Top 5: UK Summer Festivals
With the summer months almost upon us, we're busy hyping ourselves up for a jam packed festival season. We've already rounded up our Top 5: London Summer Festivals and have been routinely blasting our Field Day and All Points East playlists, but now's the time for us to get our heads out of the city and go national. With that in mind, here are the 5 UK festivals we can't wait for this year.
What: Festival No. 6
Where: Portmeirion, Wales
When: 6th – 9th September
Wanna go to a festival set in one of Lonely Planet’s: The Best 500 Places On The Planet, and which Beck called ‘the coolest, most surrealist, funkiest, freakiest, best festival in the world’? Yeah, we thought so. Festival No. 6 takes place in the Grade II listed fantasy village of Portmeirion in Snowdonia, Wales, and its organisers do everything they can to bring that fantastical feel to every element of the weekend. You can sleep in a castle or a cottage, a boutique tipi or a tent, watch The The, Anna Calvi, The Horrors, Gengahr by day and DJs in the Tangled Woods or on the floating dancefloor in the middle of the Chinese Lake by night. Maybe you want to see an intimate spoken word performance in the Dome Art Gallery? Or fill your weekend with screenings, performance art, installations, talks, cabaret and comedy? Festival No. 6 truly has something for everyone.
Where: Houghton Hall, Norfolk
When: 9th – 12th August
In just one year Houghton Festival has become one of the most highly anticipated events of the calendar year. Staged at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, this is the brainchild of DJ extraordinaire Craig Richards. Richards plays almost every Saturday at Fabric, regularly B2Bs with the greats and is known for his lengthy, expansive, genre-spanning sets. It’s no surprise then that even on the Houghton website a message states: ‘Spontaneous back-to-back sets will be encouraged and longer DJ sets will be the norm.’ Last year’s success was down to Richards’ meticulous planning of bespoke sound systems, innovative and intimate stage design and a 24-hour approach to music. Houghton appears to be the gift that keeps on giving so expect big things for this years edition. It may have sold out but keep your eyes peeled on the Resident Advisor website because you might get lucky.
Where: Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum, East Sussex
When: 13th – 15th July
Now in their 7th Year, Brainchild is celebration of all things indie. Set up by a group of university friends, Brainchild have ditched the big-name sponsors and the VIP areas in favour of a smaller community get together celebrating art, music, spoken word, film, theatre and so much more. Unsurprisingly, this commitment and championing of creative practices has not gone unnoticed and Brainchild has been crowned Winners of the AIM Award for Best Independent Festival twice already! Over 300 artists contribute to the programme each year and whether you want to take part in important conversations, admire the interdisciplinary art installations or dance the weekend away the atmosphere is warm, open and relaxed. This year’s line-up features: 30/ 70, Emma-Jean Thackray’s Walrus, Harri Pepper, Jam led by Ahnansé, Laura Misch, Skin Deep Sonic Transmissions: Shabaka Hutchings and many more.
What: Larmer Tree
Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury
When: 19th – 22nd July
With the multitude of new festivals always popping up all over the country, it’s great to have a few stalwarts keeping the game strong. After a year-long hiatus, the magical Larmer Tree is back for its 27th year. It’s an intimate and eccentric summer party, remaining small by choice and saying no to outside sponsorship, which leaves them free to do basically whatever they want. For three days and four nights, they present enough live music (including First Aid Kit, Tune-Yards, Roo Panes and Goat Girl), outdoor theatre, art, comedy, and workshops to fill to your hearts content. As if all that wasn’t enough, this year they’re introducing the Larmer Spa in The Wilds, a new space to retreat and relax in their wood fired hot tub, take part in a sound path, or enjoy a massage. If you’re not so into the thought of returning from a festival feeling like you’ve knocked years off your life, Larmer Tree is the one for you.
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester
When: 9th – 10th June
Steeped in musical history, Heaton Park has played host to legendary concerts by The Stone Roses and Oasis, was at the centre of the ‘Madchester’ scene and can now add no-holds-barred city festival Parklife to its CV. True to form, Parklife’s lineup is a little ridiculous. The sheer abundance of artists means you will leave absolutely knackered but hey, that’s kind of the point. Taking place over two days (no camping), the likes of The xx, Liam Gallagher, Skepta, N.E.R.D, Lorde, Bonobo, J Hus, Four Tet, Sampha, Carl Cox, The Black Madonna, Sigrid and Bicep are set to take the stage, and that’s not even 10% of the extraordinary talent on offer. Two days at Parklife means you don’t have to see any other bands, djs or musicians for the rest of the year.