It’s that exciting time of year again. But how to decide? Flick through our handily chronological list and see what tickles your fancy.
ISLE OF WIGHT
Newport, Isle of Wight
Line-up: The Who, Queen + Adam Lambert, Stereophonics, Faithless
Isle of Wight is fast becoming the rock festival that Glastonbury once longed to be. Flaunting one of the richest and most exciting histories of the UK festival circuit. The “Dad-rock” sympathisers will no doubt be delighted once more, with the line-up boasting nostalgia headline slots from Queen and The Who, and while few remain convinced at Adam Lambert’s impersonations of Freddie Mercury, the UK’s greatest rock festival returns with a big statement of intent.
Victoria Park, East London
Line-up: James Blake, PJ Harvey, Skepta, John Grant
This hipster gathering in the heart of London’s Victoria Park has grown and grown since its inception in 2007, this year totes a bill including the nuanced electronic synths of James Blake, urethral tones of alternative icon PJ Harvey and grounded rhymes of grime reviver Skepta. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Field day is the home of the cutting edge and critically acclaimed. The festival for music lovers put together by those that know their stuff.
Worthy Farm, Somerset
Adele, Muse, Coldplay, Foals, Beck
Pilton’s biggest party returns for its 46th year this June, with 175,000 punters descending on the sleepy Somerset farm to see some of the biggest artists in the world perform. Muse, Coldplay and Adele top this year’s festival, with other notable acts such as Foals, New Order, LCD Soundsystem and Skepta also set to play. The festival also features dance, comedy, theatre, circus and other performing arts, with tickets selling out (as usual) within hours of going on sale back in October.
Vicarage Farm, Winchester
Line-up: Dizzee Rascal, Everything Everything, Shy FX
Compensating for the middle class drudgery that comes with a
farm setting near Winchester, Blissfields pushes the boat out in theming and spectacle. A “House Party” theme may seem contrived but with pre-constructed slumber parties and retro living room discos with art design by the award-winning Matt Canning, Blissfields isn’t doing thing by half, and massive hot-tub parties are a nice touch too. Dizzee Rascal and Everything Everything are the perfect headliners; perfectly representing it’s colour and vibrancy, and veterans Beans on Toast and Dub Pistols will provide character in bucketfuls.
T IN THE PARK
Strathallan Castle, Kinross
Line-up: The Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Calvin Harris, Bastille
Ardent festival-goer, first timer or just in search of a good weekend, T in the Park accepts all and is a stalwart of the summer’s festival season. Widely regarded as the ‘Scottish Glastonbury’, this year’s T in the Park boasts an eclectic bill ranging from festival heavyweights of the calibre of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Calvin Harris to Spanish guitar maestros Rodrigo y Gabriela and more. The perfect place for a weekend of hedonism, so long as the ospreys don’t interfere again.
Henham Park, Suffolk
Line-up: New Order, The National, The Maccabees
Family-friendly Latitude Festival boasts one of the best – if not THE best – festival line-up this year. A glorious collection of artists that released critically acclaimed albums in the past few years (Grimes, Father John Misty, Perfume Genius, Courtney Barnett) and staple indie favourites (Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, The Maccabees), the Latitude line-up is a thing of tear-jerking beauty – this year’s Mona Lisa of festival posters. And headliners The National and New Order are not just examples of good bookings, they’re genius ones too.
Victoria Park, London
Line Up: LCD Soundsytem, Major Lazer, Jungle
LCD Soundsystem. If those two words don’t fill you with glee then there’s probably no hope for you, but worry not – Lovebox has a hell of a lot more to offer. From juggernauts like Run The Jewels, Major Lazer, and George goddamn Clinton to up-and-comers like Denzel Curry and Hannah Wants, this festival has a lot to offer. Elsewhere, there’s the usual premium fast food that seem to be a legal requirement for London festivals, and specially curated experiences like slacklining or rollerdisco. This ticket is absolutely a summer essential.
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
Line-up: The Flaming Lips, Robert Plant, Crystal Fighters
Embrace a bohemian lifestyle of music, food, philosophical debates and art in a landscape that is wholeheartedly hobbit-worthy. With music from Robert Plant, Crystal Fighters, Glass Animals and Matt Corby, Wilderness’s line-ups are improving with every passing year. When you can wake up with the sun and swim in a lake to start your day, followed by boating, yoga, physical theatre, long table banquets or yurt-building… it’s clear that Wilder- ness stands above the rest as more than just a music festival.
DOWN TO THE WOODS
Hardwick Hall, Durham
Line-up: Chase and Status, Primal Scream, Catfish and the Bottlemen
Relatively unheard of in the larger festival circuit, Down to the Woods is making a name for itself in the relatively quiet (and Exeter-detested) part of the North East. But it’s totally reasonable to put aside your palatin-hate for old school gems such as Primal Scream and Echo and the Bunnymen alongside Chase and Status and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Don’t be fooled by the rustic whimsy of the “Foxes’ Folly” stage or the “Badger’s Den”, you can also engage in “glamping” with tents big and cosy enough to safely swing a a cat. What more could you want?
Brecon Beacons, Wales
Line-up: Belle & Sebastian, James Blake, Wild Beasts, Warpaint, Laura Marling
For those looking for a slice of wilderness this summer, where better than Green Man? Set within the natural beauty of the Brecon Beacons, the festival offers a variety of music, comedy and beyond. Boasting headline acts such as James Blake and Laura Marling, alongside Ezra Furman, Gengahr and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (to name but a few), a range of magical, creative, relaxed areas like the Walled Garden and the incredible Chai Wallah’s, Green Man has it all.
READING & LEEDS
Richfield Avenue, Reading
& Bramham Park, Leeds
Line-up: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foals, Disclosure, Biffy Clyro
Reading & Leeds is the only secondary school rite of passage that includes seeing the most popular new artists as well as those who have been iPod staples since the days when you bought music. Although fundamentally a ‘rock festival’, this year sees grime collective BBK on the main stage as well as the mysteriously titled “co-headliners” Biffy Clyro/Fall Out Boy, Disclosure/Foals and the return of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Bring bucket hats, hand sanitizer and roach card.
Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight
Line-up: The Cure, Major Lazer, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip
A perfect end to the festival season, Bestival is an event that is always a hit with fans. Although relatively new, it already boasts some of the biggest names in music on it’s CV, and this year is no different. From The Cure to Fatboy Slim, there is always a great selection of genres, stages and activities to keep the colourful crowd on their feet. This years theme of ‘The Future’ is already proving popular, with costumes in previous years ranging from the bizarre to the spectacular. One thing’s for sure, Rob Da Bank knows how to throw a great party.
Line-up: Primal Scream, Belle & Sebastian, Hot Chip
Sponsored by John Lewis and based in one of the most middle- class areas of South London, OnBlackheath is surprisingly student friendly. The line-up appeals across the ages, with bands like SOAK performing next to Squeeze, making it a festival both you and your parents could enjoy. Having had an impressive opening year with Frank Turner as their headliner, it has only improved, and two years on, it’s firmly cementing itself as one of the major London music festivals with a surprisingly impressive list of artists making their way south of the river.