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Meet The Wagtastic Humans Behind Dogstival

Dogstival was established by Domine and Richard Nowell. An annual festival that certainly has our tails wagging year-after-year. Together with your pooch you can take part in a whole range of activities. Including flyball, agility games, scent training, hoopers ring and test your pooches skills in the brand new Gundog Village.

With swimming pools for dogs to dive in, fun dog shows, tips from TV vet Dr Scott Miller and even a Doggy Chapel for shotgun weddings! This festival is the perfect weekend for anyone who loves dogs.

With behaviour experts to learn from, vet tips from ITV’s Dr Scott Miller and rosettes to win in our fun dog shows, Dogstival is the perfect weekend for anyone who loves dogs!

We caught up with Richard to give us a behind the scenes look into Dogstival!

Hiya Richard! We’re SO excited to dive into all things Dogstival with you.

For those who have no idea what we’re woofing about, what is Dogstival?

Dogstival celebrates everything we love about our four-legged best friends, whatever their size or breed. Since launching in 2019, we’ve welcome around 30,000 dog lovers to the New Forest where we cram the weekend full of as much canine entertainment as possible.

Dogstival loves to champion the smaller, artisan or independent dog businesses. We also support a handful of charities each year with free stands, marketing and ways of raising awareness and vital funds for the great work they do along.

Dogstival is a bit different to your standard dog event; great live music and delicious local street food creates a brilliant day out…..even if you don’t own a dog!

Year after year, Dogstival brings us so much joy! So tell us, what inspired you to start Dogstival?

We run the Lymington Seafood Festival and work closely with New Forest tourism to help promote the destination. It has to be one of the most dog friendly places in the UK. It’s set in a stunning National Park and has 40 odd miles of coastline.

About five years ago I was on a long winter walk and chatting to dozens of dog owner friends. We thought it would be great fun creating a festival right here in the New Forest.

We couldn’t agree more, the New Forest is an incredible destination for for dog owners to visit. What did you do before Dogstival?

Well, we’re a husband and wife team that after twenty years working in corporate marketing and events careers decided to up sticks from London. We moved to Lymington to start a new and exciting life working for ourselves.

You make such a great team! What are some things people won’t know about you?

As we set off from London in search of a new challenge, we had a pit-stop in Farnham, Surrey and bought a pub! Not one of our smartest moves, although Domine pretty much morphed into a professional chef overnight!

Also, in the late 90’s I had a spell playing cricket for Surrey CCC and bowled out Gooch and Hussain (two former England captains) in the same match against Essex…clearly my career went downhill after that!

Wow! Then along came Dogstival? How did you choose the name?

 It’s a festival for dogs….mix the two words together and bingo!

Bingo was his name-o! So tell us, what’s the best thing about running Dogstival? 

It sounds like a cliché but no two days are the same. As every small business owner knows, you have to wear multiple hats. One day dealing with councils and licensing, the next could be creating marketing campaigns or working out the line up for our music stage.

That being said, nothing beats seeing thousands of dogs having the time of their lives at Dogstival!

AMEN! What is it that sets Dogstival apart from other festivals?

That’s probably a question for anyone who’s joined us at Dogstival! I’d like to think it’s a quirky personality and unique ideas that go into making each festival memorable.

Every year we want to bring new, different show content to Dogstival that you won’t find elsewhere. We partner with designers and theatre set production teams who bring our ideas to life.

So much passion for pooches is poured into every fibre of this event. I’m guessing your Sprocker Spaniel Bella has been a source of inspiration? Tell us more about Bella!

Bella is 9 years old. She’s heads up ‘security’, ‘deliveries’ and is ‘chief taster’ when it comes to dog treat stands!

Like all spaniels she has energy to burn. At about 6.30 every morning she’ll jump in the bed full of excitement. She’s very intelligent but also a little sensitive which generally equates to needing extra cuddles and attention!

Do you have any favourite dog friendly places or walks you like to enjoy together? 

We’re pretty blessed down here in the New Forest. Highcliffe Beach is a great year round dog-friendly spot and Bella loves her swimming. Friday evenings can often end up with a pint in our local, The Fisherman’s Rest, where Bella runs around getting cuddles off the locals and biscuits from the staff!

Gotta love a biccy from the bar! What would you say is your favourite destination to visit in the UK? 

Oh, tough one!

Devon’s beaches have to be on the list, on honeymoon several years ago we stumbled upon Clovelly’s crab & lobster festival! It was heaven. Asides that, the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons are perfect for long winter walks and long pub lunches by the fire!

Great choices! So, what’s next for Dogstival, any exciting plans?

Yes, plenty!

We’re working on new festival ideas, one that involves water, one that’ll see you become a pop star and another that will have everyone laughing their paws off! Oh and of course, it’s the Queen’s jubilee celebrations – so of course we’ll have having a bash fit for a Corgi.

On a more serious note, we’re looking at how Dogstival can become as carbon neutral as possible. Our generators will run off bio-diesel and we’re eliminating all materials on-site that can’t be recycled.

YES! We can’t wait. Where can people find out more?

Dogstival will be taking place on the 4th-5th June at Broadlands Park, Hampshire. You can find out more via the website www.dogstival.co.uk or social media @dogstival. We’ve also appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines if you want to read about past events.

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