Summer festival guide: UK
Wellies at the ready, it’s time for a festival (or three)! The summer has returned, or at least as much as it ever does in the UK, and with it comes swathes of festivals across the nation, continent and, you guessed it, the world. As per, we’ve trawled through the listings and put together a definitive list of the ones you really need to know about. So biros at the ready, get circling or risk kicking yourself come October...
SULTA SELECTS FLY OPEN AIR
WHILE his penchant for dropping the odd cheesy banger has divided fans online, Denis Sulta is unarguably a top DJ and leading light of the UK scene. Here he curates his own edition of FLY Open Air, inviting a who’s who of house talent: Seth Troxler, Gerd Janson, Jayda G, Or:la and Tom Trago.
LOCATION: Hopetoun House, Edinburgh
DATE: 19th May
STAFF PICK: San Proper — this set could go just about anywhere, so be prepared!
IT’S a place where everyone’s welcome and you can even bring your kids to the rave. There’s plenty of extra-curricular activities, topped off with late-night parties in the woods. Catch Crazy P, Hercules & Love Affair, Man Power, Mr Scruff, Tim Sweeney, Optimo, Fort Romeau and Italojohnson to name a few.
LOCATION: Hop Farm, Kent
DATE: 25th - 27th May
PRICE: £119 - £129
STAFF PICK: DJ Harvey — an epic five-hour set that will take you places.
ALL POINTS EAST
A brand new fest with some serious attitude (read: artists). Björk, LCD Soundsystem, Sampha, Kelela, George FitzGerald live, ABRA, Mr. G live and Shanti Celeste are just a few of the names down for the inauguration, though we really could go on for quite some time...
LOCATION: Victoria Park, London
DATE: 25th - 27th May
STAFF PICK: Despacio — James Murphy and 2ManyDJs perform three days on the trot!
A true family-friendly fest, Shindig sells out super-early every year, with music focused around disco, funk, breaks and the like — keeping it upbeat, essentially. Norman Jay MBE and Radioactive Man are among the highlights, along with Soul II Soul, Rodney P, Luke Solomon, Dub Pistols and Crazy P Soundsystem.
LOCATION: Gilcombe Farm, Somerset
DATE: 25th - 27th May
STAFF PICK: Mr Scruff — the Mancunian selector couldn’t be more perfect in this setting.
LOVE SAVES THE DAY
THIS weird and wonderful Bristol fest is back with yet more impressive production and possibly its best line-up to date. Headliners include the legendary Fatboy Slim and Mercury Prize winner Sampha, while stage hosts include Jackmaster, Percolate, Knee Deep In Sound, Futureboogie, Art’s House and local heroes Just Jack.
LOCATION: Eastville Park, Bristol
DATE: 26th - 27th May
STAFF PICK: Gerd Janson — one half of the pair behind 2017’s best track is a must-see.
NOT only a successful festival but a conference to boot, AVA has quickly become a go-to for those hunting fresh talent. This year features Floorplan, Larry Heard (aka Mr Fingers) live, DVS1, Hunee, Helena Hauff and Job Jobse, and local stars from both sides of the border in Bicep, Saoirse, Or:la and Brame & Hamo.
LOCATION: S13 Warehouse, Belfast
DATE: 1st - 2nd June
STAFF PICK: Sally C — up-and-coming house digger and a sure-fire party-starter.
CONSISTENTLY impressive, Field Day leaves Victoria Park this year, settling south of the river instead — a move that could once and for all remedy the sound problems that have plagued the fest due to its inner city location. Barely Legal, Avalon Emerson, Daniel Avery, Helena Hauff, Donna Leake, NAO, Thundercat and Tzusing are billed.
LOCATION: Brockwell Park, London
DATE: 1st - 2nd June
STAFF PICK: Erykah Badu — who else were we really going to pick?
FOLLOWING on from a wildly successful debut in 2017, 24 Kitchen Street and Abandon Silence join forces again for the Baltic Weekender. The line-up is solid as they come with Helena Hauff, Kenny Dope, Leon Vynehall, Objekt, DJ Marky, Romare live, Dan Shake and Chimpo b2b Sam Binga.
LOCATION: Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
DATE: 1st - 3rd June
STAFF PICK: Umfang — take-no-prisoners techno from the New Yorker.
INNER CITY ELECTRONIC
MUSIC, masterclasses and art come together with names like Floating Points, Avalon Emerson, Dopplereffekt, Andrew Weatherall, Peggy Gou, Radioactive Man, Dimensions Soundsystem and Bobby Pleasure at this new multi-venue city festival curated by 2020 Vision’s Ralph Lawson.
LOCATION: multiple venues, Leeds
DATE: 2nd June
STAFF PICK: Central Processing Unit — perhaps the UK’s best electro label now available in DJ format.
YOU won’t find many people who’ve been to Gottwood who don’t return every single year. Unsurprising really, when they consistently offer acts such as Ben UFO, Andrew Weatherall, Hunee, Special Request, Avalon Emerson, Enzo Siragusa, DMX Krew and Rival Consoles, alongside a vibe that instantly makes you feel like one of the clan.
LOCATION: Gottwood Forest, Anglesey
DATE: 7th - 10th June
PRICE: £165 - £175
STAFF PICK: Saoirse — one of the most skilled and unpredictable selectors on the circuit.
IN just two years, Junction 2 has become a rm favourite, with its mainstage underneath the M4 motorway already becoming an iconic location. This year sees back-to-backs from Adam Beyer and Carl Cox, Sonja Moonear and Nicolas Lutz, and six hours of Dixon and Âme. Plus Nina Kraviz, Len Faki, Maya Jane Coles...
LOCATION: Boston Manor Park, London
DATE: 9th June
STAFF PICK: LSD — Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and Function. ‘Nough said.
THIS Mancunian staple is always strong, but this year the line-up looks better than ever. N.E.R.D headline, as does Skepta, while further down the pack the talent includes Green Velvet, The Black Madonna, Peggy Gou, Solardo, Earl Sweatshirt, Shanti Celeste and Jackmaster.
LOCATION: Heaton Park, Manchester
DATE: 9th - 10th June
STAFF PICK: Levelz — seeing this loony local crew at home will be something very special.
FROM the team behind Bliss elds (in case you hadn’t guessed already), Blisscamp has lined up a solid offering of drum & bass, breaks, disco and more. Norman Jay MBE and Justin Robertson are strong pulls and festival favourites Dub Pistols are set to perform too. Expect fun, family- friendly vibes!
LOCATION: Vicarage Farm, Winchester, Hampshire
DATE: 5th - 8th July
STAFF PICK: Gold Panda — electronica whizz and rightful headliner.
NOW expanded over Sunday for the first time, one of our favourite boutique fests boasts an even more discerning line-up, with Hunee, Mount Kimbie, DJ Stingray, Shanti Celeste, Call Super, Zenker Brothers, Interstellar Funk and Kelly Lee Owens just a few of those you’ll definitely want to catch in action.
LOCATION: Bygrave Woods, Hertfordshire
DATE: 5th - 8th July
STAFF PICK: Lena Willikens — marrying eclecticism with ruthless dancefloor energy.
A boutique favourite, Noisily caters for a free-spirited crowd, packing wellness sessions, psychedelic art and the acquired taste that is psy-trance. Elsewhere there’s plenty of top-notch d&b and breaks too from Roni Size, Stanton Warriors, Black Sun Empire and Rockwell, while Patrice Baumel and John ‘00’ Fleming take a more four-four route.
LOCATION: Noseley Hall, Leicestershire
DATE: 5th - 8th July
STAFF PICK: Logistics — Hospital Records staple with a wicked new album of material to explore.
MOVING to a new location in 2018 will hopefully help x the sound issues Lovebox has suffered with over the years, especially when the line-up includes Skepta, Childish Gambino, Wu-Tang Clan, N.E.R.D, Bicep (live), Action Bronson, Green Velvet, Floorplan, Saoirse and Peggy Gou.
LOCATION: Gunnersbury Park, London
DATE: 13th - 14th July
STAFF PICK: The Internet — catch this hip-hop band at the first opportunity.
THE BEAT-HERDER FESTIVAL
REVERED duo Orbital, Soulwax, Patrick Topping and Denis Sulta headline this Northern boutique spesh. Serious talent is everywhere on the line- up, which also boasts Erol Alkan, Ben Sims, Sam Divine, High Contrast, Ibibio Sound Machine, James Ruskin, Mr Scruff and Mella Dee.
LOCATION: The Ribble Valley, Lancashire
DATE: 13th - 15th July
PRICE: £137.50 - £150
STAFF PICK: Jamz Supernova — eyes out for the fast-rising BBC Radio 1Xtra host.
COCOON IN THE PARK
CELEBRATING a decade since Papa Sven first set up his day-long summer bonanza in Leeds, this year’s event will be more than a teeny bit special. Along with Apollonia and Tale Of Us, the bossman also brings in a triple threat of Fuse talent with Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton and Rossko all going b2b2b.
LOCATION: Temple Newsam, Leeds
DATE: 14th July
STAFF PICK: Seth Troxler b2b Craig Richards — two titans going head-to-head. Yes please!
SCIENCE meets music: artists such as Little Dragon, The Chems, Gilles Peterson, Nabihah Iqbal, The Orb, Gary Numan and George FitzGerald (live), speakers like Richard Dawkins, and lectures, panels and lms on space, tech and nature combine at this future-friendly fest.
LOCATION: Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire
DATE: 19th - 22nd July
STAFF PICK: The Blue Planet In Concert — The Hallé Orchestra perform live with footage from the original BBC series.
NOZSTOCK: THE HIDDEN VALLEY
CELEBRATING 20 years in 2018, our favourite Herefordshire fest returns with Chase & Status, Goldfrapp, DJ Marky and hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash. Plus DJ Mag Bunker will be teaming up with Metalheadz to present an all- star d&b line-up. Muddy mayhem with a family- friendly atmosphere and local beer — top-notch!
LOCATION: Bromyard, Herefordshire
DATE: 20th - 22nd July
PRICE: £125 - £135
STAFF PICK: Dillinja — drum & bass royalty, over at the Bunker stage, obvs.
BRISTOL bass extravaganza held outside Motion featuring three stages hosted by labels Critical Music, Deep Medi x Bandulu and local promotion powerhouse The Blast. Spread across these are the likes of Noisia, Mala, Rejjie Snow, Chimpo, Kahn & Neek, Ivy Lab, Mefjus, Sam Binga and Hi5ghost.
LOCATION: Avon Street, Bristol
DATE: 21st July
PRICE: £25 - £30
STAFF PICK: Commodo & Rocks FOE — dubstep vet + up-and-coming MC = win!
ROB Da Bank’s much-loved festival returns to the greenfields of Dorset. They have a wacky dress- up theme in store which keeps it colourful, as well as inviting some of the biggest acts around. This year Grace Jones, Amelie Lens, Bicep, Jorja Smith, Honey Dijon and Denis Sulta will be performing at the heritage Castle.
LOCATION: Lulworth Estate, Dorset
DATE: 2nd - 5th August
STAFF PICK: So Solid Crew, Wookie & Matt Jam Lamont — UK garage fans rejoice!
HOLD tight for a day of reminiscing your favourite house classics, in a eld, across six stages. What more could you ask for? The line-up is a transatlantic affair including Masters At Work, Danny Krivit, Derrick May, Todd Terry, Joe Claussell and François K. Time to go back to the roots...
LOCATION: Trent Country Park, London
DATE: 4th August
STAFF PICK: India (live) — plenty of classic singalongs guaranteed!
CORNWALL’S nest is back! Hit the best waves in the UK for a surf session and check out some of the biggest names on the festival circuit, including megastars The Chemical Brothers, grime don Kano, Annie Mac, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Bicep, Booka Shade, Skream and Denis Sulta. Which way’s the beach?
LOCATION: Trebelsue Farm, Newquay, Cornwall
DATE: 8th - 12th August
PRICE: £169 - £194
STAFF PICK: Or:la — don’t miss our 2017 Best Of British awards Breakthrough DJ winner.
IT would take a whole magazine to list everyone playing at the immersive megafest that is Boomtown this year, so here’s a few highlights just to whet your appetite: Gorillaz, DJ Zinc b2b Eats Everything b2b Special Request, Denis Sulta, Honey Dijon, Foreign Beggars, The Herbaliser, Kings Of The Rollers, Romare (full live band)...
LOCATION: Winchester, Hampshire
DATE: 9th - 12th August
STAFF PICK: Teklife Showcase
ART’S HOUSE FESTIVAL
BILLED as “a lovely London festival”, Artwork’s latest Art’s House endeavour ups the ante following his XOYO residency and Best Club Night win at our Best Of British awards 2017. The man himself is joined by “his holiness” DJ Harvey, and there’ll be all sorts of wacky decoration and oddball bits to get up to we’re sure.
LOCATION: Three Mills Island, London
DATE: 11th August
PRICE: £25 - £50
STAFF PICK: Artwork — who knows what he’ll pull out of the bag for this...
ELROW TOWN LONDON
TICKETS to Saturday’s event with Paul Kalkbrenner and co. have already sold out, but fear not: Sunday tix are still available for a headline show from Fatboy Slim, which will see Elrow’s Sambodromo do Brasil and Psychedelic Trip themes combined with Fatboy’s own eye-popping production! Confetti, anyone?
LOCATION: Olympic Park, London
DATE: 18th - 19th August
PRICE: £37.50 - £52.50
STAFF PICK: Fatboy Slim — do we really need to explain this one?
NESTLED away in the woods and with a strong emphasis on costume and performance to create a spellbinding experience, Lost Village backs up the weirdness and wonderful surrounds with acts such as Four Tet, 2ManyDJs, tINI, Molly, Horse Meat Disco, Awesome Tapes From Africa, DJ Harvey and Peggy Gou.
DATE: 23rd - 26th August
STAFF PICK: Ibibio Sound Machine — high energy synth-infused Afro-funk.
READING & LEEDS FESTIVAL
THIS double-header is a staple on the UK circuit, famously swapping line-ups each day. While primarily known for rock and indie offerings, R&L’s electronic offerings shouldn’t be ignored: Skepta, Bicep live, Annie Mac, Pendulum, AJ Tracey and Diplo feature this year.
LOCATION: Richfield Avenue, Reading & Bramham Park, Leeds
DATE: 24th - 26th August
STAFF PICK: Kendrick Lamar — probably the best hip-hop artist on the planet right now.
Festival run by longstanding Northern Irish party starters Jika Jika!. Having scored some cool names like Green Velvet, Stef , Charlotte de Witte, Patrick Topping, Denis Sulta, Octave One (live) and Louisahhh, this will certainly be a launch to remember and a strong basis to build on next year.
LOCATION: Ebrington Square, Derry
DATE: 25th - 26th August
PRICE: £55 - £65
STAFF PICK: Willow — a young selector with a rep for solid techno selections.
SOUTH WEST FOUR
YEAR in year out, SW4 consistently books the biggest names in dance music. One of the few UK fests to offer EDM, this year sees Marshmello and Armin Van Buuren headline on Saturday, while Sunday’s bass bonanza nds Chase & Status live, DJ EZ and Andy C at the top of the pile.
LOCATION: Clapham Common, London
DATE: 25th - 26th August
PRICE: £107.50 - £125
STAFF PICK: Coco Cole — don’t miss the My House, Pacha resident on home turf.
WITH One Tribe festival taking a fallow year, the team focus in on their other event Audio Farm. This year boasts Blawan, DJ Sneak and Special Request amongst others — and as it’s a non-pro t event raising money for animal welfare charity, Green Paw Project, we really can’t see any reason not to go.
LOCATION: Hopton Court, Shropshire
DATE: 30th August - 3rd September
STAFF PICK: Dan Shake — last year’s ‘Shakes On A Plane’ EP is more than enough reason.
TINY by today’s standards at just 700 people, Field Maneuvers is the ultimate boutique festival, with attendees said to feel more like family than festival-goers. The music isn’t half bad either, with Shanti Celeste, Dr. Rubinstein, rRoxymore, Jane Fitz, Violet amongst the talent announced so far.
LOCATION: Near London
DATE: 31st August - 2nd September
PRICE: £199 - £129
STAFF PICK: Elena Colombi — one of DJ Mag’s Ones To Watch in 2018.
HOSPITALITY IN THE PARK
THE UK’s only d&b-led fest just gets better and better. High Contrast live, Kings Of The Rollers, dBridge b2b Nu:Tone, classics sets from Breakage and LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Ocean Wisdom live, Mefjus b2b Calyx & Teebee and sooo much more. Plus the Med School warehouse will be back and bigger than ever!
LOCATION: Finsbury Park, London
DATE: 22nd September
STAFF PICK: Mantra b2b Djinn — brace yourself for a junglist onslaught!
IT’S still a bit early in the year for news on Nic Fanciulli’s annual get-together, which turns six this year. Judging by the fact Nina Kraviz, Carl Cox, Helena Hauff, Black Coffee and The Martinez Brothers all played last time, however, we can safely assume 2018 will be another massive year.
LOCATION: Kent County Showground, Maidstone, Kent
STAFF PICK: Nic Fanciulli — we’re pretty sure he’ll be on the line-up...
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