Let the hopping BEGIN
The Faversham Hop Festival returns for two days of traditional celebrations. Angela Cole looks at what’s on offer over the weekend for the 40,000 folk heading there
Our hops fields in Kent may be diminishing but our love for the hop and what it gives us is as strong as ever.
The Faversham Hop Festival sees thousands heading for the market town for a weekend of celebrations of everything from how hops are picked to live music and morris dancing - plus plenty of chances to sample it in its final glory as a beverage.
Over the festival weekend there will be more than 60 bands and performers providing 70 hours of live music across five stages. The lively event - now in its 29th year - revels in traditional festivities associated with the hop harvest and celebrates the town’s unrivalled hop heritage. Now one of the largest free street festivals in the south east, the event has street performers and processions. Stepping back into history, there will be the Hop Blessing and a traditional parade through the town.
There are also special tours of the Faversham brewer Shepherd Neame’s brewery for the weekend.
There will be some 15 morris sides showcasing a range of styles and the dance displays which will be happening around the town over the weekend, at intervals on both afternoons in Stone Street and East Street. There will be stages in the Market Place, Preston Street, Court Street and a folk stage in Week Street.
The family area will include a fun fair, Punch and Judy, magic shows and workshops and will be next to the Hoppers Market Stage in the Central car park. There will be a traditional funfair and a street market full of stalls featuring an array of Kentish food and drink, including beer produced in the town, local cider and Kentish apple juice.
There will also be a Festival Village at the Abbey School where visitors can camp to fully enjoy the weekend’s festivities. On the Friday & Saturday evenings there will be entertainment in the marquee, and a real ale bar.
There will be a number of road closures in place from 8am to 7pm both days. Check the festival website for details. Parking is at a premium in the town on festival weekend, so organisers recommend using the park- and-ride at the Abbey School in London Road, Faversham. The marshalled car park will cost £5 a day per car (9am to 9pm). The not for profit event is run with a small army of volunteers and organisers fundraise to put it on.
The lively event now in its 29th year - revels in traditional festivities associated with the hop harvest’