Top line-up announced for revamped hops and harvest boutique festival

Organisers promise “It’s not your average weekend in the country – it’s an amazing one!”

 

A popular Kent festival celebrating local ale and country life is relaunching with a new focus on music and entertainment for all ages.

 

Renamed the Hops and Harvest Boutique Festival, the two-day family event at Kent Life Heritage Farm Park, near Maidstone, will feature performances from top bands, an extended schedule of activities, as well as the hop-picking, local ales and traditions which have made the festival a lasting success.

 

Music artists already signed up for the new-look festival – which takes place on September 9 and 10 – include Starsailor, Newton Faulkner and Toploader, with further announcements due to be made soon. There will also be a series of local up-and-coming musicians taking to various stages on the site throughout both days.

 

Kent Life’s General Manager Natalie Cox said: “The Hops and Harvest Boutique Festival will be bigger and better than before, while maintaining the traditions of an event which spans decades. With an impressive music line-up, fantastic locally-produced ales and plenty of activities for the children, there really is something for everyone. We really mean it, this is not your average weekend in the country – it’s an amazing one!”

The bands

Starsailor (Saturday) burst onto the scene with hit single Fever – being named Britain’s Best New Band in the process – before reaching number two in the UK Album Chart with Silence Is Easy. Starsailor reformed in 2014 and have supported the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Killers and U2.

 

Newton Faulkner (Sunday) topped the album chart with his debut LP Hand Built By Robots. Since then, he has adopted a style of music which has a greater emphasis on beats and texture which is perfect for festival slots. In the process, he has amassed a loyal following and shed his iconic dreadlocks.

Toploader (Sunday), most famous for their rendition of Dancing in the Moonlight, have sold millions of records and amassed a series of Top 20 hits since they formed in 1997. With a new album out this year, and plenty of older hits, the band will live up to their reputation of being a crowd-pleasing act.

The venues

The music line-up has been designed to ensure there is a wide variety for everyone.

There will be three stages at the Hops and Harvest Boutique Festival, with the majority of the named acts taking to the Main Stage. The Big Top will play host to a number of local and regional talents predicted to make their musical breakthrough in the near future, while acoustic sets will be performed on the Secret Garden Stage all day.

 

The Hipshaker Lounge in The Village Hall will have the sound of original vinyl records filling the room. Live bands will also perform a fine range of funk, soul, jazz, rock, RnB and motown classics straight from the 60s with a few guest decade spots along the way.

 

The Zebra Bar & Champagne Garden offers a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces –with seating – surrounded by fantastical décor and a grand piano with the gentle tunes of songbirds in the background.

 

And if you want to get away from it all, enter The Bohemian Woods to make a wish, relax on rugs and hammocks and, at night, follow your way through the glowing fairy lights and lanterns.

 

Meanwhile, Cabaret Noir offers a fantastic experience for VIP ticket holders with the best club sounds around, a burlesque show and close-up table magician. Exclusively for adults, the VIP package will also include fast-track entry, upgraded toilet facilities, a phone charging service and a private bar.

 

Food for thought

A range of delicious food options, including street food, will be available alongside Kent Life’s very own Dotty’s Team Room and wood-fired pizza oven.

 

Alcoholic and soft drinks will be served in The Hipshaker Lounge and The Zebra Bar & Champagne Garden, and large, full-service bars to complement the local beverages sold in the Kentish Ales Marquee. There will also be a market traders’ area with items ranging from bubbles to blankets on sale.

 

Ale and heritage

Just like in previous years, there will be the chance to go back in time by helping to hand-pick the hops, meet some of the historic characters from Kent’s past – including the Oasties, Tally Man and Pearly Kings and Queens. You can also see one of the last working coal-fired oast houses in the country being fired up, and witness the process from picking hops to drying them before tasting one of the delicious beers on offer.

 

There will be plenty of other entertainment for the whole family, including Kent Life’s popular Cuddle Corner, animal feeding sessions, treasure hunts and story-telling. Little ‘hoppers’ can burn off any excess energy in Kent Life’s large outdoor and indoor play areas, while grown-ups can check out the historic buildings in the Vintage Village.

 

Admission prices & VIP packages

Passes for the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) are priced at £50 for adults, £25 for children, £37.50 for concessions, and £125 for a family ticket (two adults, two children). Day tickets costs £30 for adults, £15 for children (ages 5-15), and £25 for concessions. A family day ticket (two adults, two children) is available for £75. There will be free admission for children under the age of five.

 

A limited number of Live & Local day tickets, which are most suited for those who only wish to experience hop picking or are real ale enthusiasts, are available. These ticket holders will have access to the Kentish Ales Marquee, The Big Top Stage, the Oast House and select food outlets only and are valid until 6pm. These are priced at £15 for adults, £10 children (ages 5-15), £13 for concessions, while a family ticket (two adults, two children) is priced at £40.

 

The Hops and Harvest Boutique Festival will be open from midday to 11pm on both days. VIP packages are available at £50 per day or £90 per weekend per adult. These include fast-track entry and access to the exclusive Cabaret Noir VIP lounge and bar with entertainment, dedicated toilets and phone charging facilities.

 

Free parking is available on site, but visitors are strongly encouraged to make use of a shuttle bus service operating from Maidstone East and West train stations, as well as the town centre, on the weekend of the festival. Kent Life Heritage Farm Park is in Lock Lane, Sandling, near Maidstone, just off junction 6 of the M20 or only an hour by train from London.

 

How to book

Visit www.kentlife.org.uk to book your tickets. Kent Life members and group bookings (15+) can book directly through Kent Life by calling 01622 763936.

 

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