With Eurovision just a few weeks away, here is our round up to alternative music events and unique locations you can enjoy this year in the Cotswolds.

Whatever your style, from classical performances in stunning churches, listening to local bands in village pubs, large-scale music festivals or intimate jazz evenings, the Cotswolds is mellifluous with the sound of music.

Chipping Campden Music Festival, 5 – 20 May

Since starting in 2002 Chipping Campden Music Festival has grown into a prestigious festival featuring some of the world’s most acclaimed musicians, who all love performing in the wonderful setting of St James’ church. With two weeks of great music in the church, the festival also runs workshops in local schools led by experienced music educators.

Chipping Campden Music Festival

Lechlade Music Festival, 26 – 28 May

Three amazing days await at this award-winning family-friendly festival held on the banks of the River Thames at Lechlade. Lechlade Music Festival has over 100 bands and performers on four stages offer fantastic live music, comedy, burlesque and more.

Lechlade Music Festival (Copyright Eric Hobson Photography)

Longborough Festival Opera, 29 May - 3 August

Longborough Festival Opera is an ambitious summer festival taking place in a 500-seat home-grown theatre overlooking stunning views of the Evenlode valley just outside Stow-on-the Wold. Each production at Longborough includes a 90-minute dining interval, so bring a picnic and find a spot in the grounds to enjoy the view, or book into the delicious on-site restaurant.

Longborough Festival Opera

Forest Live at Westonbirt Arboretum, 8 – 11 June

Every year the National Arboretum at Westonbirt comes alive with Forest Live, a series of evening concerts organised by Forestry England. Concert goers enjoy a relaxed outdoor atmosphere knowing income generated from ticket sales helps look after the nation’s forests sustainably. This year’s performers are BRIT Award-nominated Tom Grennan, talented singer, songwriter Jack Savoretti, and music legend Paul Weller.

Forest Live at Westonbirt

Burford Singers, 25 June

Founded in the 1960s, the Burford Singers is a friendly local choir of 100 amateur singers from Burford and the surrounding area, who give high quality concerts accompanied by professional orchestras, usually in Burford church. The next event is The Magic of Mozart.

Burford Singers at Burford Church

Nibley Music Festival, 30 June – 2 July

Nibley Music Festival is a rare festival gem with an ethos to be an unforgettable event. This family-friendly weekend festival has the best music across numerous stages from known performers to local talent, as well as comedy and spoken word. Plus free entertainment on site for kids combined with independent stalls, food and drink traders it makes for a perfect time. 

Nibley Music Festival

2000trees, 5 – 8 July

The multi-award-winning 2000trees festival is a multi-day extravaganza set in the stunning Cotswold Hills bringing together 130 of the best bands for a friendly, intimate festival which is dynamic and full of energy too.


Guiting Music Festival, 21 – 30 July

For over half a century, the Guiting Music Festival has been a delightful niche festival to enliven the Cotswolds’ summer calendar, bringing an exciting variety of highly talented performances of classical, jazz and blues music by artists from around the world.

Guiting Music Festival

Riverside Festival, 29 – 30 July

Riverside Festival is a much-loved, free festival (yes, free!) held at the height of summer every year in a beautiful meadow on the edge of the Cotswold town of Charlbury. Over 30 acts perform and there is lots of fun for families too, including a fancy dress theme.

Riverside Festival

Wilderness, 3 – 7 August

Wilderness is the multi-award winning 4-day festival combining live music, contemporary arts and an array of theatre, craftsmanship and dining experiences set amidst the idyllic Cornbury Park. With two main music stages expect everything spanning the genres and decades.

Wilderness Festival

Phoenix Festival, 26-27 August

The Phoenix Festival is a volunteer-led music and arts festival that offers two days of music, dance and family fun in the lovely Abbey Grounds, Cirencester. The event boasts an extensive line-up on two stages including open mike with over 40 acts, an ever popular performance arena. 

Phoenix Festival

Bluegrass Festival, 1 – 3 September

One of the UK’s premier bluegrass, Americana and old-time music festivals. Now in its 35th year, the Didmarton Bluegrass 2023 Festival is hosting another awesome line-up of international and UK artists. Experience three days of sensational music on the Main Stage and while away late nights around the bonfire with some great jam sessions.

Bluegrass Festival

Tetbury Music Festival, 23 September - 1 October

Tetbury Music Festival has a diverse range of concerts from early to classical to contemporary music, with lectures and interviews to share insight, understanding and new ways of appreciating the context in which these great works were written.

Tetbury Music Festival

Wychwood Folk Festival, dates throughout the year

The Wychwood Folk Club began in 2014 and showcases an eclectic mix of folk, roots, acoustic and Americana music from Tiddy Hall in the stunning village of Ascott-under-Wychwood. The club aims to provide a platform for artistes of all levels to perform in a friendly atmosphere and bring some of the best artistes in the folk/acoustic world to this part of the Cotswolds.

Wychwood Folk Festival

Not far from the Cotswolds...

Henley Festival, 5 – 9 July
Not far from the Cotswolds, Henley Festival is an exclusive boutique black-tie festival which takes place over five July evenings celebrating the best of UK and international music and arts. The Festival is a truly unique event that embraces a vibrant programme from pop to world music, classical to jazz, visual art to comedy and where art and gastronomy share equal billing with the music.

Henley Festival

For more music events check out What’s On in the Cotswolds




Comments are disabled for this post.