The Gate to Southwell Festival is now established as a leading international roots and acoustic music event rivalling other well-established festivals and receiving many accolades. We are near the historic and beautiful market town of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, in glorious parkland at Kirklington village, approximately 13 miles from Nottingham and 8 miles from the A1 and Newark.
2021 may be a little different in order to keep everyone safe, and we will let you know as soon as possible, the measures we will have in place in September. These will be set out in our Covid-19 section here.
In a normal year you'd find over 50 artists performing over 4 days on 4 main stages, on-site camping, kids activities, workshops, dance, street theatre, comedy, spoken word and lots more.
We are pretty-much rain-proof in a normal year. All our stages are in big-tops or marquees, so concerts are all under cover in the warm and dry. There's plenty of seating in the main stage Big Top, the Folk Stage, the Barleycorn Stage, and plenty of room to dance in the Frontier Stage big-top where things get a bit more lively. Our two main bars are also in marquees so you can enjoy the plentiful selection of real ales, ciders, wines and spirits (or whatever else takes your fancy) in the dry if a shower passes by. There's a covered large seating area near the food traders too.
We believe what sets us apart from many of the smaller UK festivals are two things - the first is the music. You will not find any "fill-in" artists at GTSF. Everyone on stage brings a unique talent, whether they're well-known names or up-and-coming stars, or are playing to gain exposure with a new audience, they will all have shown an element of "magic" in their performances to bring something special to the festival experience. There have been many artists who have played their first "proper festival" here, who now grace the main stages of some of the greatest festivals in the world. See them here first!
The second is the friendliness of GTSF - you can bump into the organisers all over the site and have a chat. Our stewards are just the best - and that rubs off on everyone else. We implore you to come and join the fun!
We are also renown for the special concerts and shows which intermingle with great acts like those you can find on the line-up page. In 2017 we put on an unforgettable "Summer of Love" concert and in 2016 celebrated Bob Dylan's 75th birthday with another hit concert. In 2019 we celebrated 50 years since Woodstock. We were planning a Beatles celebration in 2020 - 60 years since they formed and 50 since they disbanded. It also marked 40 years since the tragic death of John Lennon.
From its humble beginnings in 2007 as primarily an English folk music and dance festival, Southwell has evolved into one of the leading and most innovative roots and acoustic music events in the country. We proud ourselves in attracting artists from all over the world, more than one of which came to Southwell to play their first concert outside their home country, flying in just to play here. Obviously overseas artists' plans are a bit uncertain for 2021, so there will not be as many overseas acts as we would normally host.
Dance remains a popular part of the festival with an emphasis on variety and entertainment. Ceilidhs or other social folk dances would normally take place each day on site.
Southwell is a family friendly and fun festival with plenty of entertainment for the kids and youths alike. Many children’s activities are aimed to be educative as well as fun with our own instrument workshops, and various other hands-on opportunities. Family entertainment always includes a liberal dose of street theatre and ‘walkabouts’ as well as storytellers and musicians.