Wilkestock – The Best Summer Festival

Wilkestock? What’s that? Never heard of it.

Well Wilkestock my friends is a small but perfectly formed 3 day music festival held in the beautiful countryside just outside of Stevenage. Now in it’s 12th year, it has grown from it’s humble beginnings to be one of the best small festivals in the country. Last year it was runner up, in the Live Music Business Awards for the Best Small Festival last year.   Despite it’s size it donates all it’s profits to charity (Leukaemia research and Keswick Mountain rescue).

The festival site is small but not overcrowded, the car park is a mere one minute walk away (less if you run!).  The main stage nestles at the foot of a natural amphitheatre that is dotted with old sofas and chairs. For those more adventurous, there’s a helicopter, boat and a bath.

At the top of the hill is Bella’s, an indoor stage decked with pirate ephemera (the festival also had a pirate theme with fancy dress competition). In the nooks and crannies’ of the site you will find a total seven stages,  though a tunnel you find Bettys Wood stage. While just past Bella’s is the Tree House Stage and so the list goes on.

Wilkestock is family friendly, there is a separate children’s area and cartoons were also being played on a large screen beside the Tree House Stage. Many children seemed more content collecting discarded glasses and returning them to the bar for a £1 a glass.

I headed straight to Bella’s to watch local band Blue Hour open the proceedings on the Saturday morning. This young four piece punk rock band were full of energy, jumping around the stage. The sounded great and got the show off to a cracking start.



Opening the main stage were Vigilantes, a four piece indie band from Boston. They have received a lot of air play on Radio One so this was a band I was keen to see. I was not disappointed. 



Bilk, the three piece from Chelmsford were next on my must see list. Again they did not disappoint.



The Pearl Hearts are a band that I hadn’t heard of. The duo, Kirsty and Sara performed a no holds barred set and I became an instant fan.



From this point on, the bands became “heavier”. Ladybird were insanely good. They’ve made huge steps over the past year and their set was pure joy. At one point Lead singer Don got down from the stage to join delighted fans in the audience.  



Headling were Kent duo Slaves. They performed a blistering set much to the delight of the audience

Wilkestock was awesome, and I had a great time. It is without doubt the best festival of the summer. My big regret was that I was only there for one day. Next year I’m bringing my tent and staying for all of the festival 


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