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Features

Festival Guide 2015

Festival Guide 2015

This time last year Britain was wading its way through a winter of floods, aggressive storms and waterlogged Christmases. Our countryside gained lakes where villages had stood, seafronts demolished where ice cream had been sold only a few months before - the idea of summer was inconceivable to many as was ever drying out their homes. But the seasons did change - out came the sun and with it brought armies of volunteers, musicians and speakers, pitching tents and testing microphones. The weather has been kinder so far this year but we still need things to look forward to. Many of these events claim to offer more than your average music festival - renewal and rejuvenation, a chance to build up a spiritual momentum that will keep us going for the rest of the year. Each festival offers something slightly different, either in the balance of worship and study, or the amount of activities available to certain age ranges. You might need a countryside break from the city or a chance to reconnect.

Greenbelt Festival 28-31 August - Boughton House, Northamptonshire

The Bright Field - Greenbelt will be back at Boughton House over the August Bank Holiday weekend, although in a smaller capacity. The grounds of this country house were the festival's first new site in 15 years when it set up camp in 2014. A new site comes with a new set of challenges, and though there were mixed reactions to the greenfield site, it was seen as an overall success, with festival goers enjoying the beautiful setting and dynamic site layout. Greenbelt's choice of theme for 2015, The Bright Field, taken from a poem by R S Thomas, may seem mysterious to those who didn't visit the site last year, but for those who experienced the view from the top of the Mount it sums up a mesmerising summer weekend spent sitting in long grass beside a sparkling lake. In what seems a controversial move, the festival has decided to drop its main stage venue from the 2015 setup - citing that the new location calls for a rethink of the way the festival works logistically and aesthetically. Through simplification, Greenbelt is hoping to get back to its roots. The 2015 lineup has yet to be announced - check out the festival website in the coming weeks for updates. A limited run of 5,000 weekend tickets will be on sale from 16 February. Day tickets will be available in May.

www.greenbelt.org.uk

Spring Harvest Minehead One - 28 March-2 April Minehead Two - 2-6 April Minehead Three - 6-10 April Skegness - 6-10 April

Immeasurably More - Spring Harvest's focus this year is in discovering a God which is greater than our imagining and that provides something beyond our prayers and wishes. With a programme that appears to be more packed than ever, the festival hopes to bring worshippers to a greater understanding of faith and to leave them with more than they expected. Famously family friendly, the festival offers something for all ages, including care and entertainment for the under 5s. However, it is Spring Harvest's After Hours slots that really look promising, with everything from rock, folk and acapella music, to dance, cabaret, theatre, and even puppet shows. Regular favourites are back to this year, with Paula Gooder and Nick Herbet leading bible teaching and worship at Minehead One; Peter Williams, Sarah Bird and Pete James at Minehead Two; Luke Baon and Malcom Duncan manning the helm at Minehead Three; and Jo Bailey Wells and Ben Cantelon rounding off the run of events at Skegness. Minehead Two is taking place over the Easter weekend, and will feature the Saltmine Theatre Company performing the Easter story, Good Friday meditations and an Easter egg hunt. www.springharvest.org March15front.

New Wine

Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet 25-31 July, 2-8 August

United - New Wine continues to pursue its mission in uniting churches across the UK, bringing together thousands for two weeks of worship and fun. The festival hopes that its national gatherings will heal worshippers' relationships, with each other, with church, with God, and promises it will be the catalyst in its attendees' year, inspiring them to be that change that is needed to bring the world closer to God. If you're looking for an event that caters to all ages of your congregation or family, then New Wine has it covered. While it encourages large groups and whole congregations to attend, it also welcomes small groups or solo attendees. Speakers this year include: Simon Ponsonby, Pete Hughes, Roger Simpson, Jenny Peters, Dot Tyler, Sam Bailey, Neil Bennetts, and New Wine leader Mark Bailey.

www.new-wine.org

Big Church Day Out 24-25 May - Wiston House, West Sussex

This event is very much a music festival, setting it apart from the others on our list, so if a weekend of worshipful music sounds more your thing than straight bible teaching, this is the festival for you. More than just a day out, the festival is two whole days packed full of entertainment and camping, with activities for all ages, including fairground rides and climbing walls. Tearfund will be there running their own tent and events, and Wiston Estate Church will also be open for those seeking some peace and space for contemplation. The Big Church Day Out is at the mercy of the British weather with most of the performances being held on the open air main stage, however, the weekend falls just before the start of British summer time, so why not be optimistic? This year's music highlights include Bethel Music headlining on Saturday, with The Abrams Bothers, Needtobreath, and singer/worship leader Israel Houghton entertaining the crowd from 12pm. On Sunday the day starts off with LZ7,Rend Collective, Jason Upton, and Matt Maher, with Jesus Culture closing the festival.

www.bigchurchdayout.com

Other festivals in 2015

Bible by the Beach 1-4 May

Pentecost Festival 15-24 May

Creation Fest 1-7 August

New Horizon - 1-7 Aug

Revive! 1-7 Aug

Soul Survivor 24-28 July, 1-5 Aug, 15-19 Aug, 21-25 Aug

The One Event 28 Aug-1 Sept

Bloxham Festival of Faith and Literature will be returning in 2016.