All the festivals coming to Reading, Slough and Berkshire in 2020

All the festivals coming to Reading, Slough and Berkshire in 2020

A year of great music, arts performances and family days in the sun await

Woman wearing Groovy glasses in crowd
Groovy glasses at the Main Stage of Reading Festival (Image: BerkshireLive/Neil Graham)

The new year – and new decade – is well and truly underway and you’re probably already planning the main events of your calendar.

And among them will probably be at least one of the incredible events and festivals set to make a return to Berkshire in the list below.

From cultural heavyweights like Reading Carnival and the Vaisakhi festivals in Reading and Slough, to family-friendly occasions like Maidenhead Festival, Slough Canal Festival and the Royal County of Berkshire Show in Newbury, there is plenty to see and do.

One of the most unforgettable festivals Berkshire hosts is the one-and-only Reading Festival, which sees more than 100,000 fans descend on Reading, Berkshire every year to see some of the biggest names in music. 

For the more sport-minded, Royal Ascot is also a firm favourite in the county, with Henley Royal Regatta also only a short distance away.

But there are also a number of smaller events worth noting, from beer and cider festivals to tribute acts and comedy and arts festivals like Reading Fringe.

So, to help you out, we’ve listed all the festivals and events worth heading along to in Berkshire in 2020.

Are You Listening? Festival

row of people sat against stage curtain
Reading band Marisa ands the Moths are back for another barnstorming performance at Are You Listening? 2020 (Image: Marisa ands the Moths)

When: Saturday, April 25

Where: Various venues across Reading, Berkshire

Additional information: Head to the festival website for updates on tickets

AreYouListening?  is a multi-venue one-day music event which hosts a great mix of touring bands and homegrown talent.

Acts already confirmed for the festival include wild piano artist BC Camplight, rapper Ash the Author and Reading band Marisa and the Moths, who had a barnstorming performance at one of their first gigs ever at Are You Listening in 2018.

The other great thing about AreYouListening? is that its all for charity.

Money raised goes to learning disability charity Reading Mencap.  The event has raised nearly £70,000 for Mencap since it began in 2013.

Nagar Kirtan Festivals to mark Vaisakhi in Berkshire

At sword dancer at a Vaisakhi Festival
At sword dancer at Reading Vaisakhi Festival (Image: Get Reading)

When: May tbc

Where: Reading and Slough

Additional information: Vaisakhi is a Hindu and Sikh festival which commemorates  the formation of Khalsa panth of holy warriors under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Part of the celebrations include Nagar Kirtan – a Sikh custom of singing holy hymns.

In East Reading, the procession goes through Cumberland Road, Wokingham Road, Church Road and London Road

A Nagar Kirtan is also held by Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Slough.  The celebration includes floats, stalls and music to dance to.

The procession stops off at Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara in Woodlands Avenue.

Reading Beer and Cider Festival

woman pouring pint of cider from barrel
(Image: Get Reading)

When: Thursday, May 7 to Sunday, May 10

Where: Christchurch Meadows, Caversham

Additional information: Tickets are not yet on sale for the popular event, which runs across a long weekend.

But you can get the latest updates by singing up for the 2020 mailing list here.

Held in a massive Oktoberfest-style tent in Christchurch Meadows, the event features great drinks and great music too.

Red Sky Festival

Doctor and the Medics performing
Doctor and the Medics, who headlined Red Sky Festival last year (Image: Red Sky Festival)

When: Saturday, May 23 to Sunday, May 24

Where: Padworth, RG7 4HS.

Additional information: Numerous tribute acts perform at this annual event in Padworth.

So far, indie tribute Kaiser Monkey Killers, The Human League Tribute and Blurd, the Blur tribute act are all signed up for the festival.

Tier 1 super early bird tickets go on sale on Saturday, February 1.  You can buy them on the Red Sky Festival website.

Reading Carnival

When: May tbc

Where: Procession in Oxford Road, carnival site in Prospect Park

Additional information: Reading Carnival roared back to life after a hiatus in 2017.

Attendees can expect a massive party through the streets of Reading as the procession makes its way to the Prospect Park festival site, where rappers, DJs and other musicians will entertain the crowd.

The carnival has a mostly Caribbean flare, and is heavily influenced by Reading’s Bajan community, which is one of the largest in the UK.

Bracknell Ale & Cider Festival

When: Sunday, May 24

Where: Bracknell Rugby Club, Lily Hill Park, Lily Hill Drive, Bracknell

Additional information: Every year, beer lovers in Bracknell flock to the rugby club to drink some of the best ales and ciders made in the area.

Once you get hungry, you can gorge on delicious street food while listening to the live bands at the event.

Tickets go on sale later this year. For updates, to sponsor or volunteer, please email beer@bracknaleevents.co.uk

Chilli Festivals

The crowd cheers on contestants taking on challenge at Chilli Festival
The crowd cheers on contestants taking on the Hot-Headz hot wing challenge at Reading Chilli Festival

When:

  • Windsor: Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31
  • Reading: Saturday, June 20

Where:

  • Windsor: Windsor View Lakes, 324 Horton Road, Datchet
  • Reading: Market Place, Reading town centre

Additional information: There will be two chilli festivals held in Berkshire this summer for these who like to turn up the heat with tongue-testing delights – including the first of its kind event in Windsor.

Music will stop at the main stage for the chili eating competition at 5pm, fit for only the bravest of chili eaters.

Tickets are on sale now via Eventbrite.

Details about Reading Chili Festival 2020 are scarce, but a date has been set.  You can get updates on the Reading Chillli Festival Facebook page.

Wokingham International Street Concert

Band performing on a colourful lit stage
The band Fully FunKtional performed at Wokingham International Street Concert last year (Image: Lucy Boazman)

When: Date tbc, start of June

Where: Broad Street, Wokingham

Additional information: Each year, the people of Wokingham are treated to a great day of music right in the town centre.

Broad Street will be closed off for the show, so music lovers have been encouraged to bring chairs and picnics to the event.

There will also be street food available during the free event.

Woodley Carnival

Woodley Carnival performers in action
Woodley Carnival

When: Saturday, June 6

Where: Carnival site at Woodford Park, Woodley

Additional information: Woodley Carnival is a quintessentially English carnival which promises a day of fun for all the family.

Each carnival has a theme, and this year’s is the number 60, to celebrate the event’s 60th anniversary.

Following a procession through the streets the carnival ends up in Woodford Park, and there are prizes for the best floats.

To round off the day, there is an evening concert, where bands from the area will take the carnival stage by storm.

Reading Water Festival

people stood smiling for photo from narrow boats
Reading Water Festival, held in the Abbey Quarter, will be in its 31st year in 2020 (Image: Reading Borough Council)

When: Saturday, June 13

Where: Reading Abbey Quarter, Chestnut Walk, Forbury Gardens

Additional information: Reading Water Festival is a day of family fun at the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Last year, visitors enjoyed narrow boat rides, live music, performances in Reading Abbey and even metal forging.

As always, there will be street food in the Abbey Ruins and along Chestnut Walk to gorge on when you get hungry.

For updates on the festival, you can follow it on Facebook.

Craft Theory

South Street Arts Centre exterior
Craft Theory is back at the South Street Arts Centre this year

When: Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13

Where:South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading

Additional information: The Craft Theory weekender is back for its fourth year.

Riding on the back of the resounding success of its events previously, the organisers are excited for another event full of awesome music and fantastic beers.

Featuring the best beers from Berkshire and international breweries, the great thing about Craft Theory is that it gives you the opportunity to meet the brewers & chat about their drinks.

You can also listen to great music and gorge on gourmet street food when the hunger sets in.

Royal Ascot 2020

Megan Nicholls riding Black Corton at royal ascot
Megan Nicholls riding Black Corton in action in the Queen Alexandra Stakes (Image: Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse)

When: Tuesday, June 16 to Saturday, June 20

Where: Ascot Racecourse, High Street, Ascot

Additional information: The word ‘horse racing’ and ‘Ascot’ are almost synonymous, with the Royal Ascot being one of those most hotly anticipated events in the summer sporting calendar.

As Britain’s most valuable race meeting, Royal Ascot has an international reputation.

There are a number of tickets on sale for the event, which range from £26 to go on Tuesday, June 16 for people over the age of 49 to £85 for a ticket in the Queen Anne Enclosure.

Visit the website to book and for more details.

Find out the latest news on Royal Ascot on our dedicated page here.

East Reading Festival

Crowds at East Reading Festival
East Reading Festival (Image: Get Reading)

When: Sunday, June 21

Where: Palmer Park, Reading

Additional information: East Reading Festival will be back at Palmer Park with a host of fun activities for all the family, entertainment and dozens of stalls.

The festival aims to celebrate the diversity of East Reading and strengthen links between organisations in the area.

You can the latest information on the event from the East Reading Festival Facebook page.

Henley Royal Regatta 2020

When: Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5

Where: Henley-On-Thames, South Oxfordshire

Additional information: One of the most famous regattas in the whole world, heading to Henley to watch the rowing is a spectacular not to be missed.

Founded in 1839, it is famous both as a great sporting event and as a social occasion. People travel from all over the world to attend, either as competitors or as spectators.

Rowers in action at Henley royal regatta
(Image: Get Reading)

Each day, the enclosure opens around half an hour before racing starts at 9am and closes at around 7.45pm.

Last year, an extra day was added to the event.

Tickets go on sale from 9.30am on Wednesday, April 1.  Last year, tickets ranged from £27 for the Royal Regatta Enclosure to £38.

Find out the latest on Henley Royal Regatta, from prices to times, dress code to winners on our dedicated Henley Royal Regatta page here.

Bastille Day Festival

Crowds celebrating Bastille Day
Crowds celebrating Bastille Day

When: Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12

Where: Forbury Gardens, Reading

Additional information: After eight-years of continued success, Bastille Day Festival Reading is rolling out its plans for yet another weekend of fun, relaxation and laughter this year.

Guests can enjoy a weekend full of activities to keep the family entertained while celebrating French culture, and the language, which is widespread across the globe.

Previous events have seen live music performers, arts and crafts and a food market.

Reading Fringe Festival

Promo photo of drag act
Crayola the Queen, a drag act who is no stranger to Reading (Image: Reading Fringe Festival)

When: Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July  26

Where: Various venues across Reading

Additional information: An annual celebration of performing arts, the Fringe Festival highlights how cultured Reading is.

Held in July, the programme is always bursting at the seams with exciting performances.

Set across multiple venues, visitors can enjoy everything from cabaret performances, comedians and drag acts to special film showings, theatre performances, live music and poetry.

Applications to perform are now open.

Henley Festival

People relaxing in giant deck chair
Relaxing in the sun at Henley Festival (Image: Henley Festival)

When: Wednesday, July 8 to Sunday, July 12

Where: River & Rowing Museum, Mill Meadows, Henley-on-Thames

Additional information: Henley Festival has to be one of the more unique festivals on the list, because there’s a black tie dress code.

The event is a celebration of British and international arts held in the upscale town.

Set in a beautiful location the banks of the River Thames, the festival always attracts some huge acts.

Last year saw performances from Jessi J, Tom Odell and Boy George.

Tickets are on sale from January 29.

Party in the Paddock Festival

Mcfly performing on stage
McFly will be taking the paddock stage by storm at Newbury Racecourse this summer (Image: Reach PLC)

When: Saturday, July 18

Where: Newbury Racecourse

Additional information: Every summer, Newbury Racecourse hosts a massive gig for racefans, and this year boy band McFly is set to take the Paddock stage by storm.

The noughties heartthrobs are famous for their hits ‘Obviously’, ‘Five Colours in Her Hair’ and ‘All About You’.

What’s more, race fans will be able to bet on horses at the £250,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint held on the same day.

Tickets are on sale now via the Newbury Racecourse website.

Readipop Festival

Crowds at Readipop Festival
here are some great acts to see at Readipop Festival, held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Image: Luke Dyson)

When: Friday, July 10 to Sunday, July 12

Where: Christchurch Meadows, Caversham

Additional information: Now in its fifth year, Christchurch Meadows is set to be stormed again by some of the best acts from Reading, the UK and beyond.

Although the lineup has not yet  been announced yet, previous years have seen performances from the likes of Huw Stephens, Goldie Lookin Chain, Cassetteboy and Jurassic 5’s Soup.

It’s also a great platform for Reading bands to show off their talent.

It’s all in aid of Readipop, the town’s music charity, which helps people develop their music careers and provides music classes for vulnerable young people.

Friends of the charity can buy tickets for £25 now via Eventbrite, with general release tickets on sale later this year.

Marvellous Festival

When: Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19

Where: Dinton Pastures, Davis Street, Hurst

Additional information: This tribute act festival has already announced some of the acts set to perform, including Coldplace, Fillers, Flash (Freddy Mercury tribute), Typically Tina and Fletwood Bac, among others.

Held in the lush surroundings of Dinton Pastures, thousands have flocked to the festival, which includes a camping option, in previous years. 

Super Early Birds can get 20 per cent off their tickets if they buy them before Friday, January 31.

Regular early birds can get a 10 per cent discount, on sale from Saturday, February 1 to Tuesday, March 31.

Early Bird Discounts only apply to Day and Weekend tickets.

Maidenhead Festival

When: Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19

Where: Kidwells Park, Wilberforce Mews, Maidenhead

Additional information: Of all on the festivals on this list, this one is of the most family-orientated and sees Kidswell Park transformed into a fairground.

Other attractions include a band stand with tribute acts and a beach area for children to make sand castles in.

The event all ends with some spectacular fireworks.

Entry is free. If you want to book a stall, or apply for a food stall, head to the festival website

Wokingham Festival

When: To be announced, held in August in 2020

Where: Cantley Park, Wokingham

Additional information: This year will be the 14th time the annual festival has taken place in Wokingham.

Usually held in Cantley Park during August, the people of Wokingham can expect good food, music and drinks in this community focused festival.

Reading Mela

A young boy enjoys himself at Reading Mela in Palmer Park
A young boy enjoys himself at Reading Mela in Palmer Park

When: Sunday, August 2

Where: Palmer Park, Reading

Additional information: The word ‘Mela’ means ‘meet’ or ‘fair’ in Sanskrit – and that’s exactly what Palmer Park will be transformed into in August.

In a fun-packed day with an Indian culture influence, guests can enjoy a range of games, activities and explore the stalls.

There will also be singing, Bollywood and street dancing, belly dancing, multiple shows for kids and much more.

There will also be a world food corner and a shopping village.

Reading Festival

Crowd sillouhetted by sunset
Foo Fighters will close Reading Festival on Sunday (Image: BerkshireLive/Neil Graham

When: Friday, August 28 to Sunday, August 30

Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading

Additional information: So far, only Britpop legend Liam Gallagher has been announced for Reading Festival 2020 – one of the UK’s biggest music festivals.

Tickets are on sale now on the Reading Festival website.

Reading Pride

Colourfully dressed man
Reading Pride 2019 (Image: Reach PLC)

When: Saturday, September 5

Where: Parade through town centre, ends at festival site in King’s Meadow, Reading

Additional information: Every year, Pride organisers aim to advance education and eliminate discrimination towards the town’s LGBTQ+ communities by putting on a parade.

The event culminates in a festival in King’s Meadow where crowds of hundreds if not thousands of people are dazzled with a variety of acts.

This year, ambassador Mark Albertyne and asexual acitivist and model Yasmin Benoit are expected at the event.

Down at The Abbey

Reading Abbey ruins
Reading Abbey was reopened in 2018 (Image: Get Reading)

When: Saturday, September 12

Where: Reading Abbey Ruins

Additional information: Following the success of the first Down At The Abbey festival in 2019, the one-day music event is back for 2020.

Held across two stages in the historic Abbey Ruins, festival goers can also enjoy award-winning craft beer from Siren Craft Brew and and a range of delicious street food for those of all tastes.

Festival organiser Dave Maul said: “‘We couldn’t be happier with how our first year went! The music was brilliant, the setting was ethereal and everyone we’ve spoken to really loved it.

“We’re really excited to be doing it again this year and we’ve got loads of ideas bubbling away to make it even bigger and better.”

Tier 1 adult tickets cost £24.20, tickets are on sale via the Gigantic website.

Slough Canal Festival

Families enjoy narrow boat rides
Families enjoy narrow boat rides on the Grand Union canal in Slough (Image: Slough Borough Council)

When: Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13

Where: Bloom Park, Middlegreen Road, Langley

Additional information: Slough Canal Festival is a traditional day out right by the water which takes place in Bloom Park, Langley, and on the historic Grand Union Canal.

Visitors can enjoy canal trips, steam engine trips, crafts and watch birds of prey displays.

Your children can even hop behind the wheel of a ‘diddy car’ to test their future driving skills.

The Canal Festival has free entry, free parking, free displays and performances.

Heritage Open Days

Windsor Castle
Exterior view of Windsor Castle, Berkshire (Image: Getty Images)

When: Friday, September 11 to Sunday, September 20

Where: Across Berkshire

Additional information: Historical sites, places of worship and heritage sites across the county will open themselves up as part of the national Heritage Open Days initiative.

The days are a great way to learn about Berkshire’s history and heritage, and there is always a lot to do at various locations in Reading when festivities take place in September.

Reading on Thames 2020

Theatre performer in action
Reading Between the Lines theatre company are the kings of historical performances in Reading (Image: Reading Between the Lines)

When: tbc, usually held in September

Where: Various venues in Reading

Additional information: It’s not certain whether Reading on Thames Festival will be back for its fourth year running since only three festivals were funded with the Reading Place of Culture project.

The last three festivals have seen great historical-themed performances from Reading Between the Lines, circus acts, film screenings and more.

Burghfest

When: Dates tbc, end of September

Where: Burghfield Recreation ground, Recreation Road, Burghfield Common

Additional information: Burghfield beer and music festival is set to return in September.

Normally held over two days in aid of charities like Thames Valley Air Ambulance, the festival brings villagers together over real ales, ciders, great food and music.

Awards are dished out for the best cask ale, best craft beer and best cider at the event.

You’ll have to be quick to get your hands on a ticket though – they sell out pretty fast.

For updates, head to the BurghFest website.

The Royal County of Berkshire Show

When: Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20

Where: Newbury Showground, Priors Court Road, Hermitage

Additional information: Held at the Newbury Showground near Thatcham, the Royal County of Berkshire Show is a chance for breeders and growers to show off their skills.

Enthusiasts also bring out their steam engines, old tractors and other classic vehicles for display.

There are also plenty of opportunities to watch various displays and enjoy a number of attractions at the annual event.

Reading Comic Con

Cosplayers at Reading Comic Con
Jane Harley Quinn and Niamh, Poison Ivy (Image: Berkshire Live)

When: Autumn 2020, date tbd

Where: Rivermead Leisure Complex, Richfield Avenue, Reading

Additional information: Reading’s annual Comic Con is set to return this year.

In 2019, there were some great guests from TV, films and gaming visit fans at Rivermead Leisure Complex.

Visitors can also check out some awesome props from their favourite films and TV shows, and buy a range of collectibles, from pop figures to comic books.

No appearances or date have been revealed yet, but you can get updates from organisers Creed Conventions on Facebook.

News from Berkshire live

Written by Editor

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