Festivals in Exeter - Festivals and events in Exeter and the South West

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  2. Cost of living in Exeter
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  7. Exeter neighborhoods - The most important districts of Exeter
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  9. British cuisine - The gastronomy of Britain and traditional dishes
  10. Where to eat in Exeter - British cuisine and gastronomy in Exeter
  11. Top Exeter attractions - The best things to do in Exeter
  12. Festivals in Exeter - Festivals and events in Exeter and the South West
  13. Day trips from Exeter - Places to visit and excursions around Exeter
  14. Exeter in 3 Days - What to see in Exeter in 3 days

This section focuses on festivals and events in Exeter and the surrounding area. Throughout the year, Exeter hosts a variety of cultural festivals and events, from small, intimate gigs, to large, open-air festivals. There’s also food shows and street markets for those who are more into gastronomy.


Over the years, many different performers and bands have played in Exeter. The city has a variety of music venues, which will be covered here.

The Lemon Grove

This is the on-campus event's venue, and whilst many students know it as the place to go on a Saturday night, on other days of the week it plays host to a variety of music acts, from a wide range of genres. With a capacity of 700, the Lemon Grove is a fairly small venue with an intimate feel, but nonetheless has had some big names play there, including Chase and Status and Rizzle Kicks.

Ticket prices vary depending on the act and are generally between £5 and £15.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall is another on-campus music and events venue. With a capacity of 1800, it doesn’t have the same intimate feel as the Lemon Grove, but in turn, hosts bigger names. In the past, they’ve had the likes of Muse and Razorlight.

Expect tickets to run upwards of £15.

The Cavern

Situated on Queen Street, the Cavern is Exeter’s oldest indie music venue. With its underground, cave-like setting, this is an atmospheric venue and perfect for those who prefer to see indie and up-and-coming bands up close.

Ticket prices vary depending on the act and can be anything between £5 and £15.

Lockdown Festival

This is a dance festival which takes place at the beginning of September every year. Lockdown festival is a three-day festival on the grounds of Powderham Castle and visitors have the option of camping on-site if they wish.

Weekend camping tickets cost about £140, whereas you can purchase a day ticket for around £50. The event organises a shuttle bus service from Exeter bus station too.


Exefest is the on-campus music festival, which debuted in 2017. It’s only open to students and alumni of the university, and for one day in June, the campus is transformed into a music festival, with multiple stages, bars and food stalls.

Tickets cost about £38.

Let’s Rock Exeter

If you’re more into the music of the 80’s, this might be more for you. Let’s Rock Exeter dubs itself the ‘retro festival’, as the lineup consists of various performers and bands from the 80’s and 90’s. It takes place at the beginning of July every year at Powderham castle. It’s a one-day event with camping available.

A day ticket costs about £45, and the site is easy to get to with their shuttle bus service from Exeter bus station.

Food Festival

Every year in Exeter castle and the surrounding gardens, the food and drink festival takes place, usually in the month of May. The festival attracts over 20,000 visitors and is a great way to indulge in some of the finest food in the area, as well as see some local bands and musicians play.

Tickets cost about £8 per person, and the event takes place in the city centre.

Tar Barrels

The Tar Barrels is a free, yearly event that takes place on the Saturday before the 5th of November (fireworks night), and is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years, although its origins are unknown. Essentially, throughout the evening, residents of the town of Ottery St Mary - the town where this event takes place, a few miles from Exeter - carry on their backs lit barrels through the street, which prior to being lit have been soaked in tar. It’s a bizarre tradition, but it is unique to this town and the residents take great pride in it. It’s an event that draws in thousands of spectators a year and is a must-see (if you can handle the heat from the flames!).

Markets in the city

Throughout the year, many smaller-scale markets and events take place in the city. For example, there’s Exeter’s rum festival, where you have the opportunity to taste over 100 different varieties of rum, as well as try your hand at cocktail making.

If seeking out bargains is more your kind of thing, pop down to Fore street during one of their flea markets... or you can try some new cuisines at one of Exeter’s street food markets, taking place in different parts of the city throughout the year.

Exeter Christmas Market

Every year from mid-November to mid-December, a Christmas market is set up on the picturesque cathedral green, in the city centre. There’s a wide variety of stalls, selling everything from locally sourced food and drink, jewellery, arts and crafts gifts, liquors and wines. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Christmas gift, something a bit more unusual (like the ‘chocolate wine’!) or just want to wander around the stalls, it’s undoubtedly a lovely festive activity.

There are also some smaller Christmas markets on Castle street and Fore street. Entry to all of these is free.

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