As the UK gears up for festival season, brand new figures from Eventbrite reveal that the number of niche / boutique festivals on the ticketing and event technology platform has increased by nearly 400% over the past four years, as Brits crave the cool and quirky underground subcultures.

The numbers suggest that more and more event-goers are choosing niche themed events which celebrate their passions and hone in on their personal interests. Festivals dedicated to gin, food, Prosecco and beer have soared in popularity with the number of food festivals on Eventbrite rising by more than 600% since 2014. Beer fans will be pleased to hear that the number of beer festivals listed on Eventbrite has more than quadrupled across the UK from 2014 to 2018, and last year alone, Eventbrite listed more than 200 gin festivals in Great Britain.

According to Eventbrite, more than 18,000 ‘festival’ events have been listed on the site in the last three years. And there’s now a festival for just about every weird and wonderful interest, from happiness and wellness celebrations, tocheese festivals, knitting festivals and even toe wrestling!

Another quirky event, the UK’s first Catfest returns for a second year running this June. Surprisingly its tickets sold-out in less than two days of going on sale.

Britt Collins, founder of London cat festival Catfest, commented on the success of the feline boutique festival: “The beauty of boutique festivals is that they really bring like-minded groups of people together and offer an escape from some of the big, corporate rivals that don’t always have the same sense of community.

“They are also brilliant examples of how you can turn anything into an amazing event. Last summer I created Catfest, a festival that combines cats and pop culture, while helping animals in need. I had no idea that it would become as successful as it now is. The minute I uploaded the festival to Eventbrite, it drew lots of press and sold out very quickly. We’ve had people so passionate about cats that they’ve bought tickets and travelled from all over Europe, America, Japan, the Middle East and even Australia to be at our festival. In fact, tickets have sold out so quickly we’re considering adding a second day to the festival next summer.”

Joel Crouch, VP Europe Eventbrite, said: “Over the past few years, we have seen a strong increase in the number of festivals listed on our ticketing platform. And it’s not just live music driving the scene – it’s striking how many event creators are using the ‘festival’ forum to celebrate their hobbies and passion projects. With many starting as small gatherings, we are now seeing events grow year after year and  turn into actual festivals themselves. The rise in local gin and beer festivals is one of the notable trends here.

“Attending a festival used to be a serious expense and required ample planning time. Nowadays, the increasing variety of festival themes and categories means consumers can take a more experimental approach.

“Whether it’s a drag queen festival in London or a Harry Potter festival in Liverpool – boutique festivals allow people to either make money – and even careers – out of their hobbies, or find new things to try where they can meet new people and unearth their hidden passions.”

Eventbrite has compiled a list of the top 10 weird and wonderful boutique festivals and events across London for you to try this summer and beyond.

Junipalooza8th – 9th June, Tobacco Dock, London

Coinciding with World Gin Day on 8th and 9th June.  Junipalooza, is an amalgamation of ‘juni’ gin’s signature botanical, juniper and ‘palooza’ a celebratory festival. This one-of-a kind event features over 60 gin makers and distillers, offering samples of over 200 gins and access to a whole host of gin experts.

Day tickets available from £37.52.

Sweatlife The Festival: 22nd – 23rd June, Tobacco Dock, London

Lululemon brings together 6,000 people high on endorphins for one sweaty, fun, thought-provoking weekend. Spread across two jam-packed days, expect workouts from your favourite studios, workshops and talks. There’s an opportunity to refuel and unwind with great food and drink stalls, chill-out areas and drop-in massages.

Tickets from £35.

Catfest29th June, Beckenham, London.

London’s first ever cat festival returns this year to Beckenham Place. The perfect place for cat lovers, the day and night festival brings together everything from cat accessories on sale from over 50 exhibitors, feature films, live music, vegan street food and cat-themed cocktails. Talks from international bestselling authors and feline experts will also be in attendance. A % of the proceeds from the event will also be donated to animal charities.

Tickets priced from £8.68.

Gelato Festival London: 29th – 30th, Kings Cross, London

A gelato lover’s dream, Gelato Festival is back for its fifth summer. Sixteen of the best artisan gelato makers will descend on the capital, each bringing a unique flavour to the table. Discover the secrets of the world of gelato, with tastings, themed activities and educational workshops.

Tickets available from £11.37.

Floating Film Festival16th – 28th July, St. Katherine Dock, London

It’s time to the dial up on the cinema experience. Whether you’re lounging on the deck-chairs or sinking into a bean bag, watch top movies from blockbuster hits to classics on a pontoon from Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born to Green Book and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

Tickets for each film are available from £13.38.

Mindful Drinking Festival: 20th July

The mindful drinking scene has grown substantially and the demand for low and no alcohol drinks is ever increasing. Club Soda’s Mindful Drinking Festival bring together the best adult-orientated drinks brands, from zero to 0.5% ABV beers and wines to ciders and cocktails. Pair drinks with awesome street food, demonstrations and music.

Entry is free. Some tasting events and masterclasses may be ticketed.

Wanderlust 108:  27th July, Battersea, London

The World’s Only Mindful Triathlon— returns to London on Saturday 27 July 2019 when Battersea Park in South West London will play host to over 4,000 yogis moving and breathing together. Wanderlust 108 are inviting wellness fans to join a global movement for a day of practice, fitness and spontaneous dance parties – think of it as a dj-powered field day for your mind and body.

Tickets from £15.75.

DragWorld 2019: 17-18 August, West Kensington, London

Europe’s largest celebration of drag returns to Olympia London for a two-day festival extravaganza. Guests can expect lip sync battles, meet and greets, make-up demos, Q&As and much more, with the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race alongside the best of UK and US drag royalty.

Day tickets available at £39.20, weekend tickets are £72.80.

Cine Circle Filmmaking Festival17th September, Shoreditch, London

The Cine Circle Filmmaking Festival is the ultimate destination for independent filmmakers. The event focuses on providing filmmakers with resources and opportunities to screen their films, as well as develop and bring their films to life. Attendees can enjoy short film screenings, film pitching competitions with funding prizes, workshops, seminars and tons of networking.

Entry from £3.79.

Black Girl Fest: 12th October, Islington, London

The UK’s first festival celebrating Black women and girls is back! This years’ theme ‘Taking Up Space’ is about breaking down barriers and creating new seats at the table across various industries and champion inclusivity. Learn more from carefully curated talks, workshops and masterclasses and be treated to live performances, screenings and more.

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