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The Kite Festival Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Georgia Carter

Georgia Carter


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The Kite festival is an annual event that takes place in the UK, celebrating music and community. The festival has a rich history, having started as a small gathering of friends and family in the early 2000s, and has since grown into a major event that attracts musicians and fans from all over the world. This year is delivered another round of impeccable and diverse talent. Let’s explore further this engaging, inciting and entertaining festival.

History of Kite Festival

The first Kite Music Festival was held in 2003 in the small town of Moretonhampstead in Devon. The festival was the brainchild of a group of friends who wanted to create a space where musicians and music lovers could come together and celebrate their passion for music. The first festival was a small affair, with only a handful of performers and attendees. However, it was a huge success, and the organizers decided to make it an annual event.

Over the years, Kite Music Festival has grown in popularity, with more and more people attending each year. The festival has also expanded its lineup, featuring a diverse range of musicians from different genres and backgrounds.

Kite Festival – When & Where?

The festival this year took place on the 9th-11th June 2023, Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire. Were you there? 

If you were lucky to be at the festival in 2022, you would have been able to see acts such as; OneDa, Mavis Staples, Self Esteem, India Shan, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, This Is The Kit. 

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YouTube player

Kite Festival – 2023 Lineup  

There were so many notable performers this year at the Kite festival, so we have included the poster as well, since we cannot name them all. 

Kite Festival

The line-up featured the likes of; Hot Chip, Suede, The Pretenders as the main headliners. 

You also could see Candi Station, Alison Goldfrapp, Django Django, Baxter Dury, Cmat, Sofia Kourtesis, David Holmes, DJ Paulette, Sarathy Korwar, Lynks, Elkka, Decius, Pirma Queen, Madmadmad, August Charles. 

Kite Festival

Kite Festival – Hot Chip

Hot Chip is a British electronic music band formed in 2000. The band consists of five members: Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Al Doyle, Owen Clarke, and Felix Martin. They are known for their unique blend of electronic dance music, indie pop, and synth-pop. Hot Chip has released seven studio albums to date, including their critically acclaimed debut album “Coming on Strong” in 2004, and their breakthrough album “The Warning” in 2006, which included the hit singles “Over and Over” and “Boy from School”. 

Their music often features catchy melodies, intricate rhythms, and emotionally charged lyrics. They have been praised for their ability to merge electronic and acoustic sounds, as well as their live performances, which are known for their energy and spontaneity. Overall, Hot Chip has established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential electronic music acts of the 21st century.

Kite Festival – Suede

Suede is an English alternative rock band formed in London in 1989. The band’s original lineup consisted of Brett Anderson (vocals), Bernard Butler (guitar), Mat Osman (bass), Simon Gilbert (drums), and Neil Codling (keyboards). Suede’s music is characterized by its dramatic, theatrical style, and often deals with themes of sexuality, addiction, and urban life. The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 1993 and received critical acclaim, earning comparisons to David Bowie and The Smiths. 

Their second album, “Dog Man Star” (1994), is considered by many to be their masterpiece, featuring complex arrangements and poetic lyrics. However, tensions between Anderson and Butler led to the latter’s departure from the band in 1994. Suede continued to release music throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with varying degrees of commercial success. They disbanded in 2003 but reformed in 2010, releasing their seventh studio album “Night Thoughts” in 2016. Suede’s influence on the Britpop movement of the 1990s cannot be overstated, and they remain a beloved and influential band in the alternative rock genre.

The Pretenders

The Pretenders are a British-American rock band formed in 1978. The band’s original lineup consisted of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde, lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, bassist Pete Farndon, and drummer Martin Chambers. They are known for their unique blend of punk, rock, and pop music, as well as Hynde’s distinctive vocals and songwriting. 

The band has released numerous critically acclaimed albums, including their self-titled debut in 1980, which featured hit singles “Brass in Pocket” and “Kid”. Despite the deaths of Honeyman-Scott and Farndon in the early 1980s, the band continued to release successful albums throughout the decade and beyond. The Pretenders have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have sold over 25 million records worldwide.

There are 4 stages which all present varying acts. 

For example, the Kite Stage is for the biggest music acts at KITE. This is where Hot Chip, Alison Goldfrapp, August Charles, Suede and many more performed. 

Next you have Heavenly Presents. A place where new talent can find an audience and cult favourites can make a home. Must-see music chats in the day and must-dance music by night. Acts who were performing on this stage, were DJ Paulette, Mauskovic Dance Band, Pale Blue Eyes and many more!

Another stage where you can enjoy music is the The Skylark Social, where the likes of Alena Arpels (DJ), Honey Moon and Tugboat Captain all performed. 

And lastly, and by no means least, on the Bloom stage, you would have found artists such as, The Fold Jam, Jackson Mathod, Oreglo and Clara Serra López. 

Kite Festival

The Ideas Stages

Along with music, this festival also provides a space to think and recharge. The KITE ticket provides access to talks on the Ideas program and music and entertainment on Heavenly, Bloom, and Skylark stages featuring speakers such as Sir John Major, George the Poet, Simon Sinek, Elizabeth Day, Sally Wainwright, and Dame Joan Collins.

Kite Festival

You can download the festival app here

The Forum

Kite Festival

‘Great lives. Big ideas. Unforgettable conversations. For those who want to be challenged, informed, and heard.’

There were talks with; Alistair Green, Dame Joan Collins, Sir John Major, Alastair Campbell, David Baddiel, Adam Kay, MC Kiri Pritchard-McLean featuring Shazia Mirza, Toussaint Douglass and Josh Berry, George the Poet, Simon Sinek, Sally Wainwright, Mike Fenton Stevens and Dave Gorman & Elizabeth Day. 

The Town Hall

Town Hall Stage

‘Sit back and listen in or stand up and hold forth at the Town Hall. It’s a village hall style vintage vibe where everyone’s welcome to pull up a chair and join in. Interactive ThinkIns, unforgettable interviews and a few surprises. Slightly chaotic – in a good way!’

The events which took place at the Town Hall stage were as follows;

ThinkIn: China and the West with Chris Patten and Rana Mitter

Podcast: The Breakup Monologues Live with Rosie Wilby and Lou Sanders                                            

Prue Leith in conversation with Dave Taylor

ThinkIn: Why are we so obsessed with class? with Polly Toynbee and Sian Davies                                            

ThinkIn: Does anti-racism need a rethink? with Tomiwa Owolade and Remi Adekoya

How can stories shape a better future? with Mara the Storyteller                                            

Susanna Hoffs in conversation with Sylvia Patterson                                            

Cariad Lloyd in conversation with Katherine May

Rachel Reeves in conversation with James Harding

The Pod

The Pod

KITE Lessons are super-relaxed and interactive sessions led by some of the best and brightest voices in the world. For kids and grown ups who want to get creative and learn something new in a fun and informal setting.

The talks that took place on the Pod stage were as follows; 

How to Say What You Really Feel with Susie Dent  

Why Most of What You’re Doing to Go Green is Pointless with Assaad Razzouk        

How to Write a Bestseller with Stella Rimington     

The Surprisingly Silly History of Stuff with Greg Jenner                                       

How to Write a Speech with Phil Collins

Poetry from Brian Bilston in partnership with Morandé wine

How to Live Fearlessly with Fats Timbo                   

CHATGPT WTF? with Luke Gbedemah                     

How to Make a Comic with Emily Haworth-Booth

Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children

How to Own the Room with Viv Groskop

Have Better Conversations with Nihal Arthanayake

How to Write with Giles Whittell                                          

The Tortoise Newsroom

The Tortoise Newsroom

The slow newsroom that makes sense of a fast moving world sets up shop at Kite for the weekend. Come by for interactive ThinkIns, live podcast recordings and lively conversations about the news stories that matter.

The talks that took place in the Tortoise Newsroom were all of these incredible talents below;

ThinkIn: Appetite for destruction: why don’t we all just eat better? with Henry Dimbleby and Nicki Whiteman

Zelda Perkins in conversation with Basia Cummings

ThinkIn: A Climate Reckoning with Peter Frankopan & Gaia Vince

James Harding in conversation with Martin Wolf on the capitalism crisis 

The Review, in partnership with Fora: Saturday papers with Marina Hyde, Layla Moran, Michael Gove and James Harding

Unbelievable Truths: why are we so obsessed with WTF podcasts? with Alexi Mostrous

ThinkIn: Can the NHS be mended? 

Podcast:The News Meeting Live with Tortoise editors                                     

The Review in partnership with Fora: Sunday papers with Sonia Sodha, Mandu Reid, Ian Goldin and James Harding                        

Unsilencing women: reporting the unreportable with Louise Tickle and Jane Monkton-Smith

Partnerships and Sponsors

Kite Music Festival has partnered with a number of organizations over the years to help make the event a success. One of the festival’s main partners is the local council, which provides funding and support for the event.

The festival has also attracted a number of sponsors over the years, including major brands such as Red Bull and Coca-Cola. These sponsors help to fund the event and provide additional support, such as providing free drinks and merchandise for attendees.


Kite Festival

You can find out more about the types of accommodation you can expect if you choose to book tickets for 2024. 

There is plenty of choice, ranging from your standard camping to glamping and campervans and live-in vehicles are welcome. 

Tickets 2024

You can buy your tickets for 2024, using this link. What are you waiting for!?

Community Involvement

One of the key aspects of Kite Music Festival is its focus on community involvement. The festival is run by a team of volunteers, many of whom are local residents, and the organizers work closely with local businesses and organizations to ensure that the event benefits the local community. The festival also provides a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent, with many of the performers coming from the surrounding area. This helps to support the local music scene and provides an opportunity for up-and-coming musicians to gain exposure.


Kite Music Festival is a celebration of music and community that has grown from a small gathering of friends into a major event that attracts people from all over the world. The festival’s rich history, partnerships, and focus on community involvement have helped to make it a success, and it continues to be a beloved event for music lovers and locals alike.


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