Record numbers of fans are expected to flock to this year’s Wickham Festival.
With headliners including the Proclaimers, 10CC, Wilko Johnson and Billy Bragg, ticket sales have risen sharply ahead of the August 6-9 event.
The capacity of the picturesque site has been extended to 7,000 following the success of last year’s sell-out show by James Blunt.
And the signs are that the final two days of this year’s event will attract a full house to the small Hampshire village with a big reputation for attracting top-name artists.
Organiser Peter Chegwyn said: “We have always had a capacity of 5,000 until last year when we were granted an extension to cater for the unprecedented demand.
“The site coped comfortably with the extra numbers so we have stuck at that limit this year and I am delighted to say the final two days look like they might sell out completely.
“We are up on numbers overall year on year, partly down to the good weather and largely because we have a very strong line-up over all four days.
“At the moment I would say we are expecting between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors over the weekend including a potential sell-out on the Saturday and Sunday.
“Our ‘glamping’ has already sold out but we have plenty of camping places still available at just £25 for the whole weekend. It means people can enjoy the music and have a few drinks and enjoy the top quality catering in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Fans will be coming from as far as the USA, Canada and Australia for this annual event with such a special and informal feel allowing children to roam freely and safely enjoying their own entertainment.
They can watch a range of family films at the Groovy Movie solar-powered cinema or enjoy a wide range of family entertainment including: cartoon cinema, storytelling, puppet theatre and make ‘n’ take crafts tent.
In addition there is a digital funfair, playbus, laser arena, bouncy castles and children’s entertainers – and all are free once people are in the festival arena!
Chegwyn added: “With more than 80 artists on three stages plus a host of other family entertainment for all ages and a wide range of craft and food stalls, there is something for everyone.
“But probably our greatest selling point and the thing which brings people back year after year, is the unique atmosphere and family feel.
“The great thing about Wickham is that we never get any trouble at the Festival. We attract an audience from all over Britain and abroad, people who just want to enjoy top-quality live music in a lovely rural setting.
“If the sun shines people sit outside but even when it rains we have two huge circus-style ‘Big Tops’ so people can still enjoy the music without getting wet.
“Wickham offers the best of both worlds with lots of entertainment for all ages, a family-friendly Festival that’s not too big, a wonderful day or weekend Festival experience for all who attend
“We have great camping facilities and the picturesque village is less than10 minutes walk for those who want to stock up on supplies or enjoy afternoon tea or a cooked breakfast.
“We have plenty of parking on site, good toilets and showers plus nappy-changing areas – and a fantastic line-up this year with the main stage protected by a big top to keep fans dry so they don’t need to worry about the weather.”
This year’s line-up also includes Andy Fairweather-Low, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Seth Lakeman, The South (formerly the Beautiful South) and the Tom Robinson Band making a rare festival appearance.
The Wickham Festival was recently featured in the top eight festivals in the Guardian. Tickets are available at www.ticketsouth.co.uk Day tickets start at just £35 with under-16s being half-price and under-10s free. Camping tickets are priced at £25 per tent or caravan for the whole weekend. Tickets can be booked by phone on 023 8071 1818, via The Mayflower in Southampton, the Ferneham Hall in Fareham, or in person from Wickham Wine Bar in The Square, Wickham.