Frequently asked questions...
Everything you need to know and some things you might just be interested in…
Not sure about camping?
There are certainly cons as well as pros to sleeping out for the weekend (privacy, walls, your own bed…) but we reckon that, overall, camping is definitely the best way to make the most out of Primadonna. You get a fully immersive festival experience: so you’re up with the larks for a gong bath to ease you into a full day of learning, sharing, and laughing, and you’re the last to bed with the sounds of the disco shed still ringing in your ears (take ear plugs if you’re planning on not being quite the last). There are (free) phone charging points so you don’t need to worry about going totally into the wild. There’s great food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and anything in between, so you don’t even need to pack that gas stove and saucepan. And of course, we’ve got the world’s best festival toilets and showers (see social media for affirmation) so you’ll stay fresh and fragrant all weekend.
On the programme are a series of one-on-one Q&As with some of the most exciting writing talents around—whether established or new—and with key figures from publishing, media and entertainment; plus informative, entertaining and challenging panels covering everything from ‘Modern Romance’ to ‘WTF is going on in Westminster?’, as well as the nuts and bolts of getting published or bringing a book to screen. We also hold roundtable sessions – not just a series of sound bites but an opportunity for deep dives into big themes and issues. These will be scheduled with plenty of time for audience participation.
Surgeries will be running throughout the festival with the Primadonnas who will be available to give advice based on their expertise and experience.
We’ll be bringing you the best of local musical talent and big names from further afield plus some music industry-insider “tips for the top”. We also have top DJs playing every night in our disco shed – the best night out in a barn you’ll ever have – and some big names from the world of comedy and cabaret. And there’s more: dance-alongs, poetry performances and more. There’s never a dull moment: there’s never even a feeling-slightly-ready-for-bed moment.
We know you don’t want to just listen, but some of you want to get involved! We’ll be running daily writing challenges and open mic opportunities for everyone, as well as holding workshops where you can learn, share and feed your mind, body and soul. We also have a dedicated wellness area where you can reconnect with yourself by grabbing a massage, some music therapy or other essential indulgences.
Is there stuff on in the evenings?
Yes, we programme live music, performance and DJs until the wee small hours, so you can dance the night away or sit back and let your sides split (or just hang out in a medieval barn with a drink). You won’t be bored. We promise.
Food and drink
We are what we eat, and all of the food available at Primadonnna has been selected to give you best value for money and the most delicious options including vegan and gluten free. Our festival is known for its delicious food – the venue is the Food Museum, after all, recently named by the Observer as one of “30 things we love in the world of food right now” – made even better by our the perfect setting and our unique mix of mind-expanding discussions and laid-back fun. Plus, our beers and ciders have the lowest food mileage of any festival – they will have travelled all of 5 miles to get here. There are also plenty of non-alcoholic options, including coffee and refreshing iced drinks for the summer heat.
Our onsite food vendors are all locally-based, and source their ingredients locally and organically where possible. From toasties (ours are legendary!) to noodles to salad to pizzas, you’ll be well fed and full of energy for everything the festival has to offer.
Can I bring my children?
Absolutely! Primadonna takes place at the Food Museum, which incorporates 75 acres of glorious Suffolk countryside and 17 buildings – from windmills to medieval barns to tiny chapels – a farm area with rare breeds, growing crops, a river walk and an orchard.
And that’s not all: we’ve programmed tons of things for young people to try, to see and to do: story sessions for budding readers, bat and badger walks, steam engine rides, bread oven baking, foraging walks, wood carving, a graffiti workshop… you can let your kids run wild, and their imaginations run truly wild. There is always something happening that kids will enjoy… and plenty of stuff that works for old and young alike.
We don’t allow anyone under 16 to be at the festival over the weekend without an adult of 18 or over. Children under 10 years old need to be accompanied on site at all times for their safety.
Can I bring my pet?
Well behaved dogs who don’t mind loud music/noise/small children, who can look after themselves, clear up their own mess and who are happy to be kept on leads at all times are permitted provided they have well-behaved owners.
Can I come alone?
Yes, and you don’t need to worry if you do. Through our ‘I’m here alone’ scheme, lone attendees can identify themselves by wearing a yellow wristband in order to more easily make new friends. Our camping field is very sociable and it will be easy to get stuck in. Even if you’ve never camped before, there will be plenty of people around to help you get set up. Taking our shuttle bus from Stowmarket train station to the festival venue is also a great way to meet other festivalgoers and ease any anxiety about arriving alone.
More than anything, what we will be creating at Primadonna is a community. By the end of the weekend you will have met and made friends with loads of like-minded people. If you’re camping you will have borrowed or lent tent pegs. You will have made each other a cup of tea, or shared your secret stash of donuts. You will certainly have swapped email address, phone numbers and arranged to meet up again. And if you’ve come alone, perhaps you’ve used our yellow wristbands to show others that you’re not in company and have struck up new friendships that will last until next year… and beyond.
Is the festival accessible?
We are committed to providing a fully accessible festival for disabled, neurodivergent and Deaf participants – as audience members, speakers and staff. We work with disabled, neuro-divergent and Deaf performers and interpreters to help shape our programme and site plan each year, so that everything we schedule is accessible and inclusive.
There is BSL interpreting throughout the festival – over the festival weekend, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put directly in touch with our BSL team. There is a paved path around the site, but there are some areas with no solid pathways or hard ground which may be difficult to navigate. Smoke machines, strobe lights, lasers, fireworks and other effects may be in use at this event. Anyone affected by these should bear this in mind.
Security and stewards (identifiable by their tabards/shirts) are on hand across the festival site. They have been briefed to offer information, help and support, so approach them at any time if you require assistance.
We understand that the festival can be an overwhelming space, and so we offer multiple quiet spaces to decompress in a sensory-friendly environment.
Anything else I need to bear in mind?
Our mission is to represent the world as it should be – that means we do have to have rules to ensure everyone feels safe. In buying a ticket to the festival, you are agreeing to be bound by them.
No illegal substances, drugs or nitrous oxide or “legal highs” are allowed on site. Anyone disorderly or behaving anti-socially will be ejected.
We will not tolerate any discrimination towards any individual or groups of individuals, irrespective of the background of the individual, be that gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity. If you see or experience anyone undermining this – no matter the severity – please report it immediately to our onsite staff.