House is still topping the UK charts; the EDM beast is mutating and consuming every thing in its path. Never before has there been so many dance festivals happening on a single weekend. Despite slowing a little last year, new ones are popping up like tents in 2015. With new locations all over the world coming to light all the time, ravers now face a headache — before as well as after — as choosing which one to shed a load of cash is getting harder every year. Thank the rave lords above, then, for this! DJ Mag's yearly Festival Guide...
Southport Weekender isn't a festival, it's a movement. A 28-year-old national institute bound together by various tribes sharing one vibe, this soulful three-day event mastered the holiday camp formula long before Bloc or Bugged Out! had a look in. Now in its 52nd edition after running bi-annually for many years, news came last month that the event will open its doors for one final time this month. Sad news, indeed, especially considering the intensely loyal following it has procured during its legacy spanning almost an entire generation. Cheeky rudeboys, funk-soul brothers, veteran crate-diggers, glam girls...Southport's many fans may vary in shape, size and colour, but they're all united by one thing; love for classy, heartfelt house and disco music, always with funk and plenty of soul. To say Southport Weekender will be sorely missed is an understatement.
WHEN? 8th - 10th May
WHERE? Butlins, Minehead
HOW MUCH? £215
HIGHLIGHTS? Masters At Work, Kings of House (Louie Vega, David Morales & Tony Humphries), Kerri Chandler, Black Coffee, Deetron, Seven Davis Jr, DJ EZ, Mistajam, Nightmares On Wax, Henrik Schwarz, Chez Damier, Bontan, Marcellus Pittman, Joey Negro and more...
LOVE SAVES THE DAY
Bristol is one of Britain's leading cities for dance music and, boy, is that reflected in this two-day party in a park. Originally associated with soundsystem culture and birthplace to trip-hop legends like Massive Attack and Tricky, this town has really embraced house music in recent years. As a result, bass music, straight house and techno — from Bristol and abroad — are represented on a line-up stretching over six stages, hosted by the city's top club brands (In:Motion, Futureboogie, Apex, Just Jack, Shambarber, Crack Magazine). Bringing enough sparkle to bring out Bristol's super cool students in droves, this year it moves from the city centre location it occupied for its first two years (Castle Park) to a more suburban location by a lake (Eastville Park) in 2015. Love Saves the Day ain't going away!
WHEN? 23rd – 24th May
WHERE? Eastville Park, Bristol
HOW MUCH? £45/£79.50
HIGHLIGHTS? Groove Armada, Julio Bashmore, Jackmaster, David Rodigan, Tale of Us, Leon Vynehall, Âme, DJ EZ, George Fitzgerald, Hannah Wants, Four Tet, Erol Alkan, Daniel Avery, Jessie Ware, Dyed Soundorom, Redlight, Patrick Topping, Waifs & Strays, Gorgon City, Gotsome, Disciples, Bodhi, John Barera, Will Martin, Soundstream & more...
WE ARE FSTVL
If size matters, this two-day dance spectacle in Upminster is the Holy frickin' Grail. Quantity as well as quality is the MO of We Are FSTVL, a festival that had to programme big-name DJs from 9am to fit them all in. Once again, they've rounded up the big guns with very little discrimination when it comes to dance genre. House (Defected, Area 10, Paradise), techno (Cocoon, Used + Abused), garage (What Hannah Wants), d&b (Hospitality) and EDM (We Are FSTVL Main Stage) all sit side-by-side on the same bill across tents, big-tops and stages built of freight containers. Built to attract every man and his dog (and his cat too) with a bill of unbeatable bookings over the space of a single weekend, there's something for everyone. But if stylish boutique little dance-offs are more your thing, this FSTVL on an airfield in Essex is not for you.
WHEN? 30th May – 31st May
WHERE? Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster, Essex
HOW MUCH? £57.50+/£110+
HIGHLIGHTS? Carl Cox, Loco Dice, Hannah Wants, Masters At Work, Sven Väth, DJ EZ, Jamie Jones, Marco Carola, Claude VonStroke, MK, Heidi, Ricardo Villalobos, Ten Walls, Jackmaster, Hot Since 82 and more...
Taking place in a private wooded glen in the heart of the UK Midlands, Lost Village festival lives up to its title. Boasting four specially designed stages in line with its secretive theme — including The Forgotten Cabin, The Abandoned Chapel, The Lost Village Basecamp and The Ruins — the festival's line-up boasts a bunch of DJ favourites from the BBC Radio 1 clique, including festival headliner Annie Mac, plus a slew of selectors direct from the UK underground. The debut festival event for Moda Black bosses Jaymo and Andy George, Lost Village will also welcome several live acts to its secret forest location — think Fickle Friends, Roosevelt and London favourite, Tourist — making this is one trippy woodland adventure you won't want to miss!
WHERE? Secret location, Lincolnshire
WHEN? 23rd - 24th May
HOW MUCH? £118
HIGHLIGHTS? Annie Mac, DJ Koze, Tale of Us, Jamie Jones, Four Tet, Dusky, Heidi, Jackmaster, John Talabot, Kölsch, IYES, Arkon Fly, Fickle Friends, Roosevelt, Tourist.
Park up here!
Curated by the same crew that run The Warehouse Project, it's no surprise that Manchester's Parklike festival has been such a success. Kicking off back in 2010, the event takes place each year at Heaton Park in the centre of the city, with past acts including everyone from Snoop Dogg to Mark Ronson. This year, the bill is just as diverse with live sets from Rudimental, Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, plus Maya Jane Coles, Tale of Us and Seth Troxler b2b Eats Everything. The party don't stop when the festival wraps, instead it's straight on to the festival's famed after-party series, Afterlife.
WHEN? 6th - 7th June
WHERE? Heaton Park, Manchester
HOW MUCH? £54.50 - £145
HIGHLIGHTS? Grace Jones, Disclosure, Rudimental, Nas, Mark Ronson, Fatboy Slim, Caribou, Metronomy, Jessie Ware, James Blake, Richie Hawtin, Jamie Jones, MK, Andy C, Seth Troxler B2B Eats Everything & more...
Light it up
Northern Lights festival is set to light up Newcastle-on-Tyne this summer. Literally. With over £100k worth of pyrotechnics, three stages and over 50 acts, the mega event will stretch over a whopping three days, with Steve Aoki and Steve Angello set to headline. There's also a spot of G-house on the bill, thanks to French bad boys, Amine Edge & Dance, and a taste of trance from much-loved heritage duo, Cosmic Gate. Local hero Patrick Topping will also play in the Big Top Tent on Saturday, and is set to rep' his hometown in suitably ballistic fashion.
WHEN? 30th – 31st May
WHERE? Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
HOW MUCH? £110 for three days
HIGHLIGHTS? Ben Klock, Steve Angello, Amine Edge & Dance, Cosmic Gate, Dungeon Meat, Dyro, Redlight, Will Sparks, Chris Lorenzo, Steve Aoki.
Field of dreams
Lovebox used to the one-to-watch in Victoria Park, but in recent times, as the aforementioned has consolidated, this leftfield little dance event — extended to two days for the first time in 2014 — has expanded in size, taking the mantle. The lay-out's improved as the line-up has only got stronger, meaning that Field Day has grown into the high expectations originally set for itself when it started in 2007. A headliner like Caribou and names like Ten Walls, John Talabot, Nina Kraviz, Mumdance, Shanti Celeste and Daniel Avery b2b Andrew Weatherall have made this boutique festival a hit for clubbers of the more discerning variety. While by no means Glasto — and despite sound levels still lacking — Field Day, as the name suggests, is a day out in London you should definitely consider.
WHEN? 6th June - 7th June
WHERE? Victoria Park, London
HOW MUCH? £54.50/£38.50/£83
HIGHLIGHTS? Caribou, Kindness, Hudson Mohawke, Clark, Bok Bok, Todd Terje and The Olsens, Floating Points, Leon Vynehall, Marcel Dettmann b2b Ben Klock, Hudson Mohawke and more.
Quite a find
Returning for its third year in 2015, Found are throwing not one, but four (!) large-scale outdoor events this summer. Kicking off with Born & Bred, a more urban/bass leaning all-dayer in Haggerston Park featuring Wiley, Goldie and Zinc on 6th June, Found Festival in Brixton is the one really rocking the main stage in our opinion. Soundsystems hosted by George Fitzgerald, Nick Curly's Trust, Feelings and NTS, lining up a plethora of top-notch house and techno talent, have ensured this full day fest sits as one of the stand-out dates of the summer once again. If that's not enough, check out 51st Stage, with original house talent like Masters At Work, Sneak and Dennis Ferrer, and/or Ceremony on 12th September (TBC), both formed under the Found umbrella.
When? 13th June
Where? Brockwell Park, Brixton
How much? £20 - £55
Highlights? Guy Gerber, Ellen Allien, Anja Schneider, Motor City Drum Ensemble, FCL, Genius of Time, Point G, George Fitzgerald, Alan Fitzpatrick, KiNK, Bob Moses, Barnt, Dez Andres, Tevo Howard, Black Madonna, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Dark Sky, Mosca, Marquis Hawkes and more
Noisy, not that big
We love a good cause here at DJ Mag. Especially if that charitable purpose involves killer music. From the people behind the Big Issue, Big Noise festival is a one-day rave-up at an old theatre in London. Featuring some of the edgiest hip-hop, funk and d&b bands and DJs — old and new — expect more than just big beats. Live art installations, comedy, spoken word and circus performers — plus the funds raised for the homeless — make this an unmissable date for your diary.
WHEN? 13th June
WHERE? Coronet, London
HOW MUCH? £16.50
HIGHLIGHTS? DJ Yoda presents Champion Sound System, Slamboree, Scratch Perverts, Quantic, Jumping Jack Frost, Mo Kolours, Bullion, Mr Switch, Kenny Ken and much more...
The mother of them all
Glasto is an amazing place to experience a weekend of dance music. Watch it on the telly and you wouldn't think so — the TV cameras tend to focus on the Pyramid Stage acts, plus a bit of weirdo Green Field shenanigans — but there are umpteen dance music areas to get lost at. From the amazing post-apocalyptic Block 9/NYC Downlow/London Underground spaces to the new Silver Hayes dance area, the whole traveller-built Shangri-La field to the Glade and up by the Castle Field and beyond, there must be at least 25 areas to hear some of the finest DJs and live dance acts in the world ply their wares amidst some amazing backdrops. There's also a ton of bands on the main stages, with some of the biggest electronic outfits scheduled amidst all the other stuff from the whole cross-section of contemporary music. Kill for a ticket.
WHEN? 24th — 28th June
WHERE? Pilton Farm, Glastonbury, Somerset
HOW MUCH? It sold out after about six minutes — sorry!
HIGHLIGHTS? The Chemical Brothers, Caribou, Hot Chip, FlyLo, Deadmau5, Jamie xx, Todd Terje, Roy Ayers, Sleaford Mods, George Clinton and thousands more
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL
Fresh as a daisy
Las Vegas's electric storm of neon has well-and-truly made its way to the UK. After stopping in New York, it made its way across the Atlantic, reaching London's Olympic Park in 2013 for its first UK event. Now upscaling to Milton Keynes's notorious amphitheatre, The National Bowl, and with Hardwell headlining an enormous line-up of stadium-sized names covering EDM, d&b, trance, house and techno — with some underground heavy-hitters thrown in too — EDC UK is beginning to rival the original. Housed in the same 65,000 stadium that's played host to U2, Queen and Bowie, and featuring the biggest-ever LED show in the UK never seen before, this not-so-little daisy is electric!
WHEN? 12th July - 13th July
WHERE? The National Bowl, Milton Keynes
HOW MUCH? £65/£120
HIGHLIGHTS? Hardwell, Avicii, Steve Angello Calvin Harris, Laidback Luke, Marco Carola, Dubfire, Joris Voorn, Martin Garrix, Nicky Romero, Showtek, Paul Van Dyk, Fatboy Slim, Gorgon City, Sigma, A-Trak, Pendulum, Dillon Francis, B.Traits and more...
SOUTH WEST FOUR
Undoubtedly London's leading festival dedicated to dance sounds, SW4 is still going strong. Enjoying its two-day berth since 2013, its headline acts on each day have become the most eagerly awaited announcements of the summer. Making a mega splash with a return for Faithless on Saturday, they've booked Skrillex again after he made such a massive impact in 2013. Again there's a bunch of big-name tag-team sets, this time from Carl Cox/Loco Dice (on the DJ Mag stage) and Solomun/Âme. More than anything though, it's the carefree vibe of this rave in a field that sets SW4 apart from the rest and 2015 promises to be no different.
WHEN? 29th & 30th August
WHERE? Clapham Common, London
HOW MUCH? £57.50/£62.50/£115
HIGHLIGHTS? Faithless, Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Basement Jaxx (live), Eats Everything, Carl Craig, Maceo Plex, Hannah Wants, Dubfire, Danny Daze, Carl Cox Vs Loco Dice, Apollonia, DJ EZ, Joseph Capriati, Mano Le Tough, Dixon, Marco Carola, Solomun vs Âme and much more.
Full fat selection
Creamfields is a name synonymous with the UK. The Midlands mega event, which kicked off way back in '98, has moved with the times, booking the global acts that are most in vogue. As a result, the event has shifted toward American EDM in recent years, with 2015's acts including Knife Party, Dillon Francis and Avicii, in addition to tropical house newcomers Kygo and Thomas Jack. House and techno heads will find solace in acts like Hot Since 82 and Ben Pearce, as well as Creamfields’ insane production aesthetics. If you’re after a well-rounded tapas of dance — this one's for you!
WHEN? 28Th - 30th August
WHERE? Daresbury, Liverpool
HOW MUCH? One day £85 / two day camping £175 / three day camping £200
HIGHLIGHTS? Avicii, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, The Chemical Brothers, Knife Party, Dillon Francis, Kygo, Thomas Jack, Gorgon City, Pete Tong, Hot Since 82, Ejeca, Andy C, High Contrast, Ben Pearce and more
Best is yet to come
Rob Da Bank's Isle of Wight extravaganza grew out of his regular Sunday Best chill-out party at the Tearooms Des Artistes in Wandsworth two decades ago, which expanded into the Sunday Best record label and eventually — after being inspired by Glastonbury's crazy Lost Vagueness vibe — a festival. The first Bestival in 2003 boasted Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, Mylo and Lee 'Scratch' Perry, and its eclectic nature has continued to this day. From the beginning Bestival had a fancy dress theme, and the laughs to be had being dressed as an octopus/spaceman/rock star/cyberfreak (depending on the theme — it's Summer of Love this year) are what really makes the event. Plus the top-notch line-ups, lovingly hand-picked by Mr Da Bank himself.
WHEN? 10th — 13th September
WHERE? Robin Hill, Isle of Wight
HOW MUCH? £195 (weekend ticket)
HIGHLIGHTS? Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Skrillex, Annie Mac, Seth Troxler, Tale of Us, Four Tet, Hannah Wants, Jackmaster, Andrew Weatherall, Erol Alkan, Shy FX and tons more
The brainchild of Saved Records boss Nic Fanciulli, The Social Festival will once again take over leafy Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent this summer. Once touted by Seth Troxler as the best festival in Europe, this year's line-up includes Glasgow's own Jackmaster, Berlin (via UK) producer George Fitzgerald and DIYnamic boss, Solomun, as well as a set from Nic Fanciulli himself and his brother Mark. Last year, the brothers built a special viewing platform for their mum to stand on, so she could enjoy the music away from the sweaty festival throng, proving that just about anything goes at The Social!
WHEN? 12th September
WHERE? Maidstone, Kent, UK
HOW MUCH? £44.50/£75 VIP
HIGHLIGHTS? Jackmaster, Jamie Jones, Macro Carola, Nic Fanciulli, Mark Fanciulli, Seth Troxler, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, George Fitzgerald, Dubfire and Solomun
Also look out for...
WHEN? 23rd – 24th May
WHERE? Donnington Park
WHEN? 11th – 14th June
WHERE? Carreglwyd, Wales
WHEN? 4th – 5th July
WHERE? Tunbridge Wells
WHEN? 17th July – 18th July
WHERE? Victoria Park, London
THE SECRET GARDEN PARTY
WHEN? 23rd – 26th July
WHERE? Mill Hill Field, Abbots Ripton
WHEN? Friday 11th – Sunday 13th July
WHERE? Morris Farm, Essex
WHEN? 16th – 18th July
WHERE? Bygrave Woods, Herefordshire