This Month's Top Events

August is full of things to do on the Isle of Wight, with festivals and events on practically every day. Here we pick our top five and give you a short lowdown on what to expect.

Cowes Week 

The biggest and best sailing regatta of its type in the world, Cowes Week is an all-inclusive week of sailing races and après sail events that this year (2018) is back to its first full week in August, running from the 4th to 11th. Part of ‘The Season’ it slots neatly in between Goodwood and the Glorious Twelfth. 

Cowes Week has played a key part in the British sporting summer calendar since 1826. It has up to 40 daily races for around 1,000 boats and the 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors. More than 100,000 spectators come to experience the unique atmosphere and the entertainment is similarly diverse, with everything from sing-alongs in the pubs to swanky balls at the prestigious yacht clubs. To get an invitation to the latter you have to know a member! Don’t miss the fireworks on Friday night – Red Funnel is running a special Firework Cruise from East Cowes.


Ventnor Fringe

The quirkiest and most creative festival on the Isle of Wight, Ventnor Fringe happens all over the coastal town of Ventnor, a town so hip that it’s been dubbed ‘Shoreditch by the Sea’. Theatre, music, poetry, spoken word and art and more appear in venues that range from the art deco Ventnor Winter Gardens and local churches and halls, to the laundrette and somebody’s front room. 

This year famous street artist Phlegm will be painting a three story mural on a nice bare wall near the town centre. Parkside in Ventnor Park will host a Tom Waits tribute, A Beautiful Day Forever will question the nature of fame, spinster librarian Ms Samantha Mann will speak on being an agony aunt and The Reluctant Dragon will be visiting Ventnor Botanic Garden. These are but snapshots of an eclectic week of creativity, which has doubled to 70 acts this year. 


Jack Up the 80s 

Lovers of the 1980s prepare to be transported back to the heady days of bouffant hair and flouro at Jack Up the 80s, which is being held at Smallbrook Stadium near Ryde over the weekend of August 11th and 12th. Plus this year there’s a special extra treat with The Magic of Motown show on Friday August 10th at the same location – tickets have to be bought separately. 

The Jack Up the 80s crew have really pushed the boat out this year with a stellar line up. Leo Sayer, T’Pau, Chesney Hawkes and 5ive are among the performers on Saturday and on Sunday they have the best Marc Bolan tribute, T.Rextasy, Martin Kemp, Shakatak, Jaki Graham, Toyah and Shalamar are headlining. 

The festival is sponsored by Wave FM and EVERYBODY wears their version of what the 1980s fashions were all about – think Frankie Says and Choose Life t-shirts, florescent headbands, leg warmers and shoulder pads. And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten to pack your 80s gear as there are plenty of stalls selling it on site.


Garlic Festival 

A slightly bonkers festival to celebrate all things garlic, because the nearby Garlic Farm has been growing the stuff on the Isle of Wight for over 50 years! At the Garlic Festival on August 18th and 19th you can taste yummy local sweetcorn with garlic butter, or the more unusual garlic fudge or even garlic beer, and of course you can buy garlic bulbs of every shape and size. 

The Garlic Farm will be on hand to tell you everything you need to know about cooking with garlic, garlic for health and gardening with garlic. The entertaining and chatty BBC TV chef Valentine Warner plans to cook several exciting recipes on a charcoal fire-pit on Saturday 18th and on Sunday 19th the Island’s own award winning favourite chef, Robert Thompson will show us world-class cooking. Plus there are Extreme Bike Battles in the main arena, Haven Falconry, Star Wars characters and David Randini’s magic show – something for all the family. 


Fairweather Festival

In its second year, Fairweather Festival falls on August 31st and September 1st and will be held at Sandown Airport. Their main goal is to stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health by using the worlds’ biggest communication method - Music. 

​This year there is going to be a special guest appearance from rap artist Professor Green on Friday 31st, and five different genres of music are to be featured on the main stage from artists such as Example and DJ Wire, Razorlight, Friends of Foor, Dappy, Fatman Scoop, Matt Terry, The South, Artful Dodger and Kings of the Rollers. With two stages, licensed bars, a full fun fair and Children’s Area, glitter, street food, stalls and games, there’s fun for all the family and even an exclusive VIP area.

Jo Macaulay

1 August 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles