If you’re not jetting away to foreign climes, there is no finer way to spend your summer than bouncing between festivals. These are the ones to book right now.
Houghton Festival, Norfolk
11 – 14 August
Anyone who spent their youth letting loose at Fabric and yearns to resurrect those days once more should head straight for Houghton festival in Norfolk, which was set up by Craig Richards, who also happens to be founder of that legendary London nightclub. It’s been a while; weather conditions put paid to 2019’s efforts, and the pandemic did the same for the ensuing years. There’s much lost time to be made up for then. Whether you glamp or camp, this is set to be a wild couple of days.
Green Man, Brecon Beacons
18 – 21 August
If you want a festival that expands your mind as well as one that will deliver an excellent line-up of music, then Green Man in the beautiful Brecon Beacons is surely the one. The breathtakingly gorgeous setting is enhanced by the wealth of activities on offer, from sound- or massage-therapy to comedy right through to science workshops, of all unexpected things. On the bill this year are Kraftwerk, Michael Kiwanuka and Kae Tempest. Want to get away from it the crowds? Just submerge yourself in one of the festival’s hot tubs. Bliss. Book it.
All Points East, Victoria Park, London
19 – 20 August; 25 – 28 August
Victoria Park is already the default summer hang-out for the coolest kids in town. When All Points East hits, that fact is magnified to the power of a thousand. The line-up this year is impressive, from The Chemical Brothers to Gorillaz to Michael Kiwanuka. Book it.
10 – 14 August
It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic spot than this one for a festival – especially if you enjoy surfing as much as you do losing yourself to the music. Head to the west coast of Cornwall, and this summer you can catch the likes of George Ezra and Kings of Leon between catching the waves or kayaking. Being right on the beach, this is a festival and a holiday all in one. Laid back, and inclusive on the music front (think everything from hip hop to rock), it is the perfect festival for outdoorsy types. Book it.
Isle Of Wight Festival
16 – 19 June
One of the originals and still amongst the best, Isle of Wight still attracts some of the biggest names in the business. Back in the 1970s, the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell graced its main stage; this year you can expect Jessie Ware, Lewis Capaldi, Muse and Rudimental. They might not quite scale the legendary heights of their culture-defining predecessors, but this promises to be an excellent event nonetheless. Book it.
Aerial Festival, Lake District
Looking for something truly alternative? Ambleside was once the home of pioneering Dadaist and Constructivist artist, Kurt Schwitters, and the place from which he created his famous Merzbau works. It is fitting then, that this new festival, which commissions new work, should use some of the beautiful area’s ‘churches, country houses, prehistoric stone circles and steamboats’ to showcase creative work from performance and visual artists. Keep a keen eye on its website for more information in the coming weeks. More than just a festival, it is a platform for ‘new work inspired in some way by the natural, cultural or social history of Cumbria.’
El Dorado, Herefordshire
30 June – 3 July
Groove Armada will be joined by Earth, Wind and Fire, among many others, in this friendly and fun festival setting. It has a charmingly homemade feel to it which, in combination with the starry line-up, is definitely a good thing. We’ll see you bombing down the helter-skelter. Book it.
22 – 26 June
The most famous of them all, Glastonbury needs little by way of introduction. Founded in 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died, this year marks its delayed 50th anniversary and, as such, the stellar line-up at Worthy Farm is particularly excellent this year. It includes Billie Eilish, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Megan Thee Stallion, Arlo Parks, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Primal Scream, Lorde, Years & Years, and The Pet Boys. Don’t miss it. Book it.
Love Supreme, East Sussex
1 – 3 July
We can think of few finer spots than Glynde Place, set amidst the resplendent South Downs in East Sussex, to revel in the sultry glamour of a jazz festival. This year, Sister Sledge and Tom Misch are headlining and we can’t wait. We strongly advice the glamping option, inside a glorious American Airstream, as well as making time for a trek up Firle Beacon. A delightful festival that is never too hectic. Book it.
21 – 25 July
Latitude has long been known as a top choice for summer revellers who want to bring the whole family along. This year’s excellent line-up means that you get to let off steam in a field to the sounds of Lewis Capaldi, Foals and Groove Armanda, while your little ones can also rejoice in the woodland settings and the plethora of performers all around. There will be Aardman workshops, puppetry, woodcrafts, a teen stage, and a tent from the ever-excellent Okido. Russell Howard, meanwhile, will head up a roster of comedians to ensure that peals of laughter will be as much the soundtrack to this festival as the music. Book it.
By Nancy Alsop
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