Everything you need to know about the Wilkswood Reggae Festival in Dorset to plan your trip for next year.
Set in among the beautiful hills of the Purbeck countryside in Dorset, the Wilkswood Reggae Festival is in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve been to. Located in the valley, it was a beautiful drive to get there, and to get in. Looking around as we parked and there were rolling hills all around.
We listen to a lot of reggae in our house. It’s a good peacekeeper genre, with relaxed vibes. The big reggae classics bring back lots of fun travel memories for me – relaxing on a beach on some Caribbean island somewhere.
And so, when our friends said they were taking the campervan and their two year old to Wilkswood Reggae Festival, we decided to go along too. I’d never been to a reggae festival before but was excited to see what went on.
Wilkswood is a small festival, with a capacity of around 2000 people. The 2022 edition was the first one for three years, thanks to the pandemic of course. The line up was local and international big reggae names, although I have to admit I’d only heard of a few of them.
Sometimes that’s the best way with festivals. You can go along and discover new bands and artists, without all the preconceptions of who you need to see, or even should see. At the big festivals like Glastonbury such big stars play you kinda have to go and see them, rather than having time for the smaller stages. Not so here!
Wilkswood Reggae Festival by campervan
Seeing as this would be our son Reggie’s first festival, at six months, we decided we’d rent a campervan rather than camp. We used Camptoo to get one for the weekend – a VW California.
I’d never experienced a festival in a campervan before. It was great to have somewhere warm and safe to sleep from the rain. The campervan field cost an extra £30, but that included three nights of camping. We were well spaced with enough privacy, and apart from the people wandering around lost in the early hours, it was pretty chilled and quiet.
Between our group we had four vans, which we managed to park all together, even though we didn’t arrive at the same time. Much better for setting up a communal space!
Food at Wilkswood Reggae Festival
The food at Wilkswood Reggae Festival was really good. The traders had been excellently chosen.
There was a wood fired oven for deliciously freshly made pizzas.
A Caribbean food stands serving saltfish and plantain.
A good old burger and chips van with the amazing loaded fries below, and a Thai food stall too.
Back in the campsite and there was a horsebox for breakfast butties, and a coffee stand too.
The pizza was the highlight for me though. Freshly cooked to order – a joy at a festival!
Kids area at Wilkswood Reggae Festival
The kids area at Wilkswood was made up of a few tents with dressing up and colouring in. Unfortunately baby Reggie was too young for both, but it was nice to be in a quieter area of the festival.
There was also a treatment tent here, for massage and reiki.
Toilets at Wilkswood Reggae Festival
There were no problems with the toilets in the main area at Wilkswood but, there were none near us at the campsite. In the campervan field you had to walk about five minutes across it, to the two on the other side. Doesn’t sound far, but when you need a wee in the middle of the night, with a baby in the van so you can’t leave the door open, it seemed miles away.
Next time I’ll take a toilet tent!
In the festival there seemed plenty for the amount of people, and enough disabled ones too. Though I’m not sure how wheelchair users would’ve coped with the uneven ground at the festival.
Wilkswood Reggae Festival Review
Wilkswood is billed as family friendly but with the hills, dust and uneven terrain it was quite difficult with a heavy six-month old. I saw lots of perplexed parents struggling with pushchairs and was glad I took the baby sling for Reggie.
We took both the pushchair and sling down on the Saturday before we realised the pushchair was pointless and just had the sling on Sunday.
Wilkswood Reggae Festival is a friendly, open festival – the kind where you get chatting with someone and then keep seeing them around afterwards. It was super chill, especially with only 2000 in attendance.
Due to the noise levels on the main stage (we did take ear defenders for him) Reggie and I spent a lot of time watching the spoken word stage, which I knew would happen before I went. Taking a baby to a festival is a whole different ballgame!
We did go over to the main stage early on on the Sunday and enjoyed watching from a great position up on the hill.
Wilkswood Reggae Festival
The Wilkswood Reggae Festival is a great one for any reggae lovers, of course. It’s none stop reggae and reggae culture for a whole weekend. From the cool trader stalls, to the saltfish cuisine and the style, if you’re into your reggae you’ll love it here.
If you’re taking children, be aware that prams and pushchairs are hard, and that toilets at the campsite are few and far between. Look for them when you set up camp!
There were never really any queues at the festival, and it was all super friendly.
Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope you enjoy the festival!
I was gifted our tickets to the Wilkswood Reggae Festival in return for a review.
All thoughts my own, of course!