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Gloucestershire Business News

Get ready for a magical weekend in Gloucestershire

Fantasy Forest, a unique festival celebrating the fantasy genre, is returning to the magnificent grounds of Sudeley Castle this summer.

The weekend of lively entertainment, fantasy-themed experiences and exciting new features is taking place at the historic venue from 14 - 16 July.

Each year, Fantasy Forest has continued to attract more and more visitors of all ages from across Gloucestershire and beyond to enjoy a fun-filled, magical summer's day out for all the family.

The festival offers a packed programme of entertainment throughout the weekend, so whether you're a fan of sci-fi or fantasy films, TV, books and gaming, or just looking for a fun day out, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

Festival-goers will enter through the tree-lined Fairy Walkway, leading them into the enchanting castle grounds to discover the festival.

Keep an eye out for costumed characters roaming the grounds as you explore, including Stormtroopers, Game of Thrones and Marvel characters, daleks, orcs, pirates and fairies.

Champion your favourites at the popular Costume Show held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as participants parade their impressive costumes on the catwalk against the backdrop of the medieval castle.

This year's festival will feature four stages of live music and entertainment, with bands playing upbeat, feel-good music that will have you on your feet dancing.

Following an outstanding debut performance at the 2022 festival, The Film Orchestra will return due to popular demand on Sunday afternoon (16 July) with its spectacular 70-piece orchestra, performing favourite scores from fantasy and sci-fi films and games, including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Toy Story, Ghostbusters, James Bond and many more. This year they'll also be bringing a 40-person choir.

Martin Pelgrim, festival organiser, said: "We're delighted to welcome The Film Orchestra back to this year's Fantasy Forest. We know for a lot of people the orchestra's performance in 2022 was a festival highlight, so we're excited to see what they will perform this year."

A new addition to this year's festival will be an unmissable performance from The West End Kids on Sunday 16 July. With an outstanding reputation of raising hundreds of West End and Broadway Stars since 2001, performances by The West End Kids are revered around the world. Don't miss their impressive performance of hits from cult-classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Festival-goers can also try out fun craft and skills workshops, including a lightsaber session, which fans of Star Wars will enjoy! Shop for something unique at the UK's largest Fantasy Market, featuring over 100 stalls selling everything from artisan and handmade crafts, to art, jewellery, bags, gifts, clothing and accessories.

Sit back and enjoy the festival atmosphere and the stunning castle grounds with your own picnic, or tuck into some of the tasty food stalls. The Wicker Fire Ceremony, held on Saturday evening, is a spectacular occasion in which a giant wicker structure (this year in the shape of a bear) is set alight and is a poignant highlight of the weekend.

Once again, due to popular demand, weekend camping tickets for this year's festival sold out within 24 hours of going on sale. However, single day tickets, 2-day weekend and 3-day weekend tickets (non-camping) are available. The whole family is welcome, with children under 7 free, and dogs are welcome in most areas providing they remain on a lead and owners clean up after them.

This year, a new shuttle bus has been organised to transport visitors to and from the festival on Saturday 15 July. The bus will depart from Cheltenham Spa train station taking festival goers to Sudeley Castle. Departing approximately every 45 minutes from 9am until 1pm and returning from 5pm until 11pm, costing £4.50 one way or £9 return. There is ample onsite parking for those planning to drive to the festival, costing £5 for the day or £7.50 for the weekend.

To find out more, including ticket information and booking, FAQs, programme details, opening hours and access information, see the Fantasy Forest website.

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