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Coordinates: 54°48′46″N 3°22′22″W / 54.81278°N 3.37278°W / 54.81278; -3.37278

The Solway Festival
Solfest logo.jpg
Location(s) Tarns, Cumbria
Years active 2004 - present
Founded by The Solfest Committee
Date(s) August Bank Holiday Weekend
Genre Rock, Alternative rock, Northern Soul, Dance, Indie, World music, Punk, Reggae, Folk music.
Solfest 2007 Aerial Photograph

Solfest is a Cumbrian arts organisation which runs an annual music festival held near to Silloth in Cumbria, England. It is held annually at Tarnside Farm on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Solway Festival[edit]

The Solfest organisation was initially formed in September 2003 when a team of enthusiastic West Cumbrian festival goers got together and made initial plans to create a festival of their very own a little nearer to home. They were quickly joined by other interested parties and Solfest was run by a structured committee of sixteen permanent members until 2010 when the management structure changed. Solfest is now run by a smaller management team.

While Solway Festival Ltd is a registered company, the organisation operates as a Social Enterprise whereby all surplus income is reinvested into the organisation. Solfest is constituted in such a way that it does not allow any members of the Solfest committee to make any financial gain from the festival.


The first Solfest festival took place over the weekend of 3rd/4/5 September 2004 on a 26-acre (110,000 m2) site at Tarnside Farm approximately halfway between the towns of Aspatria and Silloth. One of the key factors in the ongoing success of the Solfest Festival has been the spectacular scenery of the site, which boasts panoramic views across the Solway Firth taking in a backdrop of the Scottish Southern Uplands. In the opposite direction, the Main Stage is set against a backdrop of the English Lake District. Aside from its spectacular scenery, the festival site also boasts a sand-based soil which ensures that Solfest is never blighted by the mud which is the downfall of many British festivals. Playing host to just 1800 people in its first year, the festival ethos strived to appeal to everyone, without prejudice and was a resounding success. Planning for 2005 started almost straight afterwards. It now plays host to an annual crowd of up to 10,000 people.

Musically as well as creatively, the festival has been likened to a smaller version of Glastonbury with a varied mix of music to suit everyone. It has 3 large stages (Main stage, Drystone Stage & Bar Stage) as well as a dance tent. The festival also puts major emphasis on caring for the patrons by providing dedicated welfare areas and children's play areas.

There is a wide variance of other activities provided by visiting artists ranging from crafts, woodworking etc. through to entertainers and musicians.

The Solfest festival is unique from any other festival because despite the fact that Solfest Ltd is a registered company, it is run as a constituted Social Enterprise, entirely by unpaid volunteers, and does not have any corporate sponsorship. This allows the organisers to remain true to their vision of running a festival "how a festival should be run" while at the same time providing one of the cheapest festivals in the UK with 2011 tickets costing from just £89 per person.[1]

Artists who have appeared at the Solfest Festival include' Badly Drawn Boy, Buzzcocks, Supergrass, Oysterband, The Levellers, The Wonderstuff, The Charlatans (UK band), James (band), Roisin Murphy, Blockheads, The Bad Shepherds, Pikey Beatz, Misty's Big Adventure, Kate Rusby, The Orb, Easy Star All Stars, The Undertones, The Proclaimers, The Beat, Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Ozric Tentacles, 3 Daft Monkeys, Bex Marshall, Penny Broadhurst, Katus, Silverwheel, Eat Static, The Damned, Evil Nine, Alabama 3, New Young Pony Club, The Magic Numbers, Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos and Escapology expert David Straitjacket.


Solfest won the "Best Family Festival Award" at the 2007 National Festival Awards.[2]


  1. ^ Solfest Official Website
  2. ^ Festival Awards Website