While many of this summer’s regular festivals and outdoor concerts have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, moving instead to virtual versions, there are still a few innovative creatives who have found a way to host pop-ups and performances that follow the government’s new guidelines. From opera in the garden to socially distanced street feasts and even a Covid-safe festival, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained this month – here we’ve rounded up the best al fresco cultural events to book now.
Gisburne Park pop-up
Billed as the world’s first socially distanced festival, Gisburne Park’s innovative eight-week pop-up has been specially designed to be in keeping with coronavirus health and safety guidelines. That means a capacity of just 480, drinks delivered directly to your luxury bell tent (each one spaced 2.6m apart and featuring electricity, an outdoor fire pit and access to on-site private showers) and a sophisticated one-way system to take you around the 10-acre site.
Held in the grounds of one of Lancashire’s finest private estates, the festival will host some of the UK’s biggest names in dance music, including Jonas Blue, Shapeshifters and Sam Divine, and there are also plenty of family-friendly events on offer, from dress-up movie nights to kid-focused theatre performances.
The festival is running until 30 August
This year, the South Bank’s popular summer Underbelly cultural festival will look a little different, hosting a series of pop-ups in their usual spot as well as in pretty Wimbledon Park and east London’s Victoria Park. Free to enter, the StreetEat events will feature socially distanced seating pods from which visitors can watch a range of live open-air performances by top musicians, DJs, cabaret performers and singers.
Alongside this there’ll also be street food and jugs of Pimms available from a range of al fresco bars. The emphasis here is on local food traders, so you can expect the likes of Hola Guacamole on the South Bank, Vegan Junkies in Wimbledon and Uncle G’s Gourmet Fried Chicken in Vicky Park.
StreetEat will be running until 23 August in Wimbledon Park, from 6 to 30 August in Victoria Park and until 10 October on the South Bank
Secret Garden Concerts
The clever people behind London Concertante, one of the finest chamber ensembles in the country, have programmed a series of intimate outdoor concerts throughout August. Held in a beautiful private secret garden in Streatham Hill, they’re the perfect way to take in classical music amidst Covid-safe surroundings.
Held every Sunday at twilight, you can expect spellbinding performances from the Dave Gordon Trio, the Camarilla Ensemble and leading soloists from London Concertante, including principal cellist Chris Grist and harpsichordist extraordinaire David Wright. Each concert kick-offs with a sparkling wine reception and is accompanied by a delicious five-course tasting menu, created by Masterchef winner Sven-Hanson Britt.
The concerts are running every Sunday evening until 30 August
Hampstead Garden Opera
North London’s leading opera company, which specialises in providing unique performing opportunities and training to young singers starting their careers, is taking over the grounds of elegant Lauderdale House in Highgate Hill to hold a series of open-air, socially distanced operas.
The production will see them taking on Gustav Holst’s Sāvitri, a tale of life, death, illusion and hope powerfully resonant with our times, and the one-act opera will be performed twice per evening on select dates throughout August. The company is one of the first to find a way to bring live opera back to the capital, and is dedicated to leading a return of London’s vibrant cultural scene.
Sāvitri will be running on 13, 15, 20 and 22 August