14 Best Festivals in Cornwall 2022/2023

Cornwall, hands down, has some of the UK’s most unique festivals. Whether you’re a music lover, a food enthusiast, or a fan of something more unconventional like hot air balloons, there’s a Cornish festival for you. Set against a backdrop of stunning scenery, festivals in Cornwall, though aplenty, are one of a kind. Here are 15 fantastic family-friendly festivals in Cornwall in  2022 (and 2023) you can’t miss.

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#1 The St Ives September Festival

2022 Dates: 10th September – 24th September

aerial photo of ruin buildings beside large blue body of water under blue sky at daytime
Photo by Benjamin Elliott

Enjoy two weeks of music, arts, films, poetry, craft workshops, and cultural events throughout the scenic town of St Ives

This festival in Cornwall began as a concept in a back kitchen in Teetotal Street in 1977. The idea was to attract tourists into the town outside of peak season. The first September Festival took place in 1978. 45 years later, it has become one of the most popular festivals in Cornwall.

This year, legendary folk-rock pioneers Lindisfarne will open the festival at the Guildhall. Other artists include Emily Barker, Seth Lakeman, John Otway, Dr. Feelgood, Brook Williams, Fleetwood Mac Songbook, and The Voice winner Molly Hocking. The festival will also feature the Cornish-based film The Long Way Back and bring back the event Boats in the Bay, a yearly gathering of traditional boats.

#2 St Ives Food Festival

2023 Dates: 12th May – 14th May

A highlight in every foodie’s calendar, the three-day St Ives Food Festival takes place on Porthminster Beach. Meet culinary experts, watch cooking demos, sample street food, explore pop-up art galleries, and shop at artisan tents. Porthminster beach is also one of the best family beaches in Cornwall!

There are plenty of other exciting activities for everyone, including kid games, crafts, music, and entertainment. For grown-ups, there is a wide range of local beverages to try. The event is free, but you need a ticket to attend the evening music sessions on the Lighthouse Stage.

#3 The Great Estate Festival

2023 Dates: 02nd June – 04th June

Fancy a garden féte for the entire family? Experience a three-day weekend camping event at Scorrier House, a charming country house in a 400-acre parkland and historic garden. 

The Great Estate Festival features live music, garden games, comedy stints, theatre performances, and art workshops. For food lovers, there’s a diverse mix of food stalls dotted around the grounds. 

Choose from an array of local and international cuisine, from the UK to Thailand and Italy to India. 

If you love liquor, join a gin-making class and learn to craft your own using foraged ingredients. 

Purchase a ticket in advance to enjoy the Super Early Bird Weekend promotion.

#4 Scorrier House

2023 Dates: August, exact date to be confirmed

Live at Scorrier House is a single-day dancing, camping, and glamping festivity that debuted on 27th August 2022 at the estate. This groovy festival features light shows, great food, and hip anthems by legendary DJs and dance artists. 

The live acts are from 2 pm to 11 pm, but if you want to party past midnight, you can buy a ticket for the Secret Woodland After Party and VIP Area. This pass includes access to a chill-out lounge, a private bar, and late-night dancing in the stunning forests of the Scorrier estate

#5 Bude and Stratton Folk Festival

Dates: Late May bank holiday, with a future date to be confirmed

One of the most highly-rated small festivals in Cornwall, this event celebrates folk music, dancing, and storytelling. You’ll find street entertainment, barn dancing, and open mic stages. Bude’s Falcon Hotel hosts the concerts and workshops, whilst the Rugby Club provides a camping and gathering venue. This Cornwall festival also has a line-up of kids’ events to keep the little ones entertained. 

Unfortunately, the Folk Festival is not happening in 2023 due to the unavailability of essential facilities in the Falcon Hotel. The organisers hope to hold an upgraded festival in 2024. But festival or no festival, Bude is worth seeing for its breathtaking beaches and stunning scenery.


#6 Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival

2023 Dates: 16th June – 18th June

Regarded as the most popular free nautical music festival in Europe, this three-day event showcases Cornwall’s rich maritime heritage with the irresistible, boot-stomping songs of the sea. 

Over 70 local and international sea shanty groups from as far as Canada and The Netherlands gather to sing the folk tunes sung by sailors aboard merchant ships in the 19th century. The performances happen in various pubs, bars, outdoor spaces, and restaurants across Falmouth, creating an air of festivity throughout town. 

In addition to the singing, there will be street cafés and speciality food outlets, serving anything from seafood to fresh delis to traditional favourites. And drinks – craft beer, creative cocktails, homemade ale – will overflow. 

But you don’t have to wait until the next Sea Shanty Festival to quench your thirst. Check out the best Cornish ale and beer on your next visit to Cornwall.

#7 Boardmasters Festival

2023 Dates: 09th August – 13th August

The boisterous Boardmasters Newquay is perhaps the most well-known Cornwall music festival, featuring various genres, such as rock, indie, alternative, and dance. Founded in 1981 as a surfing match, it expanded in 2005 to include music acts and BMX and skateboarding competitions. 

The sporting events occur on Fistral Beach, while the live performances happen in Watergate Bay. The Boardmasters attract thousands of tourists, so if you want to surf the Newquay beaches sans the crowd, visit during the off-season. Or, you can check out the other family-friendly surfing spots in Cornwall.

#8 The Little Orchard Cider & Music Festival

2023 Dates: September, exact dates to be confirmed

This fabulous festival is one big Cornish party happening in Healeys Cyder Farm, a traditional cider brewery in the hamlet of Penhallow near Truro

Sing your heart out to excellent music, get your groove on in a silent disco, and compete in games of welly wanging, barrel pushing, and apple bobbing. Plus, you get a wide selection of the best ciders across the UK.


#9 Summer Island Disco

2023 Dates: 05th August (tentative date)

Held every first Saturday of August on The Island in St Ives, the Summer Island Disco is one of the most anticipated events in town. The town is abuzz with festivity, with live music and the smell of mouthwatering fare filling the air. 

Makeshift stalls selling anything from cold drinks to handicrafts to pasties pop everywhere. The event draws locals and visitors, young and old.

#10 Leopallooza

2023 Dates: 21st July – 23rd July

One hot summer in 2006, a group of friends looking for somewhere to perform to each other came up with the idea of Leopallooza, inspired by the US touring gig Lollapalooza. Sixteen years later, the concept has evolved into an award-winning grassroots event. It is undeniably one of the most sought-after music festivals in Cornwall. 

Enjoy three days and nights of multiple stages and over 100 outstanding performances from established bands, DJs, and a mishmash of artists. You’ll find free camping, tasty food, pop-up bars, house parties, and surprise acts that range from yoga to comedy. Leopalloza happens at the Wylds Week St Mary in Bude.

#11 Rock Oyster Festival

2023 Dates: 27th July – 30th July

The Rock Oyster Festival combines food, music and fun to create a wholesome, family-friendly event. Each year a different chef hosts the festival, with Jack Stein heading the activity in 2022. 

Apart from the live music, campfires and evening feasts, there are cooking demos, masterclasses, and pop-up restaurants serving stacks of oysters. Happening on the banks of the Camel estuary, the festival also offers kid-friendly entertainment, such as forest school, standup paddle boarding, and foraging.

#12 Cornwall Balloon Festival

2023 Dates: First week of July, future date to be determined

The Cornwall balloon fiesta is a lively, three-day family-oriented event that features chart-topping artists, monster trucks, outdoor cinema, BMX stunts, fireworks, circus shows, and camping. But the festival star is the bunch of hot-air balloons floating above the Royal Cornwall Showground.

 As darkness descends, they shine lovely colours for a Night Glow. Want a bit of thrill? Pick your choice from the 20 rides and attractions in the fun fair. There are onsite bars, food stands, and craft markets spread across the grounds. Dragons, dinosaurs and adorable mascots will be roaming the site throughout this hot air balloon festival in Wadebridge.

#13 Fowey Royal Regatta

2023 Dates: 13th August – 19th August

Every summer, the idyllic town of Fowey plays host to thousands of visitors who flock to see the iconic Regatta. Dating back to the 1830s, it started as a rowing race and grew into a fun-packed, week-long sailing event at the mouth of the river Fowey. 

Not into sailing? No worries. There are loads of land-based events such as fireworks, a giant pasty ceremony, flora dance, live music, harbour swim, crabbing competitions, and the Fowey Carnival procession. Because of its popularity, the Regatta can feel a bit crowded. 

Head to the nearby town of Looe if you need to escape somewhere quiet at the height of the festival. Countless fantastic activities for grownups and kids await you there. 

#14 Porthleven Food Festival

2023 Dates: Spring, exact date to be confirmed

One of the most-awaited food festivals in Cornwall, this event is an award-winning, community-led gathering that brings foodies and families together. Enjoy a vast array of street fare, traditional grubs, and international dishes around the town’s picturesque harbour. But the fest isn’t just about food. There is also live music, cooking shows, circus skills workshops, parades, and craft activities. The best thing about this festival is that entry is free, but donations are welcome.

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