The best dance music festivals

Here are the best stops on the festival circuit for beats and bass in 2014

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The number of dance festivals taking place in the UK has exploded over the last few years. Helping you sort the beats from the chaff is our guide to the best bass gatherings this summer. Whether you're looking for a one-dayer within a few hours of London or a solid weekend of stepping, here are the dance music festivals you should be booking in 2014.

Check out the best dance festivals of 2014

Farr

  • Critics choice

Line-up includes Hercules & Love Affair, Mount Kimbie, Scuba, Daniel Avery, Andrew Weatherall, George Fitzgerald, Gentleman's Dub Club, Waze & Odyssey, South London Ordnance, Marcus Intalex, dBridge, The Skints, Robert Owens, Pardon My French, Rosie Lowe.

What's the deal? So Farr, so good for this rising, beat-juggling boutique festival, now in its fourth year. The event is held in a deserted forest outside London (better than holding it in an inhabited forest) and showcases some of the finest underground dance talent around – the vibe is far(r) more Derrick May than David Guetta. Punters can run around from rave to rave in the woods, climbing trees and making friends with enchanted woodland creatures, possibly. Get ready to groove to deep house, debauched disco, tripped-out techno, bass and electro at one of the UK's best new dance festivals, still intimate enough to retain a friendly and fun atmosphere.

  1. Newnham
  2. Fri Jul 18 - Mon Jul 21
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Lovebox

  • Critics choice

Line-up includes MIA, Chase & Status, Katy B, A$AP Rocky, Bonobo, Sub Focus, The Horrors, Scuba, Crystal Fighters, Mount Kimbie, Annie Mac, Moderat, Joey Bada$$, Madlib, Joy Orbison, Banks, Roosevelt, Submotion Orchestra, Bondax, Paul Woolford, The Gaslamp Killer, Klangkarussell, Kaleida, Tensnake, Horse Meat Disco, David Rodigan, Duke Dumont, Ellie Ingram, Ben Pearce, Cyril Hahn, Kyntro, Martinez Brothers, Visionquest, Hannah Wants, Shy FX, Dense & Pika, Huxley.

What's the deal? Still one of the finest boutique efforts in London, catering for cool kids and party monsters, Lovebox is back for 2014. Although it's slimmed down from three to two days as part of a new vision led by the production team behind Secret Garden Party, it should still be one of the highlights of the London summer thanks to a storming, genre-blurring line-up of DJs electronic acts and live bands. Among the many huge names firing up Hackney's Victoria Park this year are ever-charismatic rapper and musician MIA, hot topic hip hopper A$AP Rocky, bass and beat-slinging duo Chase & Status, plus chart-topping Londoner Katy B. As always, the finest alternative and underground scene kingpins are well-represented, with dubstep/techno meddler Scuba, London funk maestros Horse Meat Disco, shoegazing indie faves The Horrors and live electro wizards Moderat all promising to bring their own unique sonics to the event.

  1. Victoria Park Victoria Park Rd, E3 5SN
  2. Fri Jul 18 - Sat Jul 19
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The Beat-Herder Festival

Line-up includes Happy Mondays, The Orb, The Bloody Beetroots, Boney M, Vitalic, Dub Pistols, Ibibio Sound Machine, Mr Scruff, Utah Saints, Timo Maas, Riva Star, Greg Wilson, Wolf Alice, Bipolar Sunshine, Shopping, Gorgeous George, Dems, Goldie Lookin Chain, Dub Phizix.

What's the deal? Waking up this sleepy corner of the Ribble Valley, this is a miniature rave with the focus on maximum fun. As you'd expect from the title, the emphasis is on beats, but within that spectrum there's a helluva lot going on, including ambient house from seminal duo The Orb, heavy electro from Vitalic, punky dub-reggae from Dub Pistols and nostalgic indie-dance vibes from Manchester boys Happy Mondays. Plus, you can kick back in the shisha lounge if it all gets too much.

  1. Ribble Valley Clitheroe, BB7 4LH
  2. Fri Jul 18 - Mon Jul 21
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Tramlines

Line-up includes Public Enemy, Maurice Fulton, East India Youth, Annie Mac, Katy B, Gold Panda, Toddla T, The Gaslamp Killer, Leon Vynehall, Luke Solomon, Eliphino, Levon Vincent, Denai Moore, Benji B, The Wedding Present, The Cribs, Bo Nignen, Blessa, Jamie Trench, Catfish and the Bottlemen, De Sluwe Vos, Deap Valley, Jonwayne, Lewis Watson, Menace Beach, Moko.

What's the deal? Tramlines is one of the UK's biggest inner-city musical festivals, and as ever, there's a killer bill of both dance acts and guitar-wealding bands to get stuck into at Sheffield's city-wide party. The format is similar to that of the Camden Crawl or Brighton's The Great Escape; punters purchase a ticket (for a single day or whole weekend) and then move from venue to venue, as well as bigger outdoor stages, catching as many different acts as you like. Covering house, dub, reggae, indie, alt-rock, quirky pop, singer-songwriter vibes and more, the 2014 Tramlines bill features bass-loving BBC Radio 1 stalwart Annie Mac, electronica innovator Gold Panda, '90s indie darlings The Wedding Present, underground house ace Leon Vynehall and Sheffield's ownn dancehall and bashment maestro, Toddla T.

  1. Various Sheffield venues Sheffield, UK,  
  2. Fri Jul 25 - Sun Jul 27
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Global Gathering

Line-up includes The Prodigy, David Guetta, Chase & Status, Alesso, Jamie Jones, Netsky, Katy B, Andy C, Maya Jane Coles, Breach, Duke Dumont, Green Velvet, DJ EZ, Scuba, Eats Everything, David Rodigan, Pete Tong, Skream, Paul Woolford, The Martinez Brothers, Gorgon City.

What's the deal? One of the UK's biggest and oldest dance festivals is celebrating 14 years strong in 2014, and as you'd expect it's a stellar lineup that covers all corners of the electronic music spectrum. Angry electro punks The Prodigy take one of the headline spots, and repping the other end of the dance music spectrum is flaxen-haired house and EDM DJ David Guetta. Also on the bill are stadium house DJ Alesso and drum and bass duo Chase & Status, amongst an array of old guard and new-school dance talent covering anything with bleeps and beats. Pack your party head and load up on stamina, 'cause this'll be a large one, bruv.

  1. Long Marston Airfield Campden Road, CV37 8LL
  2. Fri Jul 25 - Sat Jul 26
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Eastern Electrics

  • Critics choice

Line-up includes Art Department, Kerri Chandler, Ellen Allien, Route 94, Tania Vulcano, tINI, plus more TBA.

What's the deal? Boasting one of the strongest dance festival lineups of any event in 2013, Eastern Electrics has grown into quite the beast these days. Slick house act Art Department, US house legend Kerri Chandler and Berlin's Queen of Techno Ellen Allien head up an impressive and evolving line-up that's sure to get stronger and stronger, causing beat-heads everywhere to drool with dancefloor (dancefield?) anticipation. There's a whole load of cutting edge house and techno, but pretty any electronic genre you care to name is covered here.

Creamfields

Line-up includes Avicii, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren, Tiësto, Hardwell, 3 Are Legend (Steve Aoki, Like Mike, Dmitri Vegas), Sander van Doorn, Sub Focus, Andy C, Riva Starr, MJ Cole, Thomas Gold, Afrojack, Duke Dumont, Dirty South, Booka Shade, Pete Tong, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Scuba, Zane Lowe, Paul Oakenfold + more.

What's the deal? Definitely the most prolific and voluminous dance music festival in the UK, this three-day event sees stadium DJs mix it up with cooler underground spin-masters. Expect a relentless mix of radio-friendly house anthems, fist-pumping trance, stadium techno and a hint of gut-renching dubstep from EDM lords including Euro house dons Avicii and Tiësto (both returning for their second Creamfields set in as many years), hitmaker Calvin Harris and EDM giant Deadmau5. With so much to bop to, making it through till last thing on Sunday will give you 'hardcore caner' status for eternity – something which many of the loyal Creamfields crowd already have.

  1. Daresbury Estate Hall Lane, WA4 4AR
  2. Fri Aug 22 - Mon Aug 25
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South West Four

Line-up includes Deadmau5, Skream, Above & Beyond, Maceo Plex, Netsky, Marco Carola, Alesso, Jamie Jones, Magda, Sasha, Super8 & Tab + more TBA.

What's the deal? The Clapham Common weekender returns for another weekend of classic club-flavoured dance business, overflowing with anthems and arms in the air. If you're longing for superclub sounds but loath to spend the last days of hot summer in a dark, sweaty room, head to SW4 for your fix of house, electro, techno and trance, as well as other genres creeping in from all angles. Clubbing veterans reunite to raise those hands and gurn on Clapham Common. Masked trance superstar Deadmau5 is the big-name Sunday headliner, with trance and electro-house kingpins Above & Beyond headlining Saturday, alonsgide other huge artists over the weekend, including dubstep-turned-disco don Skream, superstar EDM spinner Alesso, and tech-house maestro Maceo Plex.

  1. Clapham Common Windmill Drive, SW4 9DE
  2. Sat Aug 23 - Sun Aug 24
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Field Maneuvers

Line-up includes Move D, Wookie, Tama Sumo, Lakuti, Elgato, Brackles, Huntleys & Palmers Audio Club Showcase, Ghettospheric, Cornerstone Soundsystem, Yeah, Maybe, Sammy String, The Local Group, Joe Watkins, plus more TBA.

What's the deal? Now in its second year, this three-day party celebrates underground electronic music, with a roster made-up largely of talented, rising UK DJs and a few heroic names in the mix as well. The location is secret at the moment (a 'riverside location 60 minutes outside of London' is all you're getting) and the organisers' desire to keep the vibe intimate and friendly seems to remain, but those who do get one of the 500 tickets will be able to enjoy banging house, deep disco, pumping techno and dancefloor bombs of all shapes and sizes, as well as funk, soul and hip hop. It's all there and begging to be boogied to. This is one field trip you'll be glad you didn't skive.

The Zoo Project Festival UK

Line-up includes Groove Armada, Steve Lawler, James Zabelia, Shy FX, Mr Scruff, Mala, DJ Falcon, Ben UFO, Midland, Special Request, A Guy Called Gerald, Nightmares on Wax, Craig Richards, James Priestley, Giles Smith, John Talabot, T.Williams, Maribou State, Drew Hill. Phaeleh. Benjamin Damage, Pedestrian.

What's the deal? The organisers say that The Zoo Project Festival – based on an event started in Ibiza years ago – is all about 'immersive, expressive and experimental music and culture'. We say: given the excellent line-up of beat-slinging DJs across any genre of dance music you care to name, expect a crowd up for a rave and just as up for running around the huge forest setting, getting into the zoo theme with gusto. As well as a top-class selection of artists, festival-goers can also enjoy circus acts, mermaids and 'gentlemen chimps', obviously. Don't be shy when it comes to wild fancy dress and animal-themed costumes.

  1. Donington Park Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2RP
  2. Fri Sep 12 - Sun Sep 14
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July

London really comes to life as Lovebox, Wireless and British Summer Time kick off in the capital this month

August

Party like you're sixteen again at Reading festival or enjoy the more chilled, homely vibe of Wilderness

September

This summer's festival season concludes with the likes of Bestival and Reload Festival

See our monthly guide to this summer's festivals

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