Inside View

Inside View

If you’re stuck for plans this May Bank Holiday, Paul Dunton has the answer…

What to do on the May Bank holiday weekend? It is a question that may pop up in the minds of many Tunbridge Wellians – however, if you are interested in live music and open to the idea of fresh, edgy, alternative new music then why not pop along to the wonderful Unfest Music Festival on May Bank Holiday weekend (May 27 to 30). Yes ladies and gents….it’s free to attend!

The popular festival is organised by Jason Dormon and his team at The Forum and has been going since 2010. Unfest is growing at a healthy pace year upon year. It adopts a ‘fringe festival’ ethos whereby lots of venues across the town are involved essentially providing a stage and platform for the Unfest artists to strut their stuff. The Forum acts as the main stage for the festival alongside associate venues that for the 2016 event include The Sussex Arms, The Royal Oak, Cassidy’s, The Bedford, The George (previously TN4), Tunbridge Wells Museum, The Cake Shed, Java Bean, JB’s Music shop and there is likely more to be confirmed. By bringing together musical talent with business, and with music fans, the festival aims to foster a stronger local music community by introducing musicians to potential venues and potential fans.

Unfest is named for, and curated by Unlabel – the Forum-based independent record label founded in 1996 to highlight the town’s flourishing underground music scene, which has gone on to work with bands throughout the UK and beyond. The festival is a simple celebration of Unlabel’s philosophy of artistic sophistication with friendly approachability, and priority of artistic integrity and a fair deal for musicians over commercial greed, which as well as just releasing music has gone on to inspire local creativity in the area for 20 years.

The atmosphere at the festival is brilliant – every gig is intimate, close up and personal; you can really sense a kindred spirit running through the performers and festival goers. Unfest brings the music community together, it brings businesses together and brings people from out of the area. This is a true fringe festival, with really talented acts, plenty of variety, and a mix of daytime or evening performances. No-one is judging the performances, this isn’t a battle of the bands, Unfest is purely a celebration of independent, alternative music. So come along and join the party – why wouldn’t you?

You can find out more about Unfest including performance listings and times at and