Fantastic Festivals this July

The Isle of Wight is famous for some of its major events such as Isle of Wight Festival and Lendi Cowes Week, but did you know there are loads of other fantastic festivals taking place throughout the summer? Here's our local’s lowdown on what's not to be missed across the Island this July.


Sailing Action

One of the most spectacular events of the Isle of Wight’s summer calendar is the Round the Island Race, which this year (2018) will be held on Saturday July 7th. Make a day of it and get to Cowes really early to see the boats leaving in staggered starts – it takes an hour and forty minutes to get more than 1,600 safely on their way. Then follow them along the coast to Gurnard, Yarmouth and for a stunning view get the open top bus down to the Needles Old Battery to see the boats rounding the Needles rocks. The southernmost point of St Catherine’s is another great viewpoint as is Ventnor where the yachts come in really close to the shore. At Bembridge they make a great spectacle coming back into the Solent, where they carry on to pass Ryde and make the home run back to Cowes.



All Things Piratical 

Appley Beach’s mini castle is the venue for Shipwreck Isle on Sunday 8th July, where you can be a pirate for the day, or a wench, or a mermaid - as they’re rumoured to be putting in an appearance this year. Beginning with a great pirate themed parade, the day continues with stand offs between red coats and pirates, mock trials, Morris dancing and all kinds of mayhem. It’s billed as Black Sails meets the Pirates of the Caribbean and you will see Captain Jack Sparrow – possibly more than one of him, and that’s without the rum. Grog (rum and beer) and vittals (food) are available from stalls on the beach that also sell pirate themed goods. Ooh Arrrr.



Country Pursuits

For a truly traditional day of country pursuits and local produce head to the Royal Isle of Wight County Show on Sunday 8th July where you’ll see the crème of the island’s livestock, with cows, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas and even pigs, polished up for the judges perusal. Marquees around the site feature award winning chickens and foul, there’s ferret racing and you may even see the island’s best caveys (Guinea pigs), plus there are arts and crafts, local businesses, beer tent and lots of different food stalls. The main arena has entertainment throughout the day, and the hunt put in an appearance, along with the beagles and/or bloodhounds. Equine eventing happens at the bottom of the field with the hunter classes spilling over into the main ring. 



Amazing Music

For a family friendly laid back music festival at a reasonable price, head over to Rhythmtree  from 13th to 15th July and pitch your tent. Morcheeba headline on the Sunday, Brand New Heavies on Saturday, and Space and The Correspondents bring the main stage to a close on Friday. Look out for the new band 77/78 that are playing before Morcheeba – made up from some former Bees members, this is their first major gig and it’s going to be good. At the opposite end of the site, the Didg Café hosts a great line up of music and has comfy sofas to lounge about in and a popular dance floor. Jill’s Stage in the woods is very atmospheric, especially after the sun goes down.




Be Proud

The Island is hosting UK Pride at the Isle of Wight Pride on Saturday 21st July and Conchita is headlining on the main beach stage. A big coup for this brand new festival that only began last year (2017) this promises to be the most colourful festival on the island this summer. Starting with a huge rainbow parade down Union Street to the seafront, it’s there that you’ll find the Pride village full of stalls promoting unity, and selling cocktails and yummy food. The whole of the seafront becomes an oasis of friendliness and inclusion, and even the police have a stall about their LGBT policies. It’s heart-warming and lots of fun.



Highland Fling

Every year there’s a Highland Island Gathering and this year it is at Northwood Park in Cowes on Saturday July 22nd July 2018. With no less than six pipe bands from all over the country, this is one festival you’ll have to come to if you love bagpipe music. Plus there’s the 42nd Highland Regiment (1815) with their cannon and our own doctor Kieron Cooney and his Wight Hot Pipes. Of course there’s also highland dancing, a highland strong man contest and lots of Scottish themed fun, plus classic cars and Scottish themed food and drink. The day raises money for Island charities Challenge and Adventure and the Northwood House Charitable Trust, who host this gig.




Royal Riding 

For the first year, and anticipated with baited breath, the London Capital and Finance Osborne Horse Trials at Osborne House will be on Saturday July 25th and Sunday July  26th. This is a unique opportunity to catch the world’s most renowned equestrian athletes and Olympic heroes, along with young, keen talent, competing in a thrilling triathlon of events in the main arena on Osborne’s Durbar Lawn. Children can visit the Victorian Fun Fair with rides such as a Merry-Go-Round, Helter Skelter and Ferris Wheel, there’s a dog show and dog agility displays and food and drink with a focus on local Isle of Wight producers, such as  a ‘Fuggle-dee-Dum’ from their beer sponsor Goddards Brewery.

Jo Macaulay

2 July 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles