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The History Of DorsetFest

Dorsetfest is a not-for-profit family music festival that offers a great weekend of camping, music and family fun for all ages. 

Until a particularly wet 2013, this was a Three Churches Village Fete raising money for the historic churches in Hilton, Cheselbourne and Melcombe Horsey. Following the washout the team decided to try a music festival and the Dorset Midsummer Music Festival was born. 


In June 2014 the gates opened for the first time at Cheselbourne Manor, with bands performing on an open top trailer covered by a taped-on gazebo, surrounded by all the fete-based activities like skittles, and supported by and a couple of food stalls.   


Due to the success, a bigger venue was needed and in June 2015 Dorsetfest moved to Warren Farm which boasts a natural amphitheatre and a stunning location in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with plenty of space for the music, entertainment and camping. It’s such a stunning site that the festival’s not moved since. 


Until 2019, the festival was still known as the Dorset Midsummer Music Festival, but in 2018 it was decided to simplify the name to Dorsetfest, while keeping the family friendly focus. Now almost everything is branded with the new name, but you can still find remnants of the old name if you look. 


In 2020 Covid struck the UK and DorsetFest had to be cancelled for the first time, returning in June 2021 with a host of rules and mask mandates that the volunteers had to enforce, before pretty much returning to normal in 2022. Despite this, it was a roaring success and it was great to celebrate after the lockdowns! 


Coming out of 2023, Dorsetfest has created many happy memories and raised over £130,000 that has gone back to the maintenance of the three churches and charities, including Weldmar Hospicecare and Julia’s House and the team look forward to building on that in 2024 and beyond. 


The cancellation of the festival in 2020 means that 2024 will be Dorsetfest’s 10th anniversary, and every year the festival has gone from strength to strength, focusing on the music, the activities and the refreshments. 


In the last 10 years DorsetFest the focus has been offering a wide range of great music. The festival has played host to acts that have included links to some of the biggest bands in the world, such as Ben Waters who’s worked with acts like the Rolling Stones and Neil Cowley who’s been a sideman to Adele, alongside bands that are starting out and have since gone on to perform venues like Glastonbury.  The line up for 2024 is stronger than ever, with bands like The Leggomen, Chief Lazarus and The Phogues to get those toes tapping and hips swaying.   

As a family friendly festival, there is a focus on providing activities for all ages, most of which are included in the ticket price. For 2024 these include Jamie Jigsaw, Bubble Man, bush craft, face painting, hula hoops, bouncy castle, 5-a-side football field, stalls to browse, Tai Chi, yoga and even head massages.   

The “Revell Inn” also a serves a great selection of drinks to choose from, including Cerne Abbas beer, Rosies cider, Shroton and Conker gin alongside a range of non-alcoholic alternatives.  

With a stall offering the award-winning Langham Wine that is produced nearby.  

There are also a range of local food stalls in “Fodder Field” catering for all, providing tasty treats for your tastebuds. 

To make the most of the weekend, there is camping available for campervans and tents, with plenty of parking if you just want to visit for the day. 



The festival is run by volunteers who organise, prepare and man the event, supported by professionals for key tasks like building the stage and security. 

We’re all here to make sure you stay safe and have fun. 



So if you’re looking for a great weekend in a stunning location while helping raise much needed funds for great causes, then check out Dorsetfest. Alternatively you can stay up to date on the latest updates by following us on Facebook or Instagram


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