Happy 18th birthday Local & Live!

The Local & Live Music Festival, on from August 25-27 at Calverley Grounds and other venues across Tunbridge Wells, is back! Here its founder and organiser Paul Dunton reveals who’s on the bill and ten reasons why you should be there, too in this, its 18th year…


The town’s biggest free music festival returns in August, when Local & Live returns once more to Calverley Grounds. Held over the Bank Holiday weekend from August 25 to 27, it draws thousands to the park with its showcase of the very best the local music scene has to offer.

From modest beginnings on The Pantiles bandstand many years ago, amazingly the event is in now its 18th year and has become the biggest free series of live music gigs in the area. It all begins at 6pm on the Friday night in Calverley Grounds, before continuing the next day and running from midday to 10pm on both Saturday and Sunday. On Bank Holiday Monday the action switches to the Sussex Mews in The Pantiles.

As it’s such a special year for us we really hope you’ll dedicate some or all of your weekend to coming along and enjoying all the live acts. Here are just a few reasons to get involved…


Top ten highlights of Local & Live:

Local music

Don’t expect to see tribute or covers bands at Local & Live. This event showcases the cream of local talent playing their own compositions. These are real artists who care deeply about their musical creations and the best place to find them is at Local & Live. Who knows what you will discover?


Meet the stars

Unlike the big commercial festivals, nobody will be arriving by helicopter and hiding backstage in the green room. You are more than likely to see the artists on stage one minute and mixing in with the crowd the next, enjoying the music and the vibe. If you liked their performance, go and tell them in person!


Food, glorious food

Local & Live has recruited some of the best local food and drink companies to take stalls in the event’s food village. They bring a wide variety of local and global cuisine styles, including very decent vegetarian and vegan options. You can spend all three days in the park and not eat the same meal twice.


Local & Live Fringe

Did you know the event even has its own fringe festival? Every night, before the main stage closes, things are already revving up at The Forum where the free ‘after party’ gets crowds rocking. Then, on Monday, both The Forum and a special stage in Sussex Mews run back-to-back music all afternoon and into the evening.


Al fresco vibes

Bring a rug because everything you need for a great picnic is right there in the park. Cool drinks and hot food are just a few yards away. Add to that the continuous enjoyable entertainment from midday at the weekend until 10 in the evening and you have the perfect summer scenario.


We are family

This is one event where you don’t need to leave the kids with a childminder or insist the teens must be picked up by 10pm. Local & Live is a festival for all the family and this has been proved year on year with the amount of young and older attendees. Even well-behaved dogs are welcome on a lead.


Friendly and social

It would be difficult to go to Local & Live and not meet anyone. It has to be one of the friendliest festivals out there. Once you get settled in, the chances are you’ll be chatting to your neighbours before you know it. We always hear stories of friendships formed at Local & Live.


Heart of Tunbridge Wells

If you live in the town, then the festival is on your doorstep. There is no need to worry about parking in the town centre or having to choose a nominated driver so you can have a drink. Calverley Grounds is perfectly placed for most people living in all areas of the town.


Easily accessible

If you live in a neighbouring town or village but still want to come, then you are likely to be just minutes away by train or bus. The line through Tunbridge Wells serves Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. Also buses from right outside the gate go to towns like Crowborough and Uckfield.


It’s absolutely free

There is genuinely no charge for attending the festival. The event is a gift to residents from the local music scene supported by the town’s businesses.

However, if you like it, you can support it by buying your food and drink from the stalls in
the food village or by making a donation at the event or on the website:


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter