UK music festivals are renowned around the globe for their creativity and their clout in capturing the coolest acts around. They also form one of the most saturated music festival markets in the world.
- TOP 50: The Best Music Festivals in the World 2018
- Top 15 Music Festivals in the USA
- What to Wear to a Festival: Ultimate A-Z for 2018
- Top 20 Music Festivals in Europe
- Top 10 Electronic Music Festivals in the UK
Festival lineup (2017): Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Ed Sheeran, The xx, alt-J, Boy Better Know, Solange, Major Lazer
The clear standout from this list, Glastonbury sets the bar when it comes to worldwide music festivals. It hosts the biggest names in music on its famous Pyramid Stage, but it's the other side of Glastonbury that really sets it apart.
Take a stroll through Shangri-La – the festival's night time district – and you'll be thrown into a themed world full of immersive theatre and shenanigans, soundtracked by electronic music's finest and underground names.
Or just up the path there's Arcadia, the sprawling spider-like, flame-throwing structure, open to only the most hardcore ravers, or the more cosier circus and cabaret field, where some of the country's best comedians come together with drag queens and trapeze magicians.
When & where: 26-30 June 2019, Pilton
Festival lineup (2018): Gorillaz, Die Antwoord, Limp Bizkit, Enter Shikari, Shy FX, Soul II Soul, Maribou State, Sleaford Mods
A boiling pot of vibrancy, theatre, fantasy, escapism and camaraderie, Boomtown Fair is a hub of diverse and non-commercialised musical movements whose roots stretch far and wide. Consisting of nine districts with a different emphasis, you may be chilling to some folk one minute, and then travelling at 180 BPM to some drum & bass the next.
When & where: 7-11 August 2019, Winchester
Festival lineup (2018): Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Adam Beyer, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Alesso, Major Lazer
Dance brand Cream has become a global superstar, taking its legendary parties across continents; and yet it all began as an offshoot from Liverpool's Cream nightclub.
Now in Daresbury, Creamfields attracts tens of thousands every year seeking to party to the finest names in dance, along with immense visuals, lighting and pyrotechnics. Joined by a devoted following, Creamfields continues to shape the dance scene as we know it.
When & where: 22-25 August 2019, Daresbury
Festival lineup (2018): Childish Gambino, N.E.R.D, Skepta, SZA, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Annie Mac, Bonobo, Wu-Tang Clan
London’s beat lovers, freaks and hipsters convene for an annual party created by Groove Armada. A colourful mix of dance dons, rock gods, vintage markets, bespoke bars and fairground tides, Lovebox is a carousel of creativity.
When & where: July 2019, London
Festival lineup (2018): M.I.A., London Grammar, Silk City (Diplo & Mark Ronson), Grace Jones, Plan B, Chaka Khan, Mura Masa, First Aid Kit
The UK’s much lauded, award-winning boutique fiesta has as many forms of silliness and absurdity as it does musical performers – and there’s around 1,000 of them. With legendary late night mischief, pianos popping up in the woods, lit up lakesides, mass fancy dress, along with poetry, theatre, comedy and plenty more to discover, the only thing you’ll struggle with is fitting it all in.
When & where: August 2019, Lulworth Castle
Festival lineup (2018): Rick Astley, Clean Bandit, Simple Minds, Basement Jaxx, Orbital, Shed Seven, Undertones, Declan McKenna
With all the playful nonsense of its naughty older sister event Bestival, Camp Bestival offers the same novelty of fancy dress and late night silliness, but with a twist: it’s completely family friendly.
Taking place in a beautiful English castle, it has everything from medieval jousting to face painting with music, comedy and poets hand-picked by Rob da Bank.
When & where: 25-28 July 2019, Lulworth Castle
Festival lineup (2018): The Killers, Solange, alt-J, The Vaccines, Wolf Alice, Rag'n'Bone Man, Jessie Ware, Belle & Sebastian
Taking over the idyllic English countryside, Latitude is, as its tagline proclaims, much more than just a music festival. With DJs hidden in the woods, colourful sheep roaming the tufty fields, opera on the lake, film debuts in its onsite cinema, clowns under canvas, actors treading the boards, local ales, dance troupes and a huge children’s area, there's something to keep whatever age entertained. Oh, and there’s a full programme of music too.
When & where: 18-21 July 2019, Southwold
Festival lineup (2018): Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Chemical Brothers, George Ezra, Kano, Years & Years, Rag'n'Bone Man, Lilly Allen, Annie Mac
Hidden amongst the swell and sunshine of the south-west coast of England, Boardmasters mixes the best boarders in the world – whether they’re surfers or skaters – with BMX kings, and soundtracks the action with dance dons, folk stars, and pop favourites.
With cliff-top sessions and surf shack shows, it's only a cocktail short of the best weekend of the year. Ready to make your Instagram followers jealous?
When & where: 7-11 August 2019, Newquay
Festival lineup (2018): Ozzy Osbourne, Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N' Roses, Bullet For My Valentine, Marilyn Manson, Black Stone Cherry, You Me At Six, Parkway Drive
Probably the most prestigious hard rock and heavy metal festival in the world, Download took over from the legendary Monsters of Rock Festival at Derby's Donington Park.
Its three days packed full of the biggest names from the 70s right up to the newest generation, and if the heavier end of the spectrum is your thing then Download will take a heck of a lot of beating.
When & where: 14-16 June 2019, Derby
Festival lineup (2018): Ricardo Villalobos, Andrew Weatherall, Ben UFO, Helena Hauff, Craig Richards, Midland, Mr. Scruff, Seth Troxler
Few festivals – if any – make as remarkable an impression after only two editions as Houghton Festival has. Curated by British electronic music veteran Craig Richards and produced by another firm favourite Gottwood, the festival's first two events have won praise on basically all counts – lineup, scheduling, sound quality, location, atmosphere. Let's hope they can keep it up.
When & where: August 2019, Houghton
South West Four
Festival lineup (2018): Marshmello, Chase & Status, Armin van Buuren, Dizzee Rascal, Craig David, Andy C, Galantis, Kungs
If London ever needed an extra club, South West Four is it. And what a club it is. Forget those tasteless, champagne with sparklers joints, this is an open-air party palace that sorts out the essentials first: music, music and more music.
A coming together of the EDM world, their understudies, and up-and-comings stars, the four stages of house, techno, minimal, trance and electronica will fill your ears for the evening, before you head out to one of the countless after parties.
When & where: 24-25 August 2019, London
Green Man Festival
Festival lineup (2018): The War On Drugs, Fleet Foxes, John Grant, Grizzly Bear, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Dirty Projectors, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels
As far as festival locations go, Green Man Festival takes in the might of the UK’s landscape with its backdrop of the Brecon Beacons’ Black Mountains in Wales, and the folk-led lineup fits it perfectly.
Hidden in the hills are 1,500 performers to discover across the comedy, theatre and literary worlds, complimented by the host local ales and ciders on offer, and the various spas and therapies to nurse away those hangovers.
When & where: 15-18 August 2019, Brecon Beacons
Isle of Wight Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Kasabian, Depeche Mode, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Camila Cabello, Manic Street Preachers, Chase & Status, Nile Rodgers & Chic
The reincarnation of one of the UK’s first ever festivals continues to pull in the world’s biggest guitar slingers and the hottest craftsmen and women from pop and electronic genres.
Born in 1968 and still rocking out strong 50 years later, IoW has lived through decades of musical and cultural change, always staying relevant and incredibly popular.
When & where: 13-16 June 2019, Isle of Wight
- Isle of Wight Festival: A History in Photos
- Isle of Wight Festival: We Look Back at Five Legendary Sets
Reading & Leeds Festivals
Festival lineup (2018): Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Travis Scott, Post Malone, Courteeners, Wolf Alice
Reading and Leeds are the type of riotous events that Bank Holidays are made for, providing a platform for rising and established indie bands, metal groups, next generation dance, hip hop and alternative pop acts. If they ain’t playing here, they ain’t worth seeing.
When & where: 23-25 August 2019, Reading & Leeds
We Are FSTVL
Festival lineup (2018): Andy C, Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, Marco Carola, DJ EZ, Seth Troxler, Loco Dice, Jamie Jones
With its Best Medium-Sized Festival prize still gleaming from its gantries, We Are FSTVL continues to go from strength to strength, with even more colour and more incredible EDM masters.
Try its 16 stages, 200 DJs, stylised stages and VIP arena with bubbling hot tubs, spa treatments, gourmet food and champagne bars for a weekend (and hangover) you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
When & where: 24-26 May 2019, London
Festival lineup (2018): Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, Craig David, Years & Years, James Bay, Bastille, Rag'n'Bone Man, Plan B
Taking up the reigns from Virgin's V Festival, RiZE Festival jumps from classic indie and pop to urban and dance with bags full of energy and excitement.
After a thrilling debut in 2018, 2019 sees the festival return, looking to push on and take things to an even higher level.
When & where: August 2019, Chelmsford
Festival lineup (2018): Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, Queen + Adam Lambert, The Script, Interpol, The Courteeners
Started as a replacement for T in the Park, the city centre event includes all the revelry of a traditional music festival, but also gives festival-goers the chance to explore the city's bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cultural attractions.
When & where: 12-14 July 2019, Glasgow
Festival lineup (2018): The xx, Liam Gallagher, Skepta, N.E.R.D, Lorde, Bonobo, A$AP Rocky, Justice
Parklife Festival is one of the UK's most popular and famous weekend music festivals, laying on a programme of diverse and cutting-edge music inside Manchester's Heaton Park.
Curated by a number of the UK's most renowned clubbing brands, the weekender has rubber stamped its position at the very front of the country's dance music scene.
When & where: 8-9 June 2019, Manchester
Festival lineup (2018): Chic & Nile Rodgers, Bastille, Jon Hopkins, Justice, Groove Armada, Kamasi Washington, !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Peggy Gou
If there’s one thing Britain’s festivals do brilliantly, it’s boutique bashes. One of the more posh and pretty gatherings in the event calendar, Oxfordshire’s Wilderness Festival is the type of place where you can watch a bona fide legend on the stage, enjoy a banquet feast, a science lecture, soak in a hot tub, and watch a one man performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
When & where: 1-4 August 2019, Charlbury
Festival lineup (2018): J. Cole, Stormzy, DJ Khaled & Friends, Giggs, Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd, Migos, French Montana
Wireless is not quite bigger than hip-hop, but it's certainly getting that way. This supafly soiree is the best chance to see a line up of urban legends, leaning heavily on the side of rap, grime, hip-hop and R&B.
Pair that with fairground rides, chill out areas, bars and artists singing booths to keep days filled, and you'll begin to understand why this is the only UK date this pedigree of rap stars book in advance.
When & where: July 2019, London
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