian and British culture collide in an explosive 3-day party on The Suffolk Coast. Alongside talks and readings from the best Brazilian and British novelists, festival-goers can dance to Samba, taste Brazilian food, admire art and take part in various workshops.
The Scallop on Aldeburgh beachIt's no surprise Aldeburgh is the spiritual home of poetry in Suffolk

VISUAL ARTS FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

SOUTHWOLD ARTS FESTIVAL
23rd - 30th June

Starting in 2014, Southwold Arts Festival is now in its 5th year and takes place every summer. Southwold is the backdrop and is host to artists, poets, writers, actors and musicians for a week-long showcase of the arts that fills the streets and venues of this seaside town. Guests inlcude Mica Paris and Barry Cryer.

PhotoEast
24th May - 24th June

PhotoEast returns to Suffolk for a second year and we can’t wait! This biennial photography festival brings together over 30 internationally renowned photographers around the 2018 festival theme of Belonging. Artist's work will be exhibited in gallery spaces, shipping containers, cafés and outdoor billboards along Ipswich Waterfront during this month-long event. Top billing goes to Mark Power’s ‘Shipping Forecast’; a nod to the BBC’s radio broadcast and uniquely British institution.

Whether you’re a keen photographer or have an appreciation of the art, come along and be inspired, whilst taking in the local sites of Ipswich.

PhotoEast 2018Photo by Matt Eich, PhotoEast 2018

ART ON THE PROM
2nd SEPTEMBER

Felixstowe’s annual Art on the Prom festival is a contemporary art fair which takes place on the town’s seafront promenade, where over a hundred artists display and sell their original artwork for over 20,000 visitors. Don't forget to visit Felixstowe Seafront Gardens during your visit.

ALDEBURGH DOCFEST
2nd - 4th November

This rich documentary festival has been running for over twenty years, and is a must-visit for anyone interested in documentaries and filmmaking. Documentary films from all over the world and covering a range of illuminating topics are screened at Aldeburgh Cinema, each followed by an in-depth discussion with the filmmaker.
SPILL Festival (c) Luca Del Pia"Cutting edge, crackpot theatre" – The Guardian review of SPILL Festival
Photo (c) Luca Del Pia

PERFORMING ARTS FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

SPILL FESTIVAL OF PERFORMANCE
25th October - 4th November

Curated by the visionary Pacitti Company, SPILL is a bi-annual festival of experimental theatre taking place in Ipswich, Suffolk’s county town. It brings daring new works of performance by new and established artists to the fore – at times challenging, and always thought-provoking.

HIGHTIDE FESTIVAL
11th - 16th SEPTEMBER

Every year, HighTide brings stunning works of new theatre, comedy, exhibitions and readings to Suffolk over the course of a 6-day festival on The Suffolk Coast, including world premieres of plays by hand-picked playwrights. It’s billed as “adventurous theatre for adventurous people,” and doesn’t disappoint.

 

BURY ST EDMUNDS FESTIVAL
18th - 27TH MAY

The Bury St Edmunds Festival offers ten packed days of music, theatre, film and exhibitions in the heart of one of Suffolk’s most historic towns. With concerts and performances happening in various locations around Bury St Edmunds, festival goers have a chance to see internationally renowned artists and local talent such as Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, UB40 and the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra. Don't forget to do a spot of sightseeing in this vibrant and historic town!

PULSE FESTIVAL
31st May - 9th June

Curated by the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Pulse Festival offers up a delectable selection of new plays, including a “Scratch Day” of works in progress, during which plays at various stages of composition are performed before the audience, who can then give the artists feedback. This year includes critically acclaimed magician artist Vincent Gambini who appears with a pre-Edinburgh preview of new show The Chore of Enchantment on the 2nd June. The festival ends with the almost entirely imagined Bon Jovi musical WE’VE GOT EACH OTHER, by Paul O’Donnell.

FOOD FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

Newmarket Food & Drink Festival
15th - 16th September

New to the food and drink festival line-up, we introduce the Newmarket Food and Drink Festival. Located in the very heart of bustling Newmarket, Palace Street to be exact, the festival offers demos by celebrity chefs, tastings, live music and plenty of authentic food and drink found nowhere else.  

BURY ST EDMUNDS FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL
26th - 27th August

At this free food and drink festival in Bury St Edmunds, foodies can sample some of the delicious treats Suffolk has to offer, meet and buy from local producers, and watch live cookery demonstrations by Michelin-starred and critically-acclaimed chefs.

ALDEBURGH FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL
29th - 30TH SEPTEMBER

Recognised as one of the top food festivals in the country, Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival attracts foodies from far and wide to Suffolk for a hedonistic weekend of tasting, talking about and discovering the rich variety of East Anglian produce. Following the main festival weekend are three weeks of fringe events, ranging from chocolate-making workshops to pop-up restaurants.
Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival 2018Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival at Snape Maltings by bokeh photographic

THE WOODBRIDGE SHUCK
22nd - 23rd September

Lovers of seafood should not miss out on the annual Woodbridge Shuck, a shellfish festival that takes place in Woodbridge by the beautiful River Deben. Expect fresh Suffolk seafood in various international dishes, safari suppers, seasonal markets and more.

The great FRAMLINGHAM SAUSAGEFEST
14th OCTOBER

This autumnal festival in Framlingham takes the humble sausage to all new heights. Alongside numerous workshops, activities and entertainment is the all important sausage trail, on which festival goers can hunt out delicious sausage samples from competing local producers, and vote which sizzler should be crowned the winner.

TASTE OF SUDBURY FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL
10th JUNE

At this charming food festival in the historic town of Sudbury, the food stalls range from a mouth-watering champagne and salmon bar to a stalls chock-full of handmade ice-creams. A Taste of Sudbury also boasts a fun programme of events, often including Guinness World Record attempts and demonstrations by much-loved local chefs.
Alde Valley Spring Festival (c) Rob HaworthAlde Valley Spring Festival celebrates food, farming and the landscape
Photo (c) Rob Howarth

CRAFT FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

WEIRD & WONDERFUL WOOD
19th - 20th May

Festivals in Suffolk don’t come more extraordinary that Weird & Wonderful Wood, a two-day event that brings together anyone and everyone with a passion for woodwork. You’ll be able to meet over one hundred artists and craftspeople, and watch them as they work their magic, shaping wood into extraordinary creations. And of course, there’ll be workshops for you to have a go yourself!

Active and Sporting FESTIVALS IN SUFFOLK

THE SUFFOLK WALKING FESTIVAL
12th May - 3rd JUNE

What better way to get to know Suffolk than exploring its loveliest landscapes on foot? Taking place over three weeks every spring, the Suffolk Walking Festival offers thousands of walkers the chance to join 120 guided walks across the county, through countryside, forests, heaths, towns and villages, and along 50 miles of coast.
The Challenge WalkSuffolk Walking Festival 2018

THE EAST ANGLIAN DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
11th August

The ancient Chinese tradition of Dragon Boat racing has boomed in popularity over recent years, and at this festival in Oulton Broad, you can join several thousand other spectators to watch around 40 crews battle it out on the water in an attempt to become Suffolk’s Dragon Boat champions.

THE MÖET & CHANDON JULY FESTIVAL
12th - 14TH JULY

Newmarket’s July Festival is one of the most prestigious and thrilling sporting events in the country. Over an adrenaline-fuelled weekend in which punters, bookies, fashionistas and the hierarchs of the horse racing world all rub shoulders together, you can watch the world’s greatest jockeys and racehorses thunder round the July Course in a series of season-defining races.
Ladies Day at the July Festival in NewmarketDress for the occasion at Newmarket's July Festival

IS YOUR FAVOURITE SUFFOLK FESTIVAL ON THE LIST?

There are countless other festivals in Suffolk that we haven’t been able to include in this list. If there’s a Suffolk festival that you think is worth a mention, tell us all about it via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!