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Five top reasons not to miss this year’s Fantasy Forest Festival


Fantasy Festival at Sudeley Castle

Fantasy Forest, the popular festival celebrating all things fantasy, returns to the majestic grounds of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, from 14 – 16 July 2023 with a packed programme of exciting entertainment, live music, family fun and unique experiences.
 
With so much going on over the weekend, here is a round up of five top highlights you won’t want to miss:
 
1    Magical live entertainment
This year’s festival features four stages of live music and entertainment, as well as dedicated gaming tents and a magical children’s area.
 
The Wicker Fire Ceremony, held on Saturday evening, is a festival highlight for many. Watch as an impressive wicker structure, this year in the form of a bear, is set alight in a spectacular, poignant display.
 
The Film Orchestra will provide a spectacular performance on Sunday afternoon, with 70 talented musicians performing well-known music from the world of film, television and gaming, complete with 40-strong choir. Expect to hear scores from Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Toy Story, Ghostbusters, James Bond and many more, set against the atmospheric backdrop of the castle and grounds.
 
 
Families will enjoy the energetic performance of hits from The Rocky Horror Show by The West End Kids on Sunday. Meanwhile, fantasy fans will enjoy meeting acclaimed illustrator Anne Stokes in the STOKED area, alongside talks and workshops.
 
2    Spot your favourite costumed characters
From orcs to elves, daleks to stormtroopers, fairies to knights, and everything in between – visitors will spot plenty of costumed characters roaming the beautiful castle grounds throughout the festival. The popular daily Costume Competition is a great opportunity to sit back and soak up the festival atmosphere, while cheering on your favourite characters and marvelling at the intricate costumes on display.
 
3    Set sail on a high-sea adventure
Step back in time and discover the swashbuckling adventures and perilous endeavours from long ago at the Pirate Encampment.  Little ones will enjoy meeting costumed characters and having a go at making their very own buried treasure map. The Historical Living Company will take festival-goers on a daring piratical discovery with captivating storytelling and energetic pirate display fights.
 
This year’s festival features no less than four pirate themed bands performing rousing live music across the weekend. Don’t miss Ye Banished Privateers, a popular pirate band from Sweden, who will take the main stage audience back in time over 300 years to the fascinating life on the high seas!
 
4    Explore the UK’s largest fantasy marketplace
Browse over 100 stalls selling an impressive range of items at the UK’s largest fantasy marketplace. The expansive market offers fantasy-inspired crafts, original art and sculptures, leather goods, jewellery, officially-licenced gifts and collectibles, fantasy and historical clothing, fairy crafts, re-enactment wear, gaming accessories and so much more!
 
5    Learn a unique new skill
Have you ever dreamed of handling a lightsaber like a Jedi? Or imagined yourself battling in a sword fight? Well, at Fantasy Forest, everyone can try their hand at a number of unique workshops and classes. As well as sword-fighting and lightsaber workshops, there’s belly dancing classes, an orc bootcamp and poi spinning (a traditional Māori performing art). Little ones will enjoy the creative craft sessions and hoola hooping over at the Halfling Meadow children’s area, while older kids and adults young at heart can learn how to battle wild beasts and monsters, discovering their supernatural abilities like Geralt of Rivia in the Witcher Training groups.
 
 
As the festival continues to grow in popularity, 2023 has been the fastest-selling year yet, with weekend and Saturday tickets completely sold out. However, if you’re quick there is still time to book a Sunday ticket before those sell out too. Children under 7 are free of charge and well-behaved dogs on leads also welcome, so all the family can enjoy the festival fun.
 
See below for the full line-up and to purchase Sunday tickets in advance,


Explore Gloucestershire
4 July 2023


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