The Lake District (and Keswick in particular) has become somewhat of a hub for exceptional entertainment with record breaking numbers of visitors attending epic festivals every year.
Not only do the local festivals boast incredible entertainment, but the choice of festivals available to the public is now so diverse, meaning that there really is something for everyone in the Lakes.
With the 2019 Keswick Mountain Festival wrapping up after yet another successful weekend, we wanted to explore the best festivals that are held annually in our humble hometown.
1. Keswick Mountain Festival
Of course, the Keswick Mountain Festival had to bag the top spot in our list.
The festival’s impressive ‘set-list’ of activities includes: inspiring talks from influential speakers, recreational sports and activities plus a fabulous line-up of live music acts to help you dance the night away.
Keswick Mountain Festival has brought with it some recognisable headlining acts, such as the Spice Girls’ Mel C , KT Tunstall and Scouting for Girls. Not to mention a cracking selection of tribute acts, bringing us top hits we can all sing along to.
It really comes as no surprise that the tourist industry in the Lake District is booming when you blend an area of impeccable natural beauty with unmissable entertainment in this ingenious fashion.
2. Keswick Midsummer Festival
Our second favourite festival is the Keswick Midsummer Festival, which unlike any other festival on this list, is completely FREE! Spread out across 3 days during June (28th – 30th in 2019), the Midsummer Festival offers something different each day.
On the Friday night you can experience the Midsummer Rock Concert, a free gig where a big stage is set up in front of the Moot Hall in the heart of Keswick. Live acts show up to entertain the townsfolk and the local pubs will provide you with plastic cups so you can take your drinks outside to enjoy the music! What’s more, Lake District Hotels is actually the main sponsor of the Rock Show this year and we were last year too!
For somewhat of a more sophisticated affair, on the Saturday make your way to the scenic Fitz Park where you can witness Keswick’s ‘Proms in the Park’. Inspired by the renowned BBC event of the same name, sip on a glass of Pimms from the pop-up stalls as you enjoy popular classical music and opera on the luscious grass. We sponsored Keswick’s ‘Proms in the Park’ back in 2017.
To wrap up the weekend, on the Sunday you can re-visit Fitz Park for the ‘Scruffs’ fun dog show. This totally paw-some event allows you to enter your dog across a range of categories from ‘waggiest tail’ to ‘best biscuit catcher’. There are plenty of prizes to be won so if you think your canine friend is up to the challenge, be sure to stop by. We sponsor a ‘Scruffs’ category every year and this year it’s the ‘Most Handsome Dog – Cross Breed’ category. The winning dog will win its owner Afternoon Tea for two at the Borrowdale Hotel.
3. Keswick Beer Festival
What happens when you mix a picturesque Lake District location with kegs of independent ales and entertaining live music? A recipe for a fabulous weekend we think! Throw in a tent for people to take cover from the unpredictable Cumbrian weather and Bob’s your uncle!
Our third pick is unsurprisingly the Keswick Beer Festival, now in its 23rd year taking place on the 7th – 8th June 2019. Each year the beer festival is held on the grounds of Keswick Rugby Club which has to be one of the most picturesque rugby grounds in the entire country.
Sample the abundance of beers available while you admire the sight of Skiddaw gazing down on you on the horizon. If you do tire of the view, there is live music inside the beer tent to entertain you as the sun goes down. Ciders are also available for anyone who doesn’t have a taste for beer.
There are still some tickets left for the Friday for the 2019 festival but you’ll have to be quick.
4. Keswick Jazz and Blues Festival
Whether you’re a jazz enthusiast or you’re just looking for a different kind of experience, the Keswick Jazz Festival makes for an unmissable event. The Jazz Festival is set up similar to the Edinburgh Fringe, as musical presentations take place at various venues across the town.
The festival takes place over the space of 4 days, with a great selection of entertainment for each venue. Experience the sounds and atmosphere of New Orleans right from the heart of the British Lake District.
The Jazz Festival has been and gone this year already, but it’s definitely one to bear in mind for next year which runs from 7th – 10th May 2020. The festival falls on the second weekend in May every year.
5. Keswick Film Festival
Throwing yet another genre of festival into the mix, the Keswick Film Festival is the final annual event to make our favourites list. This arthouse festival is organised by the Keswick Film Club in association with Theatre by the Lake.
The festival is Cumbria’s answer to the Sundance Film Festival, showcasing a range of independent short films by local filmmakers as well as independent, full-length cinema listings from across the world.
Expect moving dramas and engaging documentaries, as well as screenings of prize-winning films from Cannes, Toronto and other prestigious film festivals. Films are shown at both the Theatre by the Lake and the Alhambra Cinema over a period of a few days.
The Keswick Film Festival is held toward the end of February and sometimes runs into the first week of March.