Information for Inquisitive Minds

Everything you need to know about attending the Vicarious Festival at Sparkford Hall in Somerset from 11th to 13th September, 2020...


Early Bird Weekend Tickets were £120 per person until the offer ended at midnight on 22nd December, 2019.

Advance Weekend Tickets are £150 per person and may be booked online from 23rd December, 2019, until shortly before the festival.

Advance Weekend Tickets include three nights’ camping, access to all the talks, panel discussions and book signings, live music on all three evenings, and a vote in both the Travel Writing and Travel Photography competitions.

Glamping options and the what3words Workshops must be booked separately.

If you’d like to save an extra 10% when you buy your Advance Weekend tickets online, first take a trip to one of our wonderful independent bookshop partners and ask a member of staff for a Vicarious Festival discount card.

During the booking process here on the festival website, you’ll be able to enter the code printed on the card to apply the 10% discount.

Please note that the 10% discount cannot be used retrospectively and is applicable to Early Bird and Advance Weekend tickets only.

Details of the travel writing and photography workshops being run during the festival are available here.

Places are limited to 20 in each two-hour workshop and cost £20 per person.

Workshop places may only be booked online in advance. You must be a Vicarious Festival ticket holder to attend a workshop.

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We use PayPal to process online booking payments. This means you can pay using a credit/debit card (without needing a PayPal account) or a PayPal account if you have one. We do not charge extra payment processing fees.

When you purchase Early Bird or Advance Weekend Tickets online you’ll receive two automated email confirmations: one from the Vicarious Festival; and one from PayPal. The same applies to accommodation and workshop bookings if made separately.

It’s possible either or both emails may vanish into your spam/junk folder, so please check for them there if they don’t immediately appear in your inbox.

Please retain both emails as your proof of purchase. However, there’s no need to print them out (so you can avoid unnecessary paper waste) or bring them with you to the festival.


When you arrive at the festival you’ll be issued with a wristband, which must be worn with pride at all times while on site at the venue.

Weekend and individual day tickets may be purchased on the gate, subject to places at the festival still being available once Advance Weekend Ticket booking closes.

On-Gate Full Weekend Ticket: £180 per person (includes three nights’ camping)

On-Gate Day Ticket: £70 per person (camping not included)

Payment on the gate may be made in cash or with a credit/debit card.

Glamping accommodation and what3words Workshops may only be booked online in advance.

The Vicarious Festival will not refund ticket or workshop bookings unless the festival is cancelled.

If you book one of the glamping options (bell tent or caravan) and later change your mind or are unable to attend, we will refund the full value of your accommodation up to 28 days before the festival opens. After that time, accommodation bookings will be non-refundable.

If you’re unable to attend and wish to re-sell your ticket, you’re more than welcome to do so. Please let us know the name(s) and contact details for the new ticket holder(s) so that we can update our records and avoid any problems when they arrive.


Weekend tickets include camping (in your own tent) on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The Orchard and East Field camping areas at the venue both offer flat, level ground to pitch on.

Fires and BBQs are not permitted.

We want everyone to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing weekend, so please be as quiet as possible in and around the camping areas between 11pm and 7am.

If you enjoy camping, but don’t like to rough it, you may be interested in our Bell Tent and Vintage Caravan glamping options in the Orchard. Share with friends or family (all of whom need to have a festival ticket), or have one all to yourself.

All the bell tents include bed(s), duvet and pillows, bed linen and towels, bedside table, and LED lighting.

The Vintage Caravans have a double bed, linen, towels, and a log burner (logs supplied).

Fires and BBQs are not permitted.

We want everyone to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing weekend, so please be as quiet as possible in and around the camping areas between 11pm and 7am.

You can look forward to there being an ample number of toilets and showers located conveniently close to the Orchard, plus additional toilets in the East Field and near the parking area. All the facilities will be cleaned on a regular basis throughout the weekend.

Campervans no more than 5 metres in length are very welcome at the festival.

Campervan parking will be in the South Field, which also offers a water point. Please note that power hook-ups are not available.

Fires and BBQs are not permitted.

We want everyone to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing weekend, so please be as quiet as possible in and around the camping areas between 11pm and 7am.

Due to space and access restrictions, caravans and motorhomes may not be brought into the festival venue. To avoid any misunderstandings, that means no individual vehicle or towing combination more than 5 metres in length.

Parking for four-wheeled vehicles will be in the South Field to the left and right of the entrance driveway. You will not be able to drive to the camping areas to unload, but rest assured they’re only a short walk away and we’ll have volunteer sherpas on hand to provide assistance if you need it.

If you’re cycling to the festival, you’re welcome to park your bike next to your tent.

Motorcycles may also be parked next to their riders’ tents in the East Field.


The Vicarious Festival is an immersive weekend of intellectually stimulating travel storytelling for adults and young people aged 14 and over.

Although we believe very strongly in the value of children learning about other cultures and the wonders of the world, the Vicarious Festival does not have the facilities to provide for younger children’s needs.

Because places at Vicarious are limited, we do not offer reduced ticket prices for festival goers under the age of 18. All minors must be accompanied by an adult ticket-holder.

With the exception of guide dogs for sight-impaired festival goers, dogs and other pets are not permitted at the festival venue.

The Vicarious Festival accepts no responsibility for loss or damage to festival goers’ vehicles or other property.

The Vicarious Festival reserves the right to refuse entry to the venue, and to request any festival goer to leave the site, if they have been deemed by the organisers to have been abusive, threatening, or persistently anti-social in any way towards any other festival goer or member of the festival or venue teams. No refunds will be given.

Food & Drink

A tempting selection of wine, beer, cider, spirits, soft drinks and hot beverages will be available throughout the festival from the bars located near the Barn and in the main house.

Please note that glass containers may not be brought on to the festival site.

There are water points near all the camping areas.

Breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and evening meals, including great options for vegetarians, vegans, and festival goers with an intolerance for gluten, will be available from the festival’s food vendors. As far as possible, all ingredients are sourced within five miles of Sparkford Hall.

You’re welcome to self-cater if you prefer, but please note that fires and BBQs are not permitted at the festival venue.


The full Vicarious Festival programme is available to view online here. It is subject to change at any time.

The programme will feature talks and panel discussions from midday on Friday, 11th September, through to 6.00 PM on Sunday, 13th September.

There are also be a total of eight, two-hour what3words Workshops between 1.00 PM on the Friday and 5.00 PM on the Sunday.

Book signings will be taking place in the Authors’ Lounge marquee throughout the festival.

Winstone’s of Sherborne will be running the festival bookshop in the main house, where you’ll be able to purchase work by all our travel authors.

After the talks there’ll be live music on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings until 11.00 PM in the Barn. Acts will be announced as soon as possible.

Your Vote Counts

We want The Norman Lewis Memorial Award for New Travel Writing and The Isabella Bird Memorial Award for Travel Photography to represent the collective view of the whole festival, rather than the opinions of a small judging panel. You’ll therefore have the opportunity to vote for your favourite shortlisted piece of new travel writing and favourite image from the photographic exhibition. The award winners will be announced on the Saturday evening.

Get Involved

If you’ve booked your ticket and would be happy to volunteer a couple of hours of your time every day during the festival to help things run smoothly, we’d be delighted to hear from you. By way of thanks, all our volunteers will receive three free breakfasts, lunches and evening meals.


Sparkford Hall is located in the Somerset village from which it takes its name, just a couple of minutes from the A303.

The nearest railway stations are Castle Cary (6 miles), Sherborne (9 miles), and Yeovil Pen Mill (9 miles).

Satnav postcode: BA22 7LD

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Between all the talks, panel discussions, book signings, and workshops, there’s plenty more to occupy mind and body. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the Sparkford Hall pool, unwind in the sauna, take a stroll around the walled kitchen garden, play a game of chess on the lawn, or put your feet up in the reading tent with a good book.

All the active spaces at the festival venue are relatively close together and accessible to wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. However, please note that there are large areas of grass and gravel to negotiate. Some of the toilet facilities are also wheelchair accessible.

The Vicarious Festival will be open from 10.00 AM on Friday, 11th September, 2020.

All festival goers and vehicles must depart by 11.00 AM on Monday, 14th September, 2020.

WiFi access will not be available (except to the travel authors and photographers on the programme). However, there is excellent 4G and general mobile signal across the whole Sparkford Hall estate.

Although we won’t be providing dedicated charging facilities for electronic devices, there are power sockets in a number of the public areas of the site that you’re welcome to use. Needless to say, you remain solely responsible for the security of your personal belongings.

Please help us leave the venue as immaculate as we’ll find it by taking your litter home or using the recycling and general waste bins located around the festival site.

Basic first aid will be available via the Cottage at the centre of the site 24 hours a day throughout the festival.

Smoking and vaping are not permitted inside, or within 10 metres of, any of the buildings, marquees, bell tents, caravans, or other covered spaces.

If you wish to smoke or vape, please do so well away from other people. To avoid litter and potential harm to the resident livestock, please discard fully extinguished butts (and roll-your-own filters) in one of the general waste bins.

Any Questions?

If you need to contact the Vicarious Festival team, please use the form below or call/WhatsApp 07849 914671