The festival season is almost upon us and it’s set to be a scorching summer this year, so dig out your tent, your summer clothes and your wellies (just in case) and start planning for the months of mud, music and mayhem ahead.
With so many festivals to choose from these days, there’s one to cater for every taste, but the sheer amount of new festivals springing up every year means that picking just a few to go to can be a difficult task. Luckily, we’ve picked out the best UK music festivals to get you started.
One of the most creative and colourful festivals around, dressing up is a must at Shambala. Set in a secret location beside a lake in the Northamptonshire countryside, there are over 200 live musical acts to see, as well as circus, theatre, comedy, workshops and some incredible art instillations. While Shambala is a family-friendly festival, that doesn’t mean it isn’t one hell of a party come once the sun goes down. You can be relaxing in a hot-tub over-looking the lake by day and raving in the enchanted forest by night- that’s the beauty of Shambala.
When: 21-24 August
Where: Secret Country Estate, Northamptonshire
Don’t miss: Gentleman’s Dub Club, Public Service Broadcasting, Young Fathers
Quite possibly the best boutique festival experience around, Blissfields is a small festival with a big following. There is a great mix of artists this year, with Tune-Yards, Johnny Flynn and Sleigh Bells among the headliners. As usual, there will be plenty of new acts to discover too, like Moral Panics, a band from the Midlands sure to win you over with their dark indie sound.
When: 4-5 July
Where: Winchester, Hampshire
Don’t miss: Tune-Yards, Moral Panics, Sleigh Bells
Organised by music guru Rob Da Bank, Bestival is one of the UK’s best-loved major festivals, with a mix of indie bands and top DJ’s bringing thousands of revellers over on the ferry to the Isle of Wight every year. The recently re-united hip-hop due Outcast are sure to pull in the crowds as this year’s headliners, and other big names include Foals, London Grammar and Disclosure. Saturday is dress-up day, and this time the theme is ‘Desert Island Disco’.
When: 4-7 September
Where: Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
Don’t miss: Outcast, SBTRKT, Laura Mvula
The Secret Garden Party
Secret Garden Party is a haven from the daily grind- a spectacular, surreal, fantastical event where you can swim in a lake, have a paint fight or even race a pig. Headliners include punk-reggae legends Dub Pistols as well as Little Dragon and Hercules and the Love Affair, but SGP has always been less about big names and more about good vibes. This year’s theme is ‘Goodbye yellow brick road’, a reflection of the creative, anti-corporate spirit of the festival.
When: 24-27 July
Where: Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon
Don’t miss: Kyla La Grange, Si Cranstoun, Little Dragon
Michael Eavis’ festival is still king and tickets sold out in record time this year, with the last batch being snapped up in 12 minutes. If you didn’t manage to get one this year, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved through volunteering- you could be a steward, help with the clear-up or even paint bins. As with every year, there are several rumours flying about regarding the headline act, and although Eavis is keeping it a secret for now, he has said it will be ‘one of the biggest-selling bands in the world’.
When: 25-29 June
Where: Worthy Farm, Pilton
Don’t miss: Pixies, M.I.A, Jamie XX