Arts Derbyshire Header Image

Derbyshire Festivals

We've gathered together all the amazing festivals that Derbyshire has to offer right through the year  - come along, join in the fun and see the world-class entertainment that's right on your doorstep.

Festivity logo for Derbyshire Festivals

Many of the festivals featured here are members of Festivity, a forum for joint working between all the festivals in Derbyshire who work together to bring a vibrant and varied menu of artistic events to the festivals season each year. You can also find out more about thousands of festivals events on the Visit Peak District and County Signpost websites.

There's something for everyone so read on and discover what there is to see and be seen at this year in Derbyshire. 

11 January and then monthly
Buxton Adventure Festival
The festival is a celebration of cycling, running and climbing consisting of 10 mini festivals throughout the year, starting on 11 January.  The festival is a vibrant mix of speakers from the world of adventure sport and photography exhibition and film.

4 February
Erewash Festival of Light
The Erewash Festival of Light began in 2006 and is a rolling programme of activities, free festivals and events which celebrate a range of traditional and culturally diverse celebrations from September to February each year.  These include Harvest Moon, Diwali, Christmas, Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year.  It takes place in various locations around the borough of Erewash. Join the Chinese New Year Celebrations in Ilkeston on 4 February.

3 March
World Book Day
A celebration of books, authors and reading - millions of book tokens are given away and there are events and celebrations galore for old and young alike.

25 March - 1 April
Buxton Festival of World Cinema 
There is a packed and wide-ranging programme of films from Europe, the US, the Middle East and Far East including classics alongside recent successes. There are 8 Days, 22 Films, 12 Countries represented + workshops and talks. 

24 March - 23 April 
FORMAT International Photography Festival 
The 2017 edition of FORMAT will explore the theme of HABITAT through varied narratives and imagery that document the worlds around us. Through the open call submissions, we will share the experiences and stories that coalesce as we negotiate our complex existence, including the flora, fauna, landscapes and the lives within. 

1 - 2 April
Wirksworth Book FestivalA small book festival to highlight local authors, encourage readers and generally celebrate books, with readings, talks, activities, walks and a quiz.

12 - 17 April
Buxton Film Festival
As well as bringing you the best from world cinema, our festival this year will celebrate the Buxton-born Robert Stevenson who made many well-known films, such as Jane Eyre, The Love Bug and Mary Poppins.

28 - 29 April 
Chesterfield Music Festival
 
A local event for musicians of all sorts to celebrate their craft, get involved in projects with other like-minded musicians, take part in workshops and choirs, and to get constructive feedback on their performances.

28 April - 1 May
The Big Session 
Hosted by the Oysterband, the line-up will once again feature the cream of English folk music. There will also be a beer festival plus many fringe events and activities including a 'Folk Train' and May Day ramble led by the Oysterband's very own John Jones. All in the handsome spa town of Buxton in the heart of the glorious Peak District to welcome in May. 

29 April - 1 May
The Great British Food Festival, Hardwick Hall
The Great British Food Festival is back over the Bank Holiday weekend with over 100 artisan producers, kids’ cookery lessons and activities, craft and gift stalls, with a family atmosphere and live music.

Derby film festival 201428 April - 7 May  
Derby Film Festival
Derby Film Festival is one of the leading regional film festivals in the UK, bringing together film fans, film-makers and industry figures for ten days of screenings, previews and showcase events with major figures from the world of film accompanied by panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses. 

29 April - 29 May 
Belper Arts Festival  
The community based Belper Arts Festival includes literature, art, theatre, film, photography, dance and music at venues throughout Belper in Derbyshire. It is a festival of inclusivity, not exclusivity and everyone is welcome to take part.

30 April - 1 May 
Belper Festival Arts Trail 
Belper will be host to artists and makers displaying and selling their work in shops, cafes, community halls, churches and houses. 

5-14 May  
Derby Comedy Festival
The positive effects of laughter and comedy are well known, so whatever tickles your fancy, we hope you'll join us for some of life’s best medicine! The dates are set and the line up includes household names.  This festival also supports emerging talent, particularly for Derbyshire, and it’d be good if you could too. Whatever you fancy, do get along to a show or two.

13 - 14 May 
Willington Arts Festival
 
A showcase for local artists, providing inspiration for the visitor, as well as the opportunity to buy unique art work. Get hands on with pottery or circus skills, and vote for your favourite art work in the Mercia Marina art competition.

13 - 14 May
Derbyshire Food & Drink Fair 
Derbyshire Food & Drink Fair is set within the grounds of Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property. Visitors to the fair have free access to 820 acres of National Trust parkland. 

26 - 29 May 
WinsterFest
 
Live music, real ale, good food, camping, flushing toilets on site – what more can you ask for?  Small and friendly Winsterfest, in the small village of Winster, near Matlock.

25 -28 May  
The Bearded Theory Festival The Bearded Theory festival is held in the beautiful grounds of Catton Hall in Derbyshire over the May Bank Holiday weekend. It won the Best Small Festival 2013 prize at the UK Festival Awards, although it is actually the largest performing arts event in the Midlands. Originally conceived as a birthday party that took place behind a pub it has grown into a family friendly, independent full blown three day party that’s up there with the best of them.

26 May - 4 June
Derbyshire Open Arts Plus
Derbyshire Open Arts is a friendly, not for profit, visual arts organisation. It organises and promotes a free county-wide event over the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May. The event gives artists and crafts people the opportunity to open their studios to the public or exhibit with others in a combined venue such as a village hall or art gallery.

27 - 29 May Wirksworth carnival bunting
Wirksworth Carnival & Well Dressing
 
Wirksworth Carnival is celebrated in conjunction with the traditional Well Dressings. The Carnival hosts three days of entertainment including children's entertainment, fantastic stalls including local groups and handmade items. We have a wheelbarrow race, running race, local team football on the rec, music evenings, rides and more! Plus we finish it off with a parade, music and food.

28 - 29 May 
Chesterfield Canal Festival 
The IWA National Trailboat festival and Chesterfield Canal Festival held in the Staveley town basin offers boat rides, canoeing, drive a digger, stalls and entertainment

27 May - 11 June
Derwent Valley Mills Discovery Days Walks

The Discovery Days Festival is the biggest annual event in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Come and discover the beauty and heritage of the Derwent Valley Mills through a wide range of walks.  

28 May
Clay Cross Heritage Gala
An outdoor gala held in Kenning Park with an emphasis on learning about the namesake of the park, Sir George Kenning.  The gala will feature artisan makers, an actor telling Sir George's story, local produce, stilt walkers, vintage vehicles and shop window competitions.

2 - 4 June 
Belper goes Green
 
An eco-festival featuring: kids games and forest skills, bikes / travel / transport, Belper station mosaic project, 'Bash the Trash' (music from scrap!) and a scarecrow competition.

4 June
The Big One @ Chaddesden Park

The Big One at Chaddesden Park returns this year with all the family favourites that guarantee a great day out for everyone to enjoy. There’s a fair with everything from children’s to scary rides, plus the side stalls to tempt you. And the return of the fantastic Dog Show with lots of different categories ranging from ‘cruffs to scruffs’!

9 June – 23 July
Weeping Window of Poppies, Derby Silk Mill

Derby is proud to host one of the famous Poppy sculptures by Derbyshire ceramicist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper at the Silk Mill.

9 – 17 June 
Derby Book Festival 
The Derby Book Festival aims to 'bring books to life' and features over 70 exciting events celebrating the joy of books and reading for all ages and interests, with great writers, poets, historians, politicians, illustrators, storytellers and musicians.  The Festival welcomes internationally renowned writers and poets as well as celebrating local writing talent. There’s something for everyone with topics ranging from cycling to cricket, railways to real ale and birding to board games!     

16 June - 2 July 
Ashbourne Festival 
An exciting mix of entertainment in a rural setting.  Each year the festival brings the best in performance art to Ashbourne and its surrounding area. STREETFEST will held over the week-end of Saturday 17 June and Sunday 18 June 2017.

17 - 19 June
Celebrating Cromford
This is a family-friendly village festival in a beautiful World Heritage Site, with live music, stalls, Open Gardens, beer festival, stationary steam engines, literature & pudding competitions, decorated ducks, non-decorated duck race and canal boat pulling. 

Cossack dancing at the Furthest from the sea festival

17 June
Furthest From the Sea

With over 100 performers and 5 stages dotted around Derby, there is so much happening at this festival that it would not be difficult to find something you like. Go along to sample comedy, folk music, workshops, exhibitions, photography, pop music, plays and poetry. But there is no need to wait until June, with monthly events happening from March throughout the year.

18 - 25 June
Duffield Carnival & Music Festival

Many events are planned for your entertainment throughout the festival including Duffield Carnival on Saturday 24 June, so put it in your diaries.

24 - 26 June
e'X'ile Fest

Music, beer and song at the e'X'ile Festival  - described as 'a weekend of eclectic music, in tents' - this festival (held at Sabine Hay, near Darley Dale) boasts a massive music line-up, plus workshops, stalls, a 'Kiddies Korner' and real ales, lagers and ciders. 

24 June
Derby Comic Festival
Now in its second year, Derby has its very own Comic Con for Comic and Cosplay enthusiasts.

24 - 25 June
Festival of Leisure Weekend 
Swadlincote hosts South Derbyshire's Festival of Leisure bringing the town to life with music, cultural events and interesting side shows.  A fun-packed weekend for all. Enjoy Main Arena Entertainment together with brass bands, fairground rides, sports activities, cultural events, side shows, displays and much more. 

1 July Morris dancers Bakewell
International Day of Dance at Bakewell
 
A celebration of dance and music from around the globe, showcasing a wide variety of dance styles at venues around the town on this busy and vibrant day. Dance workshops introduce beginners to the range of styles showcased and there's something for everyone with lots of events free.

July - September
Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival
QUAD’s outdoor film festival is back, this year bringing outdoor film to 14 beautiful heritage venues across Derbyshire and the rest of the UK. 

5 - 23 July
Buxton Festival Fringe

The Buxton Festival Fringe is one of the largest arts festivals in England. An open festival that does not select or censor, it runs alongside the Buxton Festival, with hundreds of events happening around the town and further afield.  Many artists use it as a preview before appearing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Fringe is a charity run by volunteers. 

Jacobin at Buxton Festival 20147 - 23 July
Buxton Festival
Recognised nationally and internationally as one of the UK’s leading arts festivals, Buxton Festival is a summer celebration of the very best opera, music and literature at the heart of the beautiful Peak District.    

21 - 23 July
Stainsby Festival  
Stainsby Festival is a well-established, intimate and family-friendly music event in a beautiful rural setting, held in large marquees on a greenfield site in the picturesque hamlet of Stainsby in north Derbyshire. 

25 July
Chesterfield 
Medieval Market & Fun Day
Join in the fun as Chesterfield remembers its medieval heritage with an encampment, battling knights, fun fair, medieval entertainment and lots more.

27 - 29 July
Rock & Blues festival
For one weekend a year, The Coney Grey Showground in Pentrich is home to the Rock and Blues Custom Show & Old School Weekender. A great weekend for the whole family – three days of live music on three stages + Two day indoor Custom Show = One serious Weekend party including trade stands and entertainments. 

Festival crowd27 - 30 July 
Y-Not Festival
 
This small, fresh and loud festival promises a carefree and good-time atmosphere. Offering stunning panoramic views of the countryside, a fully stocked bar of local ales and ciders, a mouth-watering selection of food and more live music than you could ever possibly take in, all you need to provide is the memories (and a killer fancy dress outfit). 

28 - 30 July 
Indietracks 
 A unique music festival; each year around 50 new and established indiepop artists perform across a range of stages at the festival. Visitors are free to enjoy steam train rides, railway attractions and museums, discos, art and craft workshops, great food and a selection of real ales. 

29 July - 14 August 
Buxton Family Festival 
There's lots on at the Pavilion Gardens during Buxton's Family Festival,  featuring a huge variety of fun activities for all the family: fairs, music, outdoor recreation, markets and much more. 

10 - 13 August
Bloodstock
Bloodstock is the UK's largest heavy metal open air festival that features the greatest names in heavy metal music in it's packed programme, held at Catton Hall.  Hurry for tickets though as they sell out fast. 

17-21 August
Barlow Carnival
Barlow Carnival is a week packed full of fun and entertainment for all the family. The highlight of the week is Carnival Day with a parade, Carnival Queen, floats, bands and fancy dress through the village. 

September 2017 – February 2018
Erewash Festival of LightThe Erewash Festival of Light began in 2006 and is a rolling programme of activities, free festivals and events which celebrate a range of traditional and culturally diverse celebrations from September to February each year.  These include Harvest Moon, Diwali, Christmas, Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year.  It takes place in various locations around the borough of Erewash. Join the Chinese New Year Celebrations in Ilkeston on 4 February.

Matlock Bath Illuminations festival feature2014

8 - 10 September
Whitwell Festival of Music

Described by the Derbyshire Times as 'Derbyshire's best kept secret', Whitwell Festival of Music is a community event in a village setting, now in its 8th year, getting bigger and better every time.  Run by a small team of volunteers (Whitwell4Ward), the festival has raised thousands of pounds for local causes.  Featuring a wealth of musical and artistic talent across all genres - over 25 bands and artists over the weekend - the festival also offers a range of locally brewed real ales, ciders, value-for-money food, arts and music workshops and children's activities. 

8 - 24 September
New Mills Festival 
  
New Mills Festival is a two week annual celebration of community spirit through a diverse range of activities from talks and walks to concerts, gigs, exhibitions, trails, quizzes and performances, including a spectacular lantern procession through The Torrs Gorge ending in a Community Street Party in the centre of town.

8 - 24 SeptemberWirksworth festival 2014 
Wirksworth Festival
 
A leading rural arts festival – with art for everyone.  Enjoy the work of more than 150 artists plus an inspiring programme of performances and events in this historic market town, right at the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.  

9 September - 28 October (weekends) 
Matlock Bath Illuminations 
A fun-packed family event featuring a spectacular parade of illuminated and decorated boats along the River Derwent.  During the 7-week season the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders' Association decorate themed models with an array of coloured lights which are mounted on rowing boats and paraded on the River Derwent each Saturday (7.45pm and 9.15pm) and Sunday (7.30pm) in Derwent Gardens, giving a unique and luminous display.  Plus a firework display every Saturday evening.

9 – 10 September
Wardlow Mires Pottery and Food Festival
This is a unique event, bringing together fine foods and pottery from some of the most renowned makers in Britain and further afield.  It is an ideal opportunity to spend a weekend in the Peak District; there is camping at the nearby farm and plenty of B&Bs close by.  As Christmas will be only a few months away, it would also be an ideal opportunity to buy some very personal presents without the hassle of the mad throng which is normally associated with Christmas shopping.

9 - 16 September
Chesterfield Well Dressing
Well dressing is an ancient custom unique to Derbyshire. Chesterfield began well dressing in 1864 when the Town Pump in Market Place was decorated after a very dry summer.  The custom died out, but was revived in 1991 when a well was dressed as part of an exhibition about Derbyshire traditions.

15 September - 14 October   
Melbourne Festival   
Melbourne Festival has established itself as the highlight of South Derbyshire’s cultural calendar.  Each September the Festival brings a celebration of the Creative and Performing Arts to this gem of a village in South Derbyshire just half an hour from Derby, Nottingham and Leicester.

16 - 17 September
Melbourne Festival Art & Architecture Trail
Visiting professional artists are hosted in rooms made available in private houses, which are not usually open to the public.  Entry is with a Trail Guide, which features lists of venues with the name and speciality of the artists and their contact details.  All of the work on the Trail is original, for sale, and the artists and makers all accompany their work and many demonstrate their skills.

16 – 17 September
Tapton Lock Festival
An exciting weekend of free activities for all the family, including arts and crafts workshops, boat rides, live performances in the marquee and much more!

18-24 September
Duffield Arts Festival
Duffield Arts Festival has a broad programme of performances, workshops and talks across the fields of music, drama, art and books, plus much more. Includes the Duffield Scarecrow Festival which kicks off the week on the 18th.

23 - 24 September   
Derbyshire Woodland Festival  
In the grounds of Elvaston Castle Country Park, from 10 am - 5 pm each day, this popular event celebrates traditional and contemporary woodland crafts.  Watch woodland experts at work, have a go at some crafts yourself, sample delicious campfire cooking or just enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the park and woodlands. Something for everyone to enjoy! 

29 - 30 September 
Derby Feste
 
Derby Festé is always exciting and new – with a whole range of local, national and international artists performing in the streets of the city. 

New Mills festival 2014   

1 October
Bolsover Festival of Brass, Clown
This is the leading brass band entertainment festival in the UK today.  What started life as an entertainment contest has over the last decade become a 6-section festival of music with around 40 bands and 2,000 musicians taking part.  The 2017 event will take place at Heritage High School in Clowne.

6-8 October
Derby Folk Festival

Featuring concerts from a huge range of artists and a full programme of sessions, dance displays, workshops, craft stalls and a great atmosphere throughout the weekend.  2017 will be the 11th year for the region's leading folk event. 

22 - 30 October   
Derwent Valley Mills Discovery Days The Discovery Days Festival is the biggest annual event in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site that takes place in the October half term.   

26 October
Chesterfield 1940s & Vintage Week-end Festival
Chesterfield Market heads back to the 1940s with traders in fancy dress, vintage cars, entertainment and music.

26 - 29 October
Chesterfield Market Festival
Chesterfield is famous for its Market come along to join in the 4 days of fun including special markets, entertainment and other events.

17 - 19 November
Banks Mill Open Studios & Artisan Fair
See the website for the latest news as to who will be there and what's happening.

Featured artists

Angela Thompson

Angela Thompson

Paula Sharples

Paula Sharples

Richard Bett

Richard Bett

Featured articles

Derbyshire Festivals

We've gathered together all the amazing festivals that Derbyshire has to offer right through the year  - come along, join in the fun and see the world-class entertainment that's right on your doorstep.

Courses, workshops and education

Check out these courses and workshops across Derbyshire through the year.

artsderbyshire on Facebook and Twitter

Come and join in the conversation.