Ten UK Festivals to Take Music Lovers to the End of Summer
By Richard Jones
It has already been another stellar year of entertainment with large crowds of music lovers watching big-name acts under starry skies.
While the likes of Glastonbury, TRNSMT and Isle of Wight may be done and dusted, there are still plenty of exciting festivals to catch around the UK before the sun sets on the summer.
Best for: Chilled-out fun and culture
Line-up: Pulp, Paolo Nutini, George Ezra, Metronomy, The Kooks, Mimi Webb
Perfect for families, Latitude has great comedy, art installations, poetry, film and literary readings, as well as music. Set in a lush woodland, it is also great for those wishing to get back to nature, while you can also go for a swim in the lake. The Theatre of Food is a fully immersive stage offering cooking sessions and inspiring demos.
Standon Calling, Hertfordshire
Best for: Intimate indie hedonism for all ages
Line-up: Years & Years, Self Esteem, Bloc Party, The Human League, Rick Astley, Anastacia
Although it is the closest camping festival to London, Standon Calling still manages to retain a boutique feel. There is a brilliant musical line-up alongside a wide-ranging arts programme at the boogaloo woodland stage, and a chance to relax in the wild wellbeing area. If you want luxury, splash out on a yurt suite to enjoy a proper bed, duvet and hot shower.
Best for: Music variety with a Yorkshire spirit
Line-up: Richard Ashcroft, The Courteeners, Paul Heaton, DMA’s, Blossoms, Kaiser Chiefs
Increasing in size and scope each year, Tramlines is no longer a free, community-focused event in the Steel City – it now draws some of the country’s best indie acts to Hillsborough Park. But it has retained a strong northern identity (as reflected by this year’s headliners), and with the five stages hosting a mix of young uns and older heads, there’s something for everyone.
Belladrum Tartan Heart, Inverness
Best for: Wacky community festival with family at its heart
Line-up: Travis, Bastille, Sigrid, Peat & Diesel, Sam Ryder, KT Tunstall
There’s always a good mix of contemporary and more traditional music in the Italian gardens of the Belladrum Estate. Striking a nice balance between chilled-out Highlands ambience and colourful party atmosphere, punters are encouraged to dress up. As well as music, the Verb Garden will once again feature some of Scotland’s best spoken word artists.
Camp Bestival, Dorset & Shropshire
27-30 July & 17-20 August
Best for: Like-minded revellers of all ages
Line-up: Grace Jones, Craig David Presents TS5, The Kooks, Rudimental, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ella Henderson
The incredible number of activities available to children at Camp Bestival’s two sites make them firm family favourites. The grounds of Lulworth Castle in Dorset are transformed into a magical menagerie – so have your wild fancy dress outfits at the ready. Then, at the Capability Brown-landscaped grounds of Weston Park in Shropshire, you can spend the day roaming Temple Wood and the Magic Meadow.
Kendal Calling, Cumbria
Best for: Relaxed Lakeside camping and great music
Line-up: Kasabian, Blossoms, Royal Blood, The Lathums, Rick Astley, Kaiser Chiefs
Housed in the beautiful Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District, Kendal Calling is a contender for being the most picturesque festival. Both the Parklands and Calling Out Stages are fantastically well presented and almost demand as much attention as the artists. The line-up on the Main Stage features indie stalwarts, with up and comers on the Calling Out Stage.
Best for: Five epic days of surf and sounds
Line-up: Liam Gallagher, Lorde, Florence + The Machine, Ben Howard, Little Simz, Dermot Kennedy
Alongside the music (a mix of indie, rock, hip hop and dance) there are tons of activities to inspire outdoorsy types (kayaking, coastal runs, surf lessons). The Net Loft is a working fisherman’s cottage transformed into an intimate stage showcasing new talent, while the 17th-century Keg & Pasty clifftop boozer serves amazing Cornish pasties.
Summertime Live, Windsor & Cheltenham
11-12 August, 1-2 September
Best for: A choice of soul, disco and Ibiza DJs
Line-up: The Real Thing, Loose Ends, Heather Small, Classic Ibiza Orchestra, Sigala
While Soultaisia celebrates legendary soul and disco, Summertime Live (top image) means party time, with three stages hosting world-class DJs flown in straight from the Balearics. Each leg of the tour has a host of gastronomical delights, while the event’s sponsor Café del Mar Spirits will have a number of pop-up tents serving ice-old cocktails inspired by the party isle of Ibiza.
Best for: Everybody in the house for star-studded dance
Line-up: Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Becky Hill, Tiësto, Diplo, Martin Garrix
Over 70,000 clubbers are expected to descend on Daresbury during the August bank holiday weekend, with over 300 dance acts performing across 30 stages. There’s not so much in the way of activities here, as Creamfields is far more for the dance-dedicated party purists. Luxury tipis in the Dreamfields area have all the mod cons to see you through your sleep deprivation.
Reading and Leeds Festivals
Best for: Teens celebrating their GCSE or A-Level results
Line-up: Billie Eilish, The Killers, Sam Fender, Foals, Love Joy, Fousheé
Reading first launched in 1961, with its little sister at Bramham Park following in 1999. Both sites now feature two main stages – billed as East and West – so the summer bank holiday blowout has even more space for music’s big guns. Over at the Lock-Up Stage, underground punk acts tend to put on some of the festival’s best shows.