The Best UK Festivals | The Top 15
Last Updated: 4th September 2019 | Main image: Lost Village
If you’re someone who enjoys standing in extremely close proximity to mass numbers of other humans; swigging on warm pints; and bobbing your head to a thumping bass… then you’ve come to the right place. For we have seen some stuff and done some things in our quest to compile a list of only the very greatest UK festivals; which you can read all about below.
Glastonbury | The Big One
The biggest of the bunch, Glastonbury is an annual pilgrimage for many. It started out in 1970 (originally called Pilton Festival) and has grown in size ever since; measuring up to around 1,200 acres of English countryside, transformed into a musical/artistic/creative haven for 5 days of the year.
Where: Worthy Farm, Somerset
When: 26th – 30th June 2019
Music genre: Any and all
Previous Headliners: David Bowie, Muse, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis
Camp Wildfire | The Adventure One
If you’ve ever imagined what an American Summer camp might look like in the UK, then head for Kent. Particularly over one specific weekend each summer, when Camp Wildfire sets up shop in the Heritage Pine Forest; where you’ll have the chance to try out hovercrafting, yoga, tie-dying, parkour, quad biking, paddleboarding, axe throwing, screen printing and zorbing. To name a few.
Where: Heritage Pine Forest, Sevenoaks, Kent
When: 30th Aug – 2nd Sept 2019
Music genre: A mixture of genres
Previous Headliners: DJ Yoda, Little Gay Brother
Lost Village | The Mysterious One
Located in an ‘abandoned forest’, Lost Village is only a few years old; being founded in just 2015. When navigating your way through the woodland, you’ll not only come across derelict buildings and junkyards; but decadent lakeside banquets, feasts whipped up by the Indian restaurant-gurus Dishoom, comedy, theatre, talks, wood-fired hot tubs and massage therapies.
When: 22nd – 25th August 2019
Music genre: Mostly Dance
Size: Around 5,000
Previous Headliners: Maribou State, Little Dragon
Wilderness | The Foodie One
Image: James Knappe
A weekend of laid-back music, game-changing grub, and lakeside wellness; Wilderness is one of the more relaxing, cushty festivals of the bunch. Previous chef and restaurant lineups have included the famed Café Murano, Tom Aikens, Neil Borthwick, Petersham Nurseries, Smokestak, and 12:51.
Where: Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
When: 31st July – 2nd of August 2020
Music genre: Multiple
Size: Around 10,000
Previous Headliners: Groove Armada, Bombay Bicycle Club, Nile Rogers & Chic, Grace Jones
Brainchild | The Creative, Collaborative One
Image: Jenna Foxton
An independent festival, celebrating creativity, diversity, and community; Brainchild fosters an inclusive environment whereby all artists, crew members and festival-goers camp together. Having been started up by a group of friends at university, the easy-going atmosphere is still prevalent today.
Where: East Sussex
When: 12th – 14th of July 2019
Music genre: Emerging talent of all genres
Previous Headliners: Alex Burey, Loyle Carner, Elder Island
Field Day | The London One
Image: Erin Aydin Barberini
Having started out in 2007, Field Day is now in its 12th year and onto its 4th location; setting up shop in Meridian Water, Enfield. Alongside this move, came a new late license; meaning the festival is broken up into a Day part (finishing at around 10:30pm) and a Late Night part (finishing up at around 3am), for those who are keen to continue the party in one of their 4 huge interlocking warehouse-spaces.
Where: Meridian Water, London
When: 7th – 8th of June 2019
Music genre: Mostly alternative rock
Previous Headliners: Skepta, Jorja Smith, James Blake
Mighty Hoopla | The Pop-tastic One
A pop-tastic glittery extravaganza, with a little LGBTQ+ fabulousness thrown in; celebrating diversity and all things pop-centric with disco, funk, dancing and club nights/venues including Sink the Pink, The Grand and Guilty Pleasures.
Where: Brockwell Park, London
When: 8th of June 2019
Music genre: pop
Previous Headliners: Chaka Khan, All Saints, Years & Years, TLC
Smoked & Uncut | The Boujie One
Based at the luxury Pig Hotels in Somerset and Hampshire, alongside Lime Wood; Smoked & Uncut is more of an opulent weekend in the countryside than a festival. You can enjoy their long-table locally sourced feasts, hosted by none other than the esteemed Angela Hartnett and Mark Hix in previous years, whilst listening to a selection of contemporary and classic music.
Where: Somerset; Brockenhurst, Hampshire; and New Forest, Hampshire
When: 27th July 2019
Music genre: A mixture
Previous Headliners: Kaiser Chiefs, The Vaccines, Sister Sledge
Jam On Rye | The South London Soul One
A jazz, soul and R&B day-festival in Peckham Rye park, featuring street food produced by KERB (including vegan tacos…); a kids’ dome for all the children-friendly activities; and 3 stages.
Where: Peckham Rye
When: 27th May 2019
Music genre: mostly Jazz, soul, and R&B
Previous Headliners: Kelis, Mungo’s HIFI
The Big Feastival | The Family-Friendly One
Held on Blur bassist Alex James’ farm, The Big Feastival is clearly on to a good thing. The laid-back, family friendly festival features live cookery demos, a ‘Big Menu’ including food stands by Made of Dough, Claw, Farang and MAM; and 3 stages of music.
Where: Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds
When: 23rd – 25th August 2019
Music genre: A mixture
Size: 55,000 across 3 days
Previous Headliners: Rudimental, Mark Ronson, Lewis Capaldi
All Points East | The East-London One
Image: Luke Hannaford
Taking place over two weekends in East London’s leafy Victoria Park, All Points East is a new kid on the festival block, only starting up in 2018. Despite this, it’s made quite the splash; already winning an award for Line-Up of the Year at the UK Festival Awards.
Where: Victoria Park, London
When: 27th – 30th May 2019
Music genre: Electronic, Indie, Rock
Previous Headliners: The Strokes, Bon Iver, The XX
End Of The Road | The Independent Rock and Folk One
Image: Sonny Malhotra
Having started up in 2006, End of the Road festival is far from it. It remains independent, meaning you won’t have to stare at any huge sponsorship banners whilst enjoying the music; comedy; food trucks, and potential peacock sightings.
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
When: 29th Aug – 1st Sept 2019
Music genre: Rock and Folk
Previous Headliners: Vampire Weekend, Mac Demarco, Metronomy
Edinburgh Fringe | The Arty One
Image: Robert V. Ruggiero
Deemed one of the world’s largest arts festivals, Edinburgh Fringe was started up in 1947; allowing absolutely anyone to participate. Although artists can partake in any kind of performance, the majority are broken down into 10 main categories; cabaret and variety; children’s shows; comedy; dance, physical theatre and circus; events; exhibitions; music; musicals and opera; spoken word; and theatre.
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
When: 2nd – 26th August 2019
Size: Hundreds of shows, in variously sized venues
Also Festival | The Experiences One
Music takes the backseat at Also Festival; as they focus in on ideas. These ideas take the form of talks such as the illuminating “How we’re wrong about nearly everything” and “Time, and how to spend it” with author James Wallman. On top of this, there are also a wealth of other activities including acting workshops, sunrise swims, roller discos, forest bathing, comedy. And also music.
When: 3rd – 5th July 2020
Music genre: Disco, rap and interactive samba drumming
Previous Headliners: Lady Sanity, General Disco Procedure, and Vinyl Richie
Standon Calling | The Boutique One
From what originally started out as a small birthday barbecue, Standon Calling has come a long way. Today you can expect fancy dress, hot tubs, and a seriously strong music line-up.
Where: Standon, Hertfordshire
When: 23rd – 26th July 2020
Music genre: Mixture
Previous Headliners: Paloma Faith, George Ezra, Nile Rogers & Chic, Rag’N’Bone Man
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