After the 2 year hiatus, festivals are well and truly back and they’re bigger and better than ever before. If you were lucky enough to bag a ticket to Glastonbury or one of the other fabulous festivals this year (we’re not jealous at all) you might be inspired to recreate the festival vibe in your garden this summer. If you missed out, consider planning your own fun festivities without the mud, queues and questionable toilets.
How to throw a festival party in your garden
Whether you’ve got a large field or a bijoux back garden, it’s possible to host a fabulous DIY festival party at home.
The beauty of planning a festival party is that there are no rules and almost anything goes! You can recreate your own summer festival with a central stage, themed tents and even circus acts. You could hire a local band to come and perform or invite musical friends to jam together. Not enough seats? No problem! Use bales of hay or straw for rustic, aesthetically pleasing seating.
And of course, the best thing about hosting a festival party in your garden is that you’ll have fresh water on tap, clean toilets (!) and the scrummiest food – no long queues for the burger van.
Festival-themed garden party ideas
Glitter and glow sticks at the ready? We’re here to arm you with creative ideas for throwing a festival-style garden party that Macca himself would be proud to attend.
1. Theme it
All great parties start with a plan and if you have a festival party in mind, it’s great to pick a theme for it. When you imagine a festival, live music and acres of mud probably spring to mind. It doesn’t have to be all about the music though, food festivals, religious festivals, art festivals and seasonal festivals are all fantastic ideas for a party. Factor in delicious food, fun drinks and plenty of party games and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect shindig.
Try celebrating with a summer-solstice festival, create a mini-Coachella, host a health and wellness party and go all out with festival-themed decorations to create a chilled-out feel in your garden.
2. Rustle up a festival feast
No party is complete without food and a festival-themed party is no exception! Take inspiration from food festivals like the Sausage and Cider, Foodies and Vegfest events when planning your food. Simple, easy-to-eat food like pizza, tacos, burgers and salads are always popular choices.
Don’t fancy cooking? You could invite a pizza van or outside caterer, or ask friends to bring a plate of food each.
If you don’t have lots of outdoor tables and chairs, you can create a boho-chic eating area from pallets. Stack a few on top of each other, cover with a cloth and place cushions on the floor for festival-style, laid-back dining.
For fun, festival-inspired drinks areas, you could create your own bar area, make a prosecco-pimping station with a variety of tempting mixers, and place cold drinks into ice-filled wheelbarrows or plastic camping wagons.
3. Get creative with DIY festival decorations
Decorating your garden for a festival-themed party needn’t be expensive, in fact, the boho theme lends itself perfectly to homemade accessories.
- Bunting is always a winner and it’s super simple to make too. You just need a few lengths of cotton twill tape and some fabric for the flags. You can make the flags from any material that you have hanging around, from old hessian sacking to cotton sheets and even newspaper if the weather holds out. You can attach the flags to the cotton twill tape with a glue gun or sewing machine.
- Ribbon bunting is a great alternative to flags, here’s a step-by-step tutorial that explains how to do it. Hang the bunting from fences, trees, buildings and hooks and your festival look is halfway there.
- Create your own iconic festival pendant banners with bamboo canes and brightly coloured flags.
- Colourful pom-pom garlands, paper honeycomb balls and star garlands are fun additions to your festival. Hang them above tables, under parasols or from trees to add pops of colour to your garden. You can match them to your colour scheme or go for vibrant rainbow colours.
- If you’re feeling really creative, a DIY flower wall is a beautiful addition to your outdoor space. They can be as small or large as you like and filled with real or artificial flowers or a combination of both! Here’s a great how-to guide for making your own flower wall. You can make gorgeous brightly coloured blooms from tissue paper too.
- Fresh flowers are one of the best ways to decorate your garden for a festival. Place seasonal blooms into jam jars or bottles for picture-perfect table decorations, group flowerpots filled with bright annuals and grow showy flowering plants such as roses, hydrangeas and sunflowers.
3. Glow up your garden
Great lighting is key to creating the right ambience for a party and when it comes to lighting up your garden, you can be really imaginative.
String lengths of festoon lights along fences, over arbours and across gazebos and other garden structures.
Tealights in jam jars or empty tin cans make pretty, inexpensive garden lights, you can line them up along pathways or group them together for maximum impact. Small fairy lights can be added to trees and plants and twisted around garden parasols and if you have a pergola or gazebo, try grouping different lantern lights together for an eclectic look.
Pretty solar lights can be dotted around the garden, added to flower pots and hung from fences. You can also add tiny fairy lights to empty wine bottles and glass lanterns for more gorgeous sparkliness.
4. Have fun with party props
Everyone loves a party prop! Grab the oversized glasses, the comedy hats and large empty photo frames and create some fun backdrops to delight your guests. Photo booth props are a great way to encourage people to take photos and let their hair down.
If you don’t want to buy photo props, they are really easy to make. Draw out some glasses, moustaches and hats, mount them on cardboard and attach sticks. Papertrail design offers free printable photo booth props too.
5. Create different zones
If you have the space, creating different zones for your party is a great way to add a festival feel to your garden. Think about making separate zones for eating and relaxing and designating an area for activities (see next idea).
You can use outdoor rugs to help delineate areas as well as beanbags, chairs and tables. Create a stylish dining space by attaching long lengths of ribbon to a large frame. You can construct a frame from wood offcuts or even large twigs.
It’s worth drawing out a plan if you have a large space to make sure that the zones work well together. Locate food and drink near areas where people can sit and relax and if there’s a stage, you can make this the central point or place it at the end of the garden, where everyone will be able to get a good view.
6. Organise some festival-themed activities
Aside from music and food, festivals can be great places to try your hand at something new. Why not encourage your guests to have a go at some circus skills? Juggling, stilt walking and hula hooping are all fun activities to try at home.
Take inspiration from Glastonbury’s healing field and try yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and dance!
If you’re hosting a creative party, your guests can try their hands at painting, pottery making or even sculpture.
7. Provide shelter
We all know how changeable the Great British weather can be so it’s a good idea to factor in some shelter for your guests.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a gazebo or pergola there are several other options:
- Make your own teepee – it’s perfect for sheltering under and completely nails the festival vibe – it’ll be a popular spot with your guests come rain or shine.
- Pop up a main tent or two smaller ones! Perfect for a festival-themed party.
- Consider hiring garden igloos, not only do they look amazing, but they’re a really effective shelter from wind and rain. You can also hire pop-up gazebos.
- If you have a roomy garden shed or outbuilding, give it a clear-out and pop in a few chairs or hay bales for your revellers.
- Companies like Backyard Festival can provide all you need for the festival of your dreams, huge, light-up letters, marquees and teepee tents included.
Alternatively, you could just be authentic and ask everyone to bring wellies and umbrellas!
8. Heat it up
Just as it’s important to factor shelter into your garden party plans, it’s worth making provisions for keeping your guests warm when the sun goes down. Unless we get another scorching heatwave, everyone will be grateful for a bit of extra warmth.
More on this: Garden Furniture And Fire Pit Ideas
Provide plenty of blankets and throws and you’ll be ready to party until dawn.
9. Festival-themed kid’s party ideas
If you’re thinking of hosting a children’s festival-themed birthday party, we’ve got some fun ideas to get you started.
Kids will love sitting on low tables so grab some pallets to make rustic eating areas. The corners of pallets can be sharp and splintery so make sure you give them a sand before use.
Festival food is well-suited to kids. Bite-sized pizza slices, mini hotdogs, sliders and kebabs will all go down well. Top it off with fresh fruit salads, jelly and ice creams. Cocktail fish bowls and large jars with taps are fun ways to serve drinks.
Fun festival-themed activities for kids include:
- Face painting and glitter tattoos – keep it green and choose biodegradable glitter.
- Art and craft
- Clay sculpting
- Hair braiding
- Circus skills
- Photo booth with fun photo props
- Outdoor cinema party – fill small paddling pools with cushions (no water!) for the comfiest seats.
- Traditional Punch and Judy show
- Making flower headbands
- Old-fashioned fairground party games such as hook a duck, coconut shy and tin can alley
- Outdoor sleepover
All these activities are easy to organise, perfect for doing outdoors and you could set up a few different activity stations for children to move between.
10. Festival-themed wedding party ideas
If you’re considering a festival-themed wedding, there are so many ways that you can give your wedding party a gala feel. From onsite camping for guests to making your own decorations, here are our top tips for helping your special day go with a swing:
- DIY Decor – Get that eclectic, festival feel with homemade wedding decorations. From bunting and banners to name cards and ticket-style invitations, making your own decor is a great way to save money and add a personal touch to your special day.
- Make your own rustic signposts – Not forgetting the important directions! Make a feature, festival-inspired signpost to delight your guests.
- Provide camping for the guests – Many rural wedding locations provide camping areas for guests so it’s the perfect excuse to turn the big day into a festival-style weekender.
- DIY flowers – Fill jars and teapots with bunches of seasonal flowers. You can buy inexpensive bouquets from supermarkets, raid friends’ gardens or visit a flower farm.
- Involve everyone in the planning! Putting a wedding together is hard work but it’s much easier when you have help! Enlist the help of friends where you can, especially for little things like collecting jars, bottles and corks for those creative touches.
11. It’s all in the details
From festival-style invitations and wristbands for guests to well-planned seating and shelter, the secret of a successful party is all in the details. A little planning can go a long way, and it will be well worth the effort.
So dig out your wellies, source those haybales and get planning a festival party to remember!
How to decorate your garden for a party?
If you’re planning to host a party in your garden, it’s worth giving it a quick spruce-up before the big day. Give fences and woodwork a fresh coat of paint, mow the grass, give the hedges a trim and pop some pretty flowering plants in pots.
Hanging a variety of pretty outdoor lights is a quick, easy and super effective way to decorate your garden, and for a festival-themed party, don’t forget the bunting, garlands and balloons.
How can I make my garden look like a festival?
When it comes to decorating your garden, festival-style, pretty much anything goes! Provide shelter in the form of tents and teepees, create a rustic pallet bar, fashion sofas from hay bales and add masses of lighting in the way of candles, solar lanterns and festoon lights.
Flags always feature heavily at festivals so hang metres of bunting, construct some pendant banners and make your own festival flags.
How do you throw a small festival?
Planning is key! Think of a theme, decide how many guests you’ll invite and take it from there. You might choose to invite a local band or have friends who can provide the music, or go for a food or creative festival instead.
You’ll need to make sure you’ve got plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the entertainment and to eat, drink and dance.