Wilkswood Reggae Festival 2023
Starts: 21st Jul 2023
Wilkswood Farm, Swanage, Dorset
Three days of sweet, sweet reggae music and three night's camping in the Dorset countryside featuring Horace Andy, Hollie Cook, Aba-Shanti-I, Channel One and Kiko Bun and many more.
Horace Andy, Hollie Cook, Aba-Shanti-I, Channel One, Kiko Bun, Jah Shaka Tribute, Iration Steppas, Roots Daughters and many more
Held in wooded Purbeck farmland in Langton Matravers on the outskirts of Swanage in Dorset, the Wilkswood Reggae Festival presents three days of reggae and with three nights camping from Friday July 21st to Sunday July 23rd 2023 (plus a bonus day of music with camping on Thursday July 20th for an additional fee). This year's festival will again see reggae legends rub shoulders with upcoming artists and DJs from the UK and abroad with over 50 acts performing across three stages.
Horace Andy, the veteran reggae singer, whose 2022 album Midnight Rocker made the Top Ten of all the end-of-year critics' awards, will headline this year's Wilkswood Reggae Festival in July. Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential and distinctive reggae voices, Horace began recording in the late 60s and his profile was further raised in the 1990s with his contributions to all five albums by trip hop pioneers Massive Attack. Now a positively youthful 72, Horace doesn't tour as often these days so to have him appearing at this year's festival represents quite a coup.
Along with Horace Andy, headliners on the main stage this year include Hollie Cook, once of new wave icons The Slits and daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul, Kiko Bun with his unique blend of reggae and hip hop, Roots Daughters, an all-female showcase featuring Sista Aisha, Awa Fall and Redhead QI presented by Mad Professor's Ariwa label and the Geneva-based Evidence Music collective featuring Brother Culture.
The Jah Spirit Sound System arena will again feature exclusive takeovers on each of the days from some of the UK's top sound systems. Aba Shanti-I and Channel One will be appearing with their own custom-built speaker rigs. It's rare for these genuine sound systems to appear outside of the street carnival environment and they will all be contributing to the 'Notting-Hill-by-the-Sea' vibe. Elsewhere Bass Choir with MC Crazy D, poet Raymond Antrobus and a multitude of sound systems, deejays and producers will perform alongside a collection of acoustic and spoken word acts on the outdoor Bang Mix Stage. And, for those reggae diehards for whom a weekend just isn't enough, the festival offers a 'bonus' day on Thursday 20th July (available to weekend ticket holders for an extra fee) featuring a late night DJ set by widely lauded Leeds soundsystem Iration Steppas.
Founded in 2016, Wilkswood Reggae is a family-friendly festival and there is plenty to keep your little ones entertained including a dedicated kid's field and a wooded clearing featuring storytelling, nature trails and music. There will also be free workshops in beatboxing, urban dance and rap performance. To encourage the whole family to come along, there are reduced prices for children up to the age of 17 and under-3s are free. With a capacity limited to 2,500, the festival is relaxed and intimate and is perfect for families with young children or people who just don't like huge crowds.
Both the Main Stage and the Soundsystem Arena are under cover so the music carries on whatever the weather. Elsewhere there's a chillout zone, street food stalls (including a Jamaican jerk barbecue, wood-fired pizza and plenty of vegetarian and vegan options), the main bar serving draught beer, ice cold lager and a varied selection of ciders and scrumpies as well as the Rumshak's infamous rum cocktails. Merchandise stalls selling hats, clothing, jewellery, bells and whistles complete the festival experience.
Organised by Bournemouthâ€™s Hard Way Promotions, the festival takes place over three days (or four with a Bonus Thursday ticket) at Wilkswood Farm in Swanage and the ticket price includes full admission as well as camping for three nights and weekend parking. There is a glamping field with pre-pitched tents and campervans and caravans are welcome (for a small additional fee).
Disabled Facilities: Disabled camping area, accessible toilets, free carer's tickets