Wickham Festival returns to get fans in the mood

Having been cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the four days of music and fun is back as Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas reports…

THOUSANDS of music lovers will be descending on a Hampshire village just north of Fareham on Thursday – August 5 – Friday, and over the weekend for the 2021 Wickham Festival.

The organisers estimate between 6,000 and 7,000 fans will be at the festival site off Blind Lane each day, with 3,000 of them camping near the main arena.

It will be one of the first music festivals in England after the Covid-19 lockdown measures were lifted and many of those arriving will have been starved of live music since March last year.

With headline acts such as Van Morrison, Deacon Blue, and Nick Lowe on Saturday, and Fairport Convention, Lindisfarne, and South – descendant of Beautiful South – on Sunday, the weekend is likely to be a busy time for arrivals and departures.

‘As in previous years, we have a full traffic      management plan in place’

Add in the many campers arriving on Thursday and it could mean some traffic problems at times on the A334 north of Wickham at the traffic-light controlled junction with Titchfield Lane and Blind Lane.

Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn – the Gosport borough and Hampshire county councillor – said: “As in previous years, we have a full traffic management plan in place. We work very closely with Hampshire Highways to ensure traffic keeps flowing with no inconvenience to residents.

“We have plenty of free parking and many fans will stay on our extensive camp site which eases congestion.”

There will be also be temporary traffic lights by the main entrance – staffed from 8am to 2am – and a festival bus will shuttle between the site and Wickham Square at 15-minute intervals from 8.30am-5pm.

‘The arena is twice the size to enable social distancing’

Festival planning has been influenced by the pandemic and, even though the lockdown measures have largely been removed, the organisers have included Covid-19 safety advice.

The festival’s website makes it clear that anyone with Covid symptoms or who has tested positive for the virus or has been required to isolate should stay away.

They also, “strongly urge everyone attending to do a Lateral Flow Test prior to leaving home” [bold as in original].

 At the site:

  • the arena is twice the size to enable social distancing
  • ‘one way’ entry and exit systems to and from the arena
  • one way queuing systems for the bars, toilets and food outlets
  • free hand sanitiser stations in the arena and campsites
  • more toilets than usual including as many single-use cubicles as possible, all with hand sanitiser and all being cleaned regularly
  • people will be encouraged to wear face masks in indoor structures including the arena tents which will have at least 50 per cent of the sides raised to improve ventilation.

 Further details of the festival including when artists will be performing and the availability of tickets can be found at.

Image (above): Wickham Festival poster