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Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

Join in the annual Jazz Festival at The Pantiles

by David Hodgkinson

Live Music & Festivals in Tunbridge Wells

If you’re looking for a Glastonbury-style feel good festival, come to Tunbridge Wells for a cheaper, cleaner, fun-filled, friendlier experience.

Annual festivals in this area are numerous, lively and varied with more popping up each year..

Tunbridge Wells is in the middle of rural Kent with acres of beautiful meadows to host such events away from city life.

The town of Royal Tunbridge Wells is the main hub for the area. It is on the main railway line between Hastings and London stations, only 55 minutes by train from London and 45 minutes from Hastings.

Many festivals are free, including the music festival Local & Live, Jazz on the Pantiles, UnFest and the Mela, which are all in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Live outdoor music

Jazz on the Pantiles is a popular and well loved festival having been going for more than 20 years in the town’s remaining bandstand. This event starts in May, goes on till September and enlivens the tender English summer evenings out on the pedestrianised Pantiles terraces.

The Pantiles Jazz Festival by David Hodgkinson

Every Thursday night from 7.30pm, soak up the warmth of the atmosphere, enjoy the cool beats and sip on a local wine, juice or ale from one of the many classy bars, cafés, or restaurants. It does get busy so book into a joint for a relaxed view otherwise you can dance your socks off!

Unfest is an annual local music and arts fringe festival for Tunbridge Wells and the South East region organised by the Forum music venue. It is held every Spring Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

This will appeal to indie music and art lovers. The festival centres around The Forum (a highly acclaimed music venue) on Fonthill in Royal Tunbridge Wells town, and pubs on the Pantiles and the High Street.

Last year for the first time, the Art Gallery & Museum hosted performers too! There were spoken word, poetry and readings from award winning writers.

It usually all kicks off at 6pm on Friday of the Spring Bank Holiday and goes on until late on Spring Bank Holiday Monday. Come and experience something creative, inspiring and Tunbridge Wellian!

Don't forget the art pop up installations too. The list of performances across the town was a mile long so do check their website for full details.

Alfresco is a new addition to the festival schedule in and around Tunbridge Wells. Three days of family friendly music and activities will be held during the Spring Bank Holiday in late May.

This event has spent the last few years in Blackpool but has now fallen in love with Colebrook Lakes near the A21 in Tunbridge Wells.

There will be overnight camping, 4 stages of music (you should see the length of the list!) as well as cool activities for children: roller disco, magic shows, balloon modelling, graffitti - oh this list is too long as well!!

Bedgebury Forest Live, next to Goudhurst village, is famously anticipated every year in June.  The Forest has welcomed Tom Jones, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, Debbie Harry, Erasure, and Keane to name- drop a few greats! Bring your own chairs and picnic.

On 7-9th July is the Live Expressions Festival at Colebrook Lakes again. Glamping, camping, rocking, funking and more, a summer feel good family festival in the sticks!

Book your camping on site for a 3 day weekend. Suitable for ages 5 and up. You could splash out and book a luxury bell tent with furnishings!

A mere 50 mins or so from the centre of London the nearest train station is High Brooms, the station between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

But get your skates on, this late night extravaganza sells out fast.

A family festival, Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Local & Live is a lively town–centric music festival held in August to make the most of the long bank holiday weekend (and possibly some nice weather!). People and bands arrive from far and wide to enjoy and partake in the music making.

This eclectic fringe-music festival pours out across the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells to the pubs and cafés.

The railway station is in the heart of the festival happenings and being only 50 minutes from London, makes it an ideal weekend break for couples and friends.

The main man, Paul Dunton, organsies this event with the help of other local businesses and venues, as well as numerous other music events throughout the year. He is a passionate local musician who likes to keep the music 'Local & Live'!

And Roger Daltry, no less, has recognised the success of this annual event so why would you miss out?

Local Celebrities and Celebrating Local

The Tulip Festival at Pashley Manor Gardens is the highlight of any gardeners’ calendar.  You have to see it to believe it – such a stunning vivid mass and range of colours from only one type of bulb!

For all day family fun, the Mela celebrates the diversity of the local community through music, visual arts, food and dance. Join this lively event in July, taste the delights of India, Bangladesh, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and South America in Calverley Grounds.

The Cricket Festival, held at the end of May over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, is four day’s worth of cricket and tasting local food and drink.

The Nevill Cricket Ground in Tunbridge Wells was named as one of the best outgrounds in the country by The Independent Newspaper in April 2015.

For something totally different go to the Summer Steam Festival on during the first weekend of July at the Spa Valley Railway. Lots of different experiences to try, come and find out more.

At the latter end of July, the War and Peace Revival returns to the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood after a 2 year break. This is now a five day show and up to 2015 had been going continuously for 25 years.

This is a week of celebrating the lifestyle of the first half of the 20th century and military might from all over the globe.

Day tickets or camping on site is available. It is only 8 miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells by road and there is plenty of parking.

The nearest mainline railway station is Paddock Wood which is a short taxi ride away. The number 6 Arriva bus transports you right to the venue entrance from Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Maidstone directions.

The Full Fat Milk Fest is held on August bank holiday weekend at The Milkhouse Pub in Sissinghurst in conjunction with Produced in Kent – it’s all about local delicacies as well as a weekend of live music and fun for all the family!

For much more of the local delicacies, join us for the inaugural Royal Tunbridge Wells Food Festival encompassing the annual Pantiles Food Festival  in September 2017!

Arts, Classical and Theatre Festivals

In May, the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival is now a 3 day event thanks to its continuing success. Listen to Terry Waite, Adam Sisman or 19 other literary speakers give fascinating talks on their tales.

Workshops are available too.

Hever Theatre Festival provides dramatic entertainment in the open air in July for adults and families to enjoy. 

From comedy to cinema, musicals to drama you cannot fail to enjoy this outdoor event in such an opulent backdrop as Hever Castle, a veritable fairy tale. 

Look out for the programme in our What’s On schedule.

A new festival to the scene is the two day Cranbrook Literature Festival. Cosy up with like-minded people every 2 years at the end of September and hear great authors’ talks. 

In 2016 Alex Preston, Vanessa Nicolson, Dave McKean, Julian Clary and Giles Brandreth were some of the celebrities who shared their experiences with audiences.  The next is in 2018.

The Wadhurst Arts Festival, started in 1996, is held every September in the heart of the Wealden countryside.  Pay a visit to this ancient historic English village dating from the 7th or 8th century to view local artists’ work.

You can also take in Scotney Castle in nearby Lamberhurst village, another ancient and historic settlement, or a pub lunch near Lamberhurst vineyard. 

Classical musical festival - violin player

The Frant Music Festival is a year long festival of some of the greatest names in opera, jazz and classical music in the world. Held in the local church in the Wealden countryside only a couple of miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells, St Albans has "unsurpassed accoustics".

The RTW International Music Festival takes place from mid September to mid October.

Showcasing renowned international talent in the fields of classical and jazz music, the 2015 programme included a performance by soprano Dame Felicity Lott. 2016 saw the return of star soloists Michael Collins, Michael McHale and Jeni Bern.

Various venues across the borough host the performances giving you a chance to experience the country scenery and authentic history of the area.

The Lamberhurst Music Festival is a classical annual music festival held in the local church and village hall.  Delivered with style and passion, this has been going for at least 15 years now and continues to be eagerly anticipated.

October 2017 sees the return of the Puppetry Festival to various venues across Tunbridge Wells. Keep an eye on the What’s On entry for further details to come.

Beer and cider festivals still remain popular in this hop and apple growing part of the world. In particular we must mention the Spa Valley Railway CAMRA festival Real Ale and Diesel Gala in Autumn.  This is now the second largest hop festival in the South East.

Many of the villages across the borough have their own village festivals which pop up exclusively for one or two years only such as beer and music festivals, like the Cranbrook Apple Fair and not just during summer months! 

Basket of local apples, cider and juice

Bookmark the What’s On listings for more events going on in September to December and keep an eye on it for once in a lifetime opportunities and memories. 

These numerous imaginative events are testament to the sense of fun, cultural appreciation and beauty the Weald has to offer.   

Where do I stay? how do I get there?

Book your accommodation early to allow yourself to be fully immersed in the festival vibes and soak up the rural flavours.

There are plenty of taxis that can ferry you back and forth, your accommodation provider can help with this or contact the Tourist Information Office.

If you stay a little longer in the Garden of England, you can experience so many wonderful country pubs and restaurants in the area. It’s the Tunbridge Wells sensation!

Browse the site for plenty more events and exhibitions; more detail can be found in the What’s On listings nearer the times of the occasions themselves.

External Link

Unfest

Number of items:

Number of items: 108

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  1. Frant Music Festival

    Frant, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Frant Music Festival is on again this year in St Alban's Church in Frant. The festival has hosted internationally acclaimed artists from all over the world.

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    20 Oct 2017 To 20 Oct 2017
    From:
    17 Nov 2017 To 17 Nov 2017
  2. Heritage Open Days In Tunbridge Wells

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Heritage Open Days celebrate England's architecture and culture by allowing visitors free access to interesting properties that are either not usually open, or would normally charge an entrance fee.

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    7 Sep 2017 To 10 Sep 2017
  3. Add Springlines Exhibition at The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery to your Itinerary

    Springlines Exhibition at The Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Exhibition of paintings, photographs and poetry exploring the beauty of hidden and mysterious bodies of water.

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    9 Jun 2017 To 14 Oct 2017
  4. Young Nature Hunters & Mini Beast Safaris at various parks

    Add Young Nature Hunters & Mini Beast Safaris at various parks to your Itinerary

    Young Nature Hunters & Mini Beast Safaris at various parks

    Mount Pleasant, Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Young Nature Hunters & Mini Beast Safaris
    Free bug hunts around Tunbridge Wells every Thursday through the holidays.

    Type

    Workshop

    Dates

    From:
    10 Aug 2017 To 31 Aug 2017
  5. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Tonight its the Cuban salsa band Clave 32 on stage.
    Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    17 Aug 2017 To 17 Aug 2017
  6. Add The September Art Exhibition to your Itinerary

    The September Art Exhibition

    Wadhurst

    Established in 1996, come and see the September Art Exhibition, which is celebrating it's 21st birthday in Wadhurst this year!

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    8 Sep 2017 To 17 Sep 2017
  7. Add Open Air Cinema - Back to The Future at The Spa Hotel to your Itinerary

    Open Air Cinema - Back to The Future at The Spa Hotel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Watch the classic Back to The Future at our Open Air Cinema, held in our stunning grounds on 22nd September!

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    22 Sep 2017 To 22 Sep 2017
  8. Add The Penshurst Vintage & Antiques Fair to your Itinerary

    The Penshurst Vintage & Antiques Fair

    Penshurst

    Come and find fashionable Vintage, French Brocante and Antiques for the home and garden. Enjoy homemade cakes and tea from Rose & Olive.

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    26 Aug 2017 To 28 Aug 2017
  9. Add Royal Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival to your Itinerary

    Royal Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Tunbridge Wells Food and Drink Festival will be held in Calverley Grounds and is the culmination of Tunbridge Wells Food Month.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    23 Sep 2017 To 24 Sep 2017
  10. Add Pantiles Food Festival to your Itinerary

    Pantiles Food Festival

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Stalls selling gastronomic goodies, fine wines, craft beers

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    8 Sep 2017 To 10 Sep 2017
  11. Add 7th CAMRA Real Ale and Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway to your Itinerary

    7th CAMRA Real Ale and Diesel Gala at the Spa Valley Railway

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Our major Real Ale and Cider event is back for its 7th year!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    20 Oct 2017 To 22 Oct 2017
  12. Add Dinosaurs to Rule at Royal Victoria Place This Summer to your Itinerary

    Dinosaurs to Rule at Royal Victoria Place This Summer

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Experience the most amazing creatures that walked the Earth come alive this summer at Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells. Watch them move, roar and even breathe!

    Type

    Participatory Event

    Dates

    From:
    1 Aug 2017 To 28 Aug 2017
  13. Add Milk Fest 2017 at The Milk House to your Itinerary

    Milk Fest 2017 at The Milk House

    Sissinghurst

    Milk Fest 2017
    A food and music festival in Sissinghurst for all the family this August Bank Holiday from Friday 25th August to Monday 28th August.

    Type

    Festival

    Dates

    From:
    25 Aug 2017 To 28 Aug 2017
  14. Add Summer Maize Maze Penshurst Place and Gardens to your Itinerary

    Summer Maize Maze Penshurst Place and Gardens

    Tonbridge

    The Penshurst Maize Maze is back from 15th July-3rd September!

    Type

    Competition / Game

    Dates

    From:
    15 Jul 2017 To 3 Sep 2017
  15. Add Artful Ladies Art Exhibition at Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society to your Itinerary

    Artful Ladies Art Exhibition at Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Art exhibition by Mary Bradley and Ann Martin (members of Royal Tunbridge Wells Art Society)

    Type

    Exhibition

    Dates

    From:
    19 Aug 2017 To 28 Aug 2017
  16. Add The Moscow State Circus at Dunorlan Park to your Itinerary

    The Moscow State Circus at Dunorlan Park

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    The Moscow State Circus present their new production - ' GOSTINITSA'

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    31 Aug 2017 To 3 Sep 2017

    Venue

    Dunorlan Park, Royal Tunbridge Wells

  17. Add Tunbridge Wells Jazz Club: live jazz concert, (parking, bar, snacks and raffle). to your Itinerary

    Tunbridge Wells Jazz Club: live jazz concert, (parking, bar, snacks and raffle).

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Live jazz concert with The Man Overboard Quintet,- a talented swing group

    Type

    Concert

    Dates

    From:
    1 Sep 2017 To 1 Sep 2017
  18. Add Support Local Pop Up Shopping Event at One Warwick Park Hotel to your Itinerary

    Support Local Pop Up Shopping Event at One Warwick Park Hotel

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    "Support Local" Pop Up - Shopping Event 10th September at One Warwick Park

    Type

    Fete / Fair

    Dates

    From:
    10 Sep 2017 To 10 Sep 2017
  19. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    Project 5 on stage tonight! Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    31 Aug 2017 To 31 Aug 2017
  20. Add Jazz on the Pantiles 2017 to your Itinerary

    Jazz on the Pantiles 2017

    Royal Tunbridge Wells

    George Anderson on the Bandstand. Live jazz at the Bandstand on the Pantiles every Thursday from 7pm throughout the summer in 2017.

    Type

    Performance

    Dates

    From:
    24 Aug 2017 To 24 Aug 2017

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