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Festival Themes 2014 (Britain)

Updated on July 16, 2014
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Hi, I am Adele, and I have run a large fancy dress shop in Essex, England since 1998. Happy to pass on my knowledge to help others.

As we hit mid-July, Glastonbury, Blissfields,Sonisphere & T in the Park have been and gone, but there are a few others left (assuming tickets are also still available).

It is unlikely that anyone’s choosing a festival to go to based on its costume theme alone – it’s usually down to artist line-up and locality, - but the dress-up element adds an extra dimension and, in some cases, is the ‘hub’ around which the festival is built. In many cases you can also find carnival-orientated events, parades and workshops as part of the entertainment over the festival period..

Here we’re looking at a cross-section of this year’s British festivals and their themes. It’s not comprehensive (and we’re sorry if ‘your’ festival doesn’t get a mention). Some are on our doorstep here in Essex, east of London, others are a distance away (from us), but may be local to you, the reader (if you’re in Britain). If you’re elsewhere, well perhaps you can look at some of the festival websites and get inspired with a few ideas for your own local event or just revisit some of the headliners’ music.


Latitude (Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk ) 17th-20th July. Latitude has such a wide range of artistic activities aside from the music, pretty much anything fancy goes!

Beat-Herder in Lancashire (the name may be something to do with it being on a working farm) is being held 18th-20th July. They have been working their way through the alphabet for their f/d theme in previous years (cue our Props & Frocks series on ‘Costumes beginning with letter….). Hence, having had ‘B’, ‘E’,’A’ and ‘T’ it could be either a ‘Hyphen’ or ‘H’ this year, but we’re not sure (another source says it might be ‘I’). Saturday is their main F/D night.

Secret Garden Party at Abbots Ripon near Huntingdon, Cambs.(24th-27th July) It is one of those events that makes the best of its pastoral/country estate surroundings, but the website stresses it’s a serious Party. Their theme this year is ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick road’.

Rewind Scotland (Scone Palace, Perth, Scotland)26th-28th July – 1980s, like Rewind’s ‘sister’ festivals elsewhere at Cheshire and Henley.


Kendal Calling (Lowther Park, Lake District) 1-3rd August –Outer Space. They tried for a ‘Greatest number of Supermen in One Place’ record last year. This year apparently not even the sky’s the limit!

Standon Calling (Standon, Hertfordshire) 1-3rd August – Lost in South America , including Carnivale involvement. Possibly inspired by current and forthcoming events in Brazil.

Rewind South (Henley-on-Thames) 16th-18th August – 1980s again, reflected by the musical line-up.

Shambala – Secret Location in Norhamptonshire 21st-24th August The Seas of Shambala (Carnival) Fish,Nautical/Sailing, you get the general idea

Watchett , (Somerset Coast between Minehead & Bridgewater) 22-24th August - Dead Famous. Hopefully a little more classy than a load of zombies, but will Bloody Holly, Johnny Rotting and the Spice Ghouls be headliners?

Brownstock – (Morris Farm, Stow Maries, Essex) – 29th -31st August. Small but mighty festival in our own back-yard here in Essex, run by the Brown family on their farm (hence the name). Keep an eye on their website for further information (and if you go to the 360 panoramic viewer on the Brownstock site, you might spot our mobile unit!)

Rewind North (Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire) August 29th-31st August – 1980s. Third helping of 80s nostalgia.

Camp Bestival (Lulworth Castle, Dorset) 31stAug- 3rd Sept - Circus & Performing Arts. Camp Bestival and its Isle of Wight ‘sister’ are legendary in their liking for dress-up and costume!


Bestival (Robin Hill, Isle of Wight) – Desert Island Discs 4th-7th Sept. See last entry and multiply by several magnitudes!

Festival Number 6 (Portmeirion, North Wales) 4-6th Sept. Black blazers and giant Rover bubbles, the cult TV series that grew into a classic niche festival. Not the place to be unmutual.

The Zoo Project (The Forest Donington Park, Midlands) 12th-14th September. Finishing as we started, no guesses about the theme here. This festival successfully transplanted an offshoot from its parent in Ibiza a few years ago, and with all sorts of animal-based entertainment scheduled, it’ll be wild. Here's our animal page link again


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