Ashstock is a family-friendly music and beer festival organised by the Village Council.
The first Ashstock took place in 2014. Prior to that, the Village Council had worked with a group of residents to organise Summer Fairs in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The Council had also organised a Party in the Park and beacon lighting ceremony to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Ashstock combines some of the popular Summer Fair attractions, including stalls and Tug of War, with performances by local youth musicians during the day. In the evening, a headline band performs. The beer tent, which has been run each year by The Maypole Inn, sells a carefully selected selection of real ales from mainly Sussex-based breweries. Local food vendors have included Allan Martin Meats BBQ food, Fine & Scandi Scandinavian food, a tea tent, run by Maria’s Cafe in 2018, vegetarian and vegan food from Earth & Soul Kitchen in 2017 and Wych’s Kitchen in 2018.
The event is intended to be a fun day out for the whole family.
The festival has been staged every year since 2014 and has grown in popularity. The first event saw about 500 visitors, and by 2017 this figure had increased to well over 1,000. Figures dropped slightly in 2018, particularly in the afternoon, when the event clashed with the England v Sweden World Cup quarter final match.
The festival has, to date, been free to enter. While much of the work is carried out by Councillors and other volunteers, there are costs involved in organising it, including hiring equipment, setting up the site, providing first aid and security cover. Grants have been received, from Gatwick Airport Community Trust in 2016, Mid Sussex District Council in 2017 and West Sussex County Council in 2018.
In addition the festival has received sponsorship from Mansell McTaggart for the past few years and Langham Homes in 2018. Funding also comes from beer barrel sponsors, programme advertisers and purchasers.
Various businesses have provided raffle and auction prizes, including Crowne Plaza Hotels, Holiday Inn Gatwick, Lingfield Park Racecourse, the Cat Inn West Hoathly.
On the 10th February 2018, Councillors organisers held a quiz night at Ashurst Wood Village Centre. This raised £900 which was put towards the budget for Ashstock 2018.
Headline bands have included The Blunter Brothers (2016), Funkee Junkee (2017), Bedrock (2018).