A RUN DOWN OF THE BEST FESTIVALS WORTH TREKKING TO THIS SUMMER
The sun is beating down (potentially), a colourful sea of tents surrounds you (almost definitely) and you have a warm can of lager in your hand (duh). Storm Dennis is a distant memory and all you can think about is how to see two acts at the same time that are miles away from each other. Sounds perfect, right? Of course it does! It’s the period we long for from October to May – festival season – and we’re here to give you a run down of the best festivals near and far that we reckon are definitely worth going to. Assessing the vibe, the price, the music and more, we hope this acts as a helpful guide in which festival to go to this summer if you haven’t got your tickets already… enjoy!
WHO? Michael Kiwanuka, Caribou, Mac Demarco, Agnes Obel, Thundercat, Goldfrapp, This Is The Kit, Kokoroko, Sudan Archives, Matt Maltese, Bambara, Liz Lawrence, The Orielles, Working Mens Club, Do Nothing, Parquet Courts, Nadine Shah
VIBE? The festival site lives in the shadows of the Black Mountains, in the depths of the Brecon Beacons, a truly idyllic spot that is hilly and beautiful (and yes, the hills help because it means there is nowhere bad to stand!). With art exhibitions, poetry, talks and of course the music, there is stuff for absolutely everyone. The food and drink isn’t overpriced, ensuring that there will be no winces at the front of the bar, and there is enough space to ensure that you aren’t packed like little sardines. It’s also a pretty balanced lineup, so if you took away the male acts (a la Reading and Leeds), you wouldn’t be shocked at the number of female acts. Sound good? Good.
PRICE? Your classic Green Man ticket for an adult comes in at £195, and £245 for a Settler’s Pass, which gives you a week long holiday. Take 25 quid off for students, and an extra 40 quid off that for your teens and you’re good to go.
WHO? Tyler, The Creator, Disclosure, Khalid, Robyn, Jorja Smith, Anderson .Paak, Hot Chip, FKA Twigs, Fatboy Slim, Kaytranada, Peggy Gou, Annie Mac, Mabel, Charli XCX, Badbadnotgood, Celeste, Little Simz, Arlo Parks, Folamouor, Joy Crookes, Mason Collective, Sampa The Great, Easy Life, Homoelectric
VIBE? Now seeing its third year in its new home, once Victoria Park, Lovebox has settled in rather nicely, so much so that they’ve added another day! Now spread over three days, the festival can spread its wings a little with a vaster lineup. Over the years, Lovebox often seemed a little unclear in what it was offering, with techno contrasting with youthful R&B and hip-hop, but the crowd is there for anything and everything. This year however seems more structured but with stuff for everyone. With fashion markets, beauty parlous, roaming performers and more, there is plenty to whet your appetite.
PRICE? £72.50 for a day ticket, and £155 for a three day ticket, with deposit options available for each ticket type you fancy going for!
WHO? Bombay Bicycle Club, Bonobo (DJ), Four Tet, Django Django, Floating Points (Live), Honey Dijon, Kojey Radical, Bradley Zero, Chaos In The CBD, Craig Charles, Folamour, Horse Meat Disco, Norman Jay, Peach, Shanti Celeste, Arlo Parks, Greentea Peng, Genghar
VIBE? Lost Village poses itself as a dystopian escapist paradise, which it certainly is. Located in derelict and secluded woodland near the village of Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, it comes to its sixth year in a row and is well on its way to being one of the UK’s best festivals. In 2017 it won two awards in the UK Festival Awards, with Best Small Festival and Best Festival Production, and rightly so. It has mastered a sense of escapism with areas like the ‘Airbase’ that features derelict planes strewn across the dance floor. It’s magical and mystical and you’ve got to give it a go!
PRICE? £200 to pay outright for the weekend, with payments plans also available.
WHO? Aitch, Do Nothing, Feng Suave, GoGo Penguin, Ghostpoet, KOKOKO!, Violetta Zironi, Scuti, Porches, Oscar Lang, People Club, Mabes, Luna, Malaki, Lazarus Kane, House of Pharaohs, Happyness, Dana Gavanski, Arlo Parks, Batu, Aaron Smith
VIBE? The Great Escape brings hordes of people down to sunny Brighton, all in the hope of finding the next bet thing in music. We like to say its our very own SXSW, but near the beach, and with less cowboy hats (unless you count our editor Jo, who will have one donned the entire time). It’s the annual festival for all those in the music biz (and those who aren’t) to discover some truly amazing new acts and watch those who we’ve loved for a while as well. Taking place on the beach and in varying venues across Brighton, all within minutes walk from each other, it’s a great way to explore small and independent venues while exploring a beautiful city.
PRICE? For a three day saver ticket, you’re looking at around £70 but if you fancy a delegate pass it will come to £180 – deposit schemes also available.
WHO? Ezra Collective, Archie Shepp, Underground Resistance, Overmono, Greentea Peng, Shackleton, Sam Wise, Melt Yourself Down, Floating Points (DJ), Joy Orbison (DJ), Gilles Peterson (DJ), DJ Storm, Adrian Younge (DJ), Dizraeli, Erika de Casier, Lynda Dawn
VIBE? A festival that is curated by DJ Gilles Peterson, it was always set to be a good one. He writes that he “wasn’t sure whether the UK needed another festival, but [it] was unlike any other… the sheer amount of music… the discovery of new music, the variety, the setting… the crowd.” In the former Secret Garden Party site, the festival is a cacophony of Afrobeat, Latin, jazz, disco, dubb-jazz, and everything else in between. We Out Here is a celebration of jazz in all of its diversity and with a welcoming family vibe, the festival feels like a communal movement that welcomes everyone.
PRICE? Tickets from age 15 and up are £160, but anyone under that age can get in for free! Of course there is also instalment tickets available on a deposit scheme.
WHO? Wu-Tang Clan, Underworld, Mura Masa, The Libertines, Kelis, Orbital, Kool & The Gang, De La Soul, Fat White Family, Princess Nokia, Sugarhill Gang & Furious 5, Candy Staton, Sudan Archives, Biig Piig, Ibibio Sound Machine, Greentea Peng, Pongo, Protoje, Folamour, Crazy P
VIBE? Boomtown is one of the most diverse festivals, with a variety of genres to tickle absolutely anyone’s pickle. A truly immersive experience that may leave you feeling a little overwhelmed, but that is okay! It has one of the largest capacities of 66,000 making it lively enough, but not squished, the perfect balance. Consisting of nine districts, each with a different emphasis and theme, you’ll be listening to drum & bass in one area, and folk in the other – what’s not to love? The production of this festival is phenomenal and if you’re looking for true escapism, then this is your place to go.
PRICE? Tickets for Boomtown are a little on the pricier side, compared to what we have seen so far, coming in at around £250 (with instalment plans available). While this does seem a little excessive, the amount of things to do there and the nine districts does seem to help!
WHO? While the lineup is yet to be released, we can get an idea from previous years: 2019 saw the likes of DJ Storm, Jurassic 5, Pongo, Tom Ravenscroft, The Comet Is Coming, Nubya Garcia, Idles, and more. 2018, however, saw Kokoroko, Gentleman’s Dub Club, This Is The Kit, Nubiyan Twist, Exposure and more.
VIBE? Shambala is a festival that is as wholesome as they come, while still maintaining the true festival vibes that you love and crave. It’s a small space in comparison to some of the larger festivals that are about, but it would be wrong to say that because of this, it makes it worse. If anything, they have taken all the best parts of other festivals and honed it into one. From funk to jazz to DnB to techno, there is something for everyone. And what’s more, it is a pioneering sustainable festival that has reduced their carbon footprint by over 80%, has become powered by 100% renewables, has gone meat and fish free, and is five times more carbon positive through renewable energy investments. It’s their 20th birthday this year and it’s set to be a good one!
PRICE? Tickets come in at around £170, with instalment options available.
WHO? Ben Sims, Crazy P, Jerome Hill, KiNk, The Storytellers: DJ Bone / Deetron, Homoelectric, 303, Will Tramp, Zed Bias, Zutekh, Big Love and The Fuzz, Gina Breeze, Aloona, Krysko, Dub Smugglers
VIBE? One Tribe Festival has been paving the way for eco-friendly and socially conscious festivals, as it proudly boasts that it is vegan-friendly and plastic free since its conception in 2017. The festival operates as an independent, non-profit, non-corporate organism, the festival also helps fund the work of The Green Paw Project, a charity that saves lives of helpless and vulnerable animals in developing countries. So you can go to an amazing intimate festival as well as helping animals… what more could you want?! The festival ultimately seeks to bring people together to indulge in five days of uninterrupted creative bliss.
PRICE? Ticket prices for adults are around £125, with junior prices coming in at about £45, which is pretty cheap in comparison to some of your other five day festivals.