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Top 10: Rock Music Festivals in the UK

Top 10: Rock Music Festivals in the UK

The UK and rock music is a marriage that goes back generations. Think The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Clash, Smiths, Oasis and nowadays the Arctic Monkeys, and you've got a set of bands that weren't just genre defining, but moulders of global rock culture itself.

The same applies to the UK's abundance of music festivals. From Reading and Leeds to Download, Tramlines and Isle of Wight, the country's rock-centric festivals are the place to experience certified rock gods and discover Europe's best up-and-coming artists. 

Here's our roundup of the best.

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Reading & Leeds

Headliners (2017): Kasabian, Eminem, Muse

Historically the UK's oldest music festival, first held in 1961 under the name National Jazz Festival, Reading quickly became a haven for rock music fans: so much so that the flags and banners of Motorcycle groups were a traditional part of the event.

And since expanding to Leeds in 1999 it has made the August bank holiday its own, continuing to be one of the UK's foremost and diverse music festivals.

When & Where: 24-26 August 2018, Reading and Leeds

Festicket Guides: Reading | Leeds / Join 2018 Waiting Lists: Reading | Leeds


Headliners: Ozzy Osbourne, Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N' Roses

The pinnacle of the UK's metal scene, Download is a chance for rock and metal fans to mosh in the company of global stars – Black Sabbath, Muse and Iron Maiden have all made Donnington Park a favoured destination – while also discovering the genre's best breakthrough talent.

All that amongst a surreal inflatable Wedding Chapel, the bizarre and brave Circus of Horrors and musical comedy.

When & Where: 8-10 June 2018, Derby

Festicket Guide / Book Download Festival 2018


Headliners: Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, The Killers

Stepping into the void left by T in the Park, TRNSMT steps up to the task with an enviable trio of headliners that have made the festival the talk of Scotland.

Held on Glasgow Green in the city's east end, festival-goers will also have the chance to experience Glasgow's thriving nightlife, bars and restaurants after the main festival finishes each evening.

When & Where: 29 June - 1 July & 6-8 July 2018 2018, Glasgow

Festicket Guide / Book TRNSMT Festival 2018


Headliners (2017): Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Ed Sheeran

Possibly the UK's most famous music festival, Glastonbury sells out within minutes each year without releasing a single artist.

Having built up an unrivalled reputation and the ability to attract literally any musician in the world, it's no wonder its lineups are continually filled with rockstars of all shapes and sizes.

When & Where: 26-30 June 2019, Pilton

Festicket Guide / Join Mailing List


Headliners (2017): The Libertines, Primal Scream, Metronomy

Sheffield is a city steeped in rock music history: Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Def Leppard and many more originated from the industrial northern city. Likewise its venues are filled with photos of fresh faced international bands performing on their sweat-laden stages.

And now its premier music festival is playing its part in Sheffield's musical history, bringing together a selection of local promoters, organisation and venues for a weekend of rock and indie, with sprinkles of hip-hop, house and more on top.

When & Where: 20-22 July 2018, Sheffield

Festicket Guide / Join 2018 Waiting List

Liverpool Sound City

Headliners: Peace, Idles, Jaws

Another city with a rich musical history is Liverpool. Although famed as the birthplace to The Beatles, the city has produced a number of other great rock bands over the years. Simply put: Liverpool loves and knows its music.

And every May its streets buzz with the hum of Sound City. The music festival and conference mixes old-school rock favourites such as The Human League and John Cale with today's indie-boppers like Slaves and Metronomy. 

When & Where: 5-6 May 2018, Liverpool

Festicket Guide / Book Liverpool Sound City 2018

Isle of Wight

Headliner: Kasabian, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Liam Gallagher

The Isle of Wight Festival once attracted enough people for the UK Parliament to pass an act banning its existence. They may have stopped the festival, but its soul lived on and was the inspiration for many others.

And when it finally returned in 2002 under the name Rock Island, the country's answer to Woodstock began its ascent back to the top of the game, welcoming the likes of David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Rolling Stones along the way.

When & Where: 21-24 June 2017, Isle of Wight

Festicket Guide / Book Isle of Wight Festival 2018


Headliners (2017): The 1975, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes

Lacking the hard-edge of some of the others on this list, Latitude is a more refined affair. Popular amongst families and those after more than just music, the weekender offers lakeside theatre, woodland comedy, interactive art installations, talks and lectures alongside its indie-centric music lineup.

When & Where: 12-15 July 2018, Southwold

Festicket Guide / Join 2018 Waiting List

The Great Escape

Headliners: Stereo Honey, The Orielles, Sam Fender

Those keen to keep their finger on the UK's underground pulse should look no further than The Great Escape.

Not only does the festival take place in the hip, coastal city of Brighton, the music festival and conference is all about unearthing the best up-and-coming talent, showcasing hundreds of unsigned artists across the city's best music venues, bars, pop-up stages and even street corners. 

Its conference is also the place to hear industry insights from a variety of labels, publications and companies, as well as artists.

When & Where: 17-19 May 2018, Brighton

Festicket Guide / Book The Great Escape 2018

Dot to Dot

Headliners (2017): Sundara Karma, Amber Run, The Growlers

Another famed for booking international artists before they made it – The xx, The 1975, Mumford & Sons – is Dot to Dot.

Split across Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham over three days, but each with the same lineup, the festival takes over a selection of venues in each city, filling them with its lineup of innovative and exciting breakthrough acts.

When & Where: May 2018, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham

Festicket Guides: Manchester | Bristol | Nottingham / Join 2018 Waiting Lists: Manchester | Bristol | Nottingham

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