‘Chilled’ family festival to put Hop Farm back on music map

Jez Timms Torpedo Juice

Festival fever returns to the Hop Farm near Paddock Wood this summer with the arrival of the award-winning Chilled in a Field.

The not-for-profit event, which was named as one of the UK’s top small festivals, has moved to West Kent after a successful period in East Sussex. Running from July 29 to 31, it is described as a festival ‘for ex-ravers and their kids’ and has a family-orientated flavour with activities all day long.

There will be three stages, including a “secret” woodland one which showcases acoustic talent and a “silent disco” until dawn, since the music ends at 11pm. Crowds are limited to 750 a day.

There will also be a real ale festival bar, with local beer and cider, street food, a not-for-profit shop, warm showers, glamping and camper van pitches with electric hook-up.

The farm ran its own music festival from 2008 to 2012, and again in 2014 after a cancellation for poor ticket sales. Then the company staging the show, Hop Farm Music Festival Ltd, went into liquidation.

A host of world-famous acts rocked up to the rural location including Bob Dylan, Prince and Neil Young. Despite hiring new promoters it signed off two years ago with Grace Jones and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

More recently the venue has been struggling, and last weekend’s Silent Disco with Radio 1 DJ Greg James in aid of breast cancer charity CoppaFeel! had to be cancelled.

It also hit the headlines in April after an online clip went viral showing two men trading punches in what appeared to be a semi-official bare knuckle fight at a boot fair.

The line-up for Chilled In A Field will feature the likes of The Egg, Tankus The Henge, She Drew The Gun and Cocos Lovers.

Miguel Fenton, head of marketing at the Hop Farm, said: “We are delighted. Music festivals are the heart and soul of the Hop Farm. This one is particularly fitting as it is a family festival.”

Chilled in a Field Festival began in 2010 and director Sophie Randles-Dunkley explained that it “has grown from small beginnings, with just 120 people in a field in Hawkhurst”.

She added: “We are also a not-for-profit social enterprise, entirely run by volunteers, so you can really feel the love. The festival is a great opportunity to have fun in a safe and happy environment.”


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