Where: Faversham, Kent
£: Free. Parking costs £5 for the day, and the shuttle bus costs £1
What is it?
Follow the hop-pickers trail to the ancient hopping and brewing town of Faversham, for one of the biggest free street festivals in the South East. Faversham Hop Festival will take place in Kent on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September.
For many years the working classes of the East End of London would journey down to Kent to work on the hop harvest. Entire families would decamp from the crowded streets of London, to the fresh air and open spaces of rural Kent. Home would be set up in little tin shacks, and after hard days in the hop gardens evenings would often be spent around the campfire with music, song and dance; along with pints of Kentish Beer!
Faversham Hop Festival is a grand celebration of those times with music, song and dance once more resounding in the streets. Five music stages are supported by street buskers, folk dancers, craft beer brewers, artisan food producers, and a funfair.
One of the highlights of the weekend will be the behind-the-scenes tours of the Shepherd Neame Brewery, home to Britain’s oldest brewer.
An essential accessory for any visitor to this festival is the traditional hop garland, which will be available from various points in the town. These hop garlands will be worn by the performers as they parade through the town each day.
The Sunday parade halts at the Brewery Stage for a traditional ‘Blessing of the Hop Harvest’, before continuing to the beautiful parish church of St Mary of Charity for a full Hop Blessing Service.
Visitors should note that there will be no parking in the town centre over the festival weekend. Motorists are advised to take the M2 to J6 Faversham, and then follow the yellow signs to the Festival Car Park at Abbey School (800 yards from the town centre). For travel by rail, London to Kent coast services call at Faversham on a regular timetable.
More info: www.favershamhopfestival.org