From V Fest in the heart of Essex to Secret Garden Party in the heart of the countryside; Justin Bieber to PJ Harvey, glitter and fancy dress to mud baths, there is no reason why you should miss out on soaking up the culture at British festivals. We Brits are great at throwing the annual wilderness festival bash, open water spas and all. Imagine the sun is just about shining through the clouds of doom, slightly watered down beer in hand, your favourite music in abundance, glitter-streaked across your face and your best friends on your arm; festivals are a cocooned happy place. And hooray, there is now no need to fear spending a weekend in a cramped tent, glamping is here! Or there is always the option of a day ticket.
Feeling desperate to don your wellies and pack your UV paint yet? Check out our brief guide to some of the biggest and best music festivals in Britain this summer.
FIELD DAY, VICTORIA PARK, LONDON
Date: 3 JUNE
2017 headliners: Aphex twin, Abra, Lady Leshurr
For the non-camping festival goers Field Day is a single day of urban London partying, a favourite of mine and as it celebrates its 11th birthday this year it doesn’t disappoint. With an extensive line up there is something for everyone. Field Day works best by running from one stage to another, sampling and tasting different artists. Last year consisted of stars such as R&B sensation Kelela Hrough to Peckham formed rock band Fat White Family. Small enough to see all your favourites, but big enough to feel like a proper muddy, burger-stalled festival, even when in central London! Although last year was rained on, the year before was sun-soaked and was a day full of musical dreams.
Date: 8th July – 11th July
Price: €39 PER DAY; €129 4 DAY WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Agents of Time, Alex Niggemann, Amelie Lens
Labrinth Open, located on the beautiful lands of Croatia, this festival not only boasts dramatic mountainous landscapes and dreamy deep-blue seas but is also organised by Labrinth Productions who have hosted successful club nights all over the world. We’re sure it will prove to be one of the most sought-after events for festival-goers. As well as having accommodation available by the beach and activities including boat parties and watching the sunset over the Cetina River, Labyrinth Open’s line-up will see acts such as Amelie Lens, Dub Fire and many others take the stage this July.
PARK LIFE, HEATON PARK, MANCHESTER
Date: 10-11 JUNE
Price: £59.50 PER DAY; £99.50 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Frank Ocean, The 1975, Boy Better Know
Set over the course of a weekend, Manchester’s very own Parklife is one of the newest and biggest weekend festivals, hosting another vast range of music from all corners. Frank Ocean and The 1975 are set to headline, along with a line up this year, full of diversity and refinement with acts such as house genius The Black Madonna through to heart throb George Ezra. Parklife seems to be a festival that caters for everyone; all ages, all tastes and many manners of fun. A festival for all occasions and it’s making me very jealous that I can’t go!
GLASTONBURY, PILTON, SOMERSET
Date: 22-26 JUNE
Price: £228 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran
I mean, do I even need to say anything about this one? The legendary, the infamous and the world renowned Glastonbury is, of course, the pinnacle of festivals, not only in the UK but it is hugely recognised around the world. The most famous of festivals to talk about and certainly not one for the faint-hearted. The ultimate of ultimate music festivals, Glastonbury – although on the pricey side – would not and will not disappoint. This year’s headliners vary from Ed Sheeran who first played Glastonbury in 2011, to newly successful Stormzy, Glastonbury is certainly the biggest of UK festivals and is essentially the size of a small town. This year there is even a drive-in cinema! If you are looking to get lost, have a holiday and come home a new person having seen things you never thought you would see, then you are up for the intense but equally beautiful and sensational Glasto.
WIRELESS, FINSBURY PARK, LONDON
Date: 7-9 JULY
Price: £62 PER DAY; £160 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Bryson Tiller, Skepta, Nas
Another London-based festival which takes place over three days. Wireless is famous for bringing the underground music scene up and out to Finsbury Park where it embraces all things urban. Even Fergie was enticed out from hiding for her first performance in three years while Boy Better Know were able to party on home turf last year. Another festival perfect for first timers, Wireless offers all the ease of enjoyment for a younger audience; chart toppers, club bangers and famously un-famous underground acts such as Skepta who performed in 2016. With Skepta returning to headline this time around and the line up being littered with acts such as Bryson Tiller, Wiley, Cadet and Nas, Wireless is an ode to all things Grime, Hip Hop, Rap and R&B.
LATITUDE, HENHAM PARK, SUFFOLK
Date: 13-16 JULY
Price: £84.50 PER DAY; £197 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes
Although not one of the biggest, Latitude is probably one of the friendliest festivals. Every year Latitude opens its smiley and cultural, countryside arms to all ages and families are largely welcomed. Think rainbow-painted sheep, babies with ear defenders and hidden, enchanted forest raves. Perhaps aimed at those not craving mud fights or witnessing vomiting teenagers, Latitude is for the more civilised festival goer, nonetheless an amazingly cultural and interesting experience. Another one for fancy dress, poetry and true nature loving, Latitude offers more than just music. Poetry, debates, ballet and bistro burgers, Latitude is the festival for you if you’re looking for a well organised space for escapism and self-love.
SECRET GARDEN PARTY, ABBOTS RIPTON, HUNTINGDON
Date: 20-23 JULY
Price: £197 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Metronomy, Crystal Fighters, Toots & The Maytals
If you are really looking to get away from everyday life for a weekend Secret Garden Party is calling your name. My own festival of choice this year, SGP is known for being eclectic, colourful, community spirited, enchanted and other worldly. The head gardener is cryptic in his messages about the festival, hence the name, but from putting together pieces of the party puzzle I really don’t think it will disappoint. Another festival that is more than simply a music festival, offering 10 hours of spoken word in The Forum, spa treatments in The Sanctuary and topped off with some musical gems. Highly acclaimed Ray Blk will be gracing the stage along with headliners Metronomy, Eats Everything will be playing on one of the 10 incredibly artistic and beautiful stages. A festival of experiences but sadly 2017 will be the last ever Secret Garden Party, so if this sounds like your kind of party this is the year to go!
BOOMTOWN, MATTERLEY ESTATE, HAMPSHIRE
Date: 10-13 AUGUST
Price: £202 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: The Specials, M.I.A, Cypress Hill
Boomtown’s very own “’Boomtown’” identity manifests itself in the growing amount of ‘wacky’ seen in and among the weekend. Excellent at making anyone feel at home, Boomtown allows for a free flowing, eccentric but an utterly inspiring utopia of fun. If you could describe what a festival should look like physically, then Boomtown is it: colourful, imaginative and slightly crazy. Musically the festival is a melting pot, with this year’s acts ranging from AJ Tracey to Black Water County, Booka Shade to The Ska Vengers. Perhaps not a festival for first timers, with its political undertones and huge capacity, Boomtown should maybe be left to the hard-core Festival ravers.
V FESTIVAL, WESTON PARK, CHELMSFORD
Date: 18-19 AUGUST
Price: £97.90 PER DAY; £189 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Pink, Jay-Z
A festival of pop and alcopops, V fest is the perfect first festival for any chart lover. Last year’s festival was one of the biggest line ups in terms of chart toppers, from Sia and Little Mix, to Rihanna and a ‘hungover’ Justin Bieber, who caused a stir with his flaky behaviour and lower than average performance. However, with Jay Z headlining in 2017 on the second day and Dizzie Rascal making an appearance this year will not hold any disappointment I am sure. Most popular among a younger audience, V tailors itself to the first time festival goer, no longer an 80’s older man festival, be prepared to have a sing along, dance your GCSE cares away and feel first time nostalgia as P!NK makes a comeback to grace the V Festival stage this year.
READING AND LEEDS FESTIVAL, LITTLE JOHNS FARM AND BRAHAM PARK
Date: 25-27 AUGUST
Price: £72 PER DAY; £202 WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: Paramore, Arctic Monkeys, blink-182
Somewhat a rite of passage, Reading and Leeds is the ideal shindig after leaving school or college, best experienced with a massive group of your best mates, wellies and the preparation to party hard, Reading and Leeds are a riotous pair of festivals. Perhaps not for anyone looking to enjoy a quieter weekend, full of mud, outrage and head banging this music-heavy festival is ready to chuck you in the deep end of its majority rock lineup. Reading/Leeds is simple in nature: an extremely large field with lots of tents playing lots of music, there’s not so much of the spa treatments or enchanted forests at this pair of festivals, but if you are a dedicated music lover who doesn’t mind getting in to the nitty-gritty of British music festivals, then Reading and Leeds will be right up your street!
BESTIVAL, LULWORTH ESTATE, DORSET
Date: 7-10 SEPTEMBER
Price: £170 STUDENT WEEKEND TICKET; £180 ADULT WEEKEND TICKET
2017 headliners: The Cure, Major Lazer, Hot Chip
Originally held on the Isle of Wight, 2017 sees Bestival relocate to Dorset. The award-winning festival is one to definitely consider escaping to. Known for its reputation of silly and fun, Bestival is, as the name suggests, one of the best for students, young people and even your ‘rents. With nostalgic headliners such as The Cure cherry topping the line up along with grime artist Skepta and pop sensation Major Lazer slotting in, Bestival has it all for all ages and all walks of life. Bring your fancy dress gear, raincoat (yep, be prepared for the worst) and leave any seriousness at home and you will be guaranteed a good time.
WE ARE FSTVL, UPMINSTER
Date: 26 – 28 MAY
Price: £74.50 PER DAY; £174.50 WEEKEND TICKET
2016 headliners: Fatboy Slim, Steve Angello
One of the brightest stars in the UK’s electronic music scene, We Are FSTVL is now in its fifth year. Attracting some of the best names in global dance music We Are FSTVL features all different types of electronic music, from Techno to D’N’B. The festival is held just outside of London so is easy to get to and is increasing in size and quality with each year. 2017’s lineup includes Dizzee Rascal, Craig David’s TS5 and Jamie Jones; a stellar group that promises a weekend of raving like no other.
12. MADE FESTIVAL, DIGBETH, BIRMINGHAM
Date: 29 JULY
2016 headliners: Stormzy, Rudimental
Set in the “Shoreditch of Birmingham” – the achingly cool Digbeth area – is the 1 day MADE Festival which stands for Metropolitan, Arts & Dance Event. Bringing together the very best of Birmingham’s street food scene (Brum is home to the iconic Digbeth Dining Club so this really is something), dance music and the creative community of the city (everything from street and visual artists to designers), MADE has become the city’s most popular summer festival. MADE is now in its third year and takes place at the Rainbow Venues. Running from midday to midnight, performers this year include Chase and Status, Gorgon City and Hannah Wants.
13. SW4 FESTIVAL, CLAPHAM COMMON, LONDON
Date: 26 – 27 AUGUST
Price: £67.50 PER DAY; £118.12 WEEKEND TICKET
2016 headliners: Rudimental, The Chemical Brothers
Taking place over the August bank holiday is the SW4 Festival, now one of the most well respected electronic and dance music festivals in the world and is now at the top of the London clubbing calendar. This year Eric Prydz and deadmau5 head the line up alongside Pendulum and Knife Party.
14. LOVEBOX FESTIVAL, VICTORIA PARK, LONDON
Date: 14 – 15 JULY
Price: £72.25 PER DAY; £126.25 2 DAY TICKET
Lovebox’s 2017 lineup is enough to sell this festival: Frank Ocean, Solange, Sampha, Chase & Status, Rag’n’Bone Man and Jess Glynne are just a few huge names gracing the London-based festival. Split over two days Lovebox has become one of the UK’s most popular festivals thanks to its genre-hopping acts, location and party antics. Plus it has some of the best food stalls seen at a music festival (and we all know how important that is!).
So there you have it, Debut’s top 14 festival guide to Britain’s best and biggest summer festivals. As long as you’re prepared with a life-long supply of baby wipes, multiple layers, wellies and an open mind, festival season will soon enough become your favourite season of the year!