British Summer Time

Music , Music festivals
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  • 3 out of 5 stars
(6 user reviews)
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© Liam Daly

The annual mega-gig series returns to Hyde Park, with headliners including Blur, The Who, Taylor Swift and Kylie Minogue

Taylor Swift, Blur, The Strokes, The Who, Kylie, Grace Jones, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Ellie Goulding, Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Beck, Future Islands, The Horrors, Metronomy + more.

For the third year running Hyde Park plays host to some of the planet’s biggest musical stars, with an upmarket festival vibe that takes in small stages, theatre and comedy, food and drink and a posh VIP area.

The first weekend kicks off with NYC indie heroes The Strokes, followed by the return of Britpop maestros Blur (with a top support bill including Metronomy and The Horrors) then antipodean pop queen Kylie with support from whip-cracking rhythm-slave Grace Jones and disco treasures Chic.

After a mid-week run where comedians – Jim JefferiesRich Hall, and Ed Byrne plus support – take over the festival, it’s back to rock on the following Friday. Fight your way through the Fred Perry-wearing hordes to see modfathers The Who headline over modfather (part two) Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs and Johnny Marr. The next night it's the turn of US pop sensation Taylor Swift to headline, before a family day with Union J rounds off BST in kid-friendly style.

Win British Summer Time 2015 tickets

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|6
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jutney
Tastemaker

This is one of the best-organized festivals I’ve been in England. From the signs leaving the nearby tube stations, to the quite fast entrance and the proper and mostly clean bathrooms, it really makes the visitor’s life easy. It’s a pity that anyone who’s interested in watching any artist/band in the main stage has to pay extra (vip ticket) to feel like they’re in a festival... 

For the other stages people can join together and wanting to get close to the stage, it is possible; but the main stage has a very large enclosed area for the VIPs... Meaning that the closer you can get to the stage is about 50m apart. In the last show (Blur in 2015, Massive Attack this year) it does not feel so bad (I’m not someone who tries to be in the first rows in gigs anyway); but earlier, when it’s not so crowded, you end up watching from far away with large empty spaces between you and the stage. I can only imagine how bad it is for the artist, to be in such a big stage with only around a hundred people in front of it (although there are many more, just very far away). It’s bad for the artist, bad for us that paid for a not-cheap-at-all ticket and it completely loses the festival vibe, the togetherness, the ‘dance energy’ that is kind of the point of going to a festival. 

Violet M
Tastemaker

Went to the 2 July performance, which, in my opinion, has been one of the best line-ups I have seen at a festival in years: Blood Orange, Jamie XX, Kendrick Lamar and Florence & the Machine. Seriously. Best. Line-up. Ever. 


BST has to be one of my favorite festivals (this was my second time going). Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the 4-day, bender of a festival, where by Sunday afternoon glitter is embedded in every crevice of my face, sleep hasn't occured in days and the delirium almost makes the music magical. That's great, really, but being the sleep-loving human I am, I much prefer the relaxed vibe at BST. No one in the crowd is being sick, there's nice, affordable food and drink to be had (seriously, a pint for £5 at a festival is well-good), and loads of people bring picnic blankets to basically just sit around and listen to music. It was a superbly chilled day with amazing music. 


And this time, in true British summer-time fashion, it hailed - yes, HAILED - whilst it was SUNNY during Jamie XX's set. Hilarious. But everyone in the crowd loved it and made friends with those who had umbrellas, which was great. 


Only downside? I do think it's silly to make people pay £10 for a program, though, or to have to download an app to find out set times. 


Otherwise, really good time! The best part? I was home, showered and in bed by 11.00pm. That's my kind of festival experience. 

Hollibakes
Tastemaker

Ahh British Summer Time in London's Hyde Park. I recently went to the Friday which had Massive Attack headlining. Props to the organisers of this festival, the park always looks great, and even post festival there is rarely any litter! The main stage crowd were buzzing with excitement for the acts on the bill, and the beer and cider were in full flow. Tip: If you're not into queuing for your drinks - keep an eye out for the staff with pumps on their backs, beat the queue and still get a decent pint! 


Heading to the Playstation tent to catch some of the lesser known acts is a must if you do go - but note you'll only being able to gain entry if you have a wristband, which ensures that crowds were kept to the optimum level. The vibe in here is a lot more chilled than outside by the main stage, but it a great little place to see some amazing artists (and get some amazing pictures)


There are plenty of food options, including great tasty treats for veggies/vegans too! And prices are relatively reasonable - roughly £5 for a hog roast roll or falafel burger and £3.50 for a mountain of sweet potato fries.


The only thing that couldn't be controlled was the weather, sadly, but even that didn't dampen spirits, as the sun was still shining, and beautiful rainbows could be seen. It's London after all - we're all use to some showers! 


I honestly have to hand it to BST Hyde Park though, for organising a practically flawless event.

Kateryna V
Tastemaker

BST 2016

I've been to many, many festivals all over Europe. Trust me when I say that none do it as well as the British! Like GirlAboutLondon below said the facilities are improving year on year. Germans, Swiss and Scandi are not to be matched there, but you get more of the fun vibe! I found BST running smoothly and efficiently and was utterly impressed. The festival grounds are easy to access from Marble Arch, there are lots and lots of good places for food (Pizza Pilgrim!), they are now taking contactless card payments thanks to Barclaycard, and there are more screens to watch the gigs for those who don't want to be in the thick of it. On the way out once the gig was over there were clear signs to all key tube and train stations, and the (very friendly!) festival workers did a good job directing the crowd flow. I'm only withholding one star as I didn't have a chance to check the toilets, and that is, obviously, important for the full festival experience to be five star :)

GirlAboutLondon
tastemaker

BST 2016

I've been to a few of these festivals now and have to say the facilities generally improve every year. There's more and more decent food and drinks on offer and the stands are colourful and themed.

Gone are the days of just having a dodgy white marquee and serving hot-dogs. There's now a street food market with 8 different burger stalls and a vegetarian quarter- all good quality and to the same standard that you'd get in a restaurant or bar. There are craft beer tents and plenty of people walking around serving beer and cider.

The toilets are proper toilets- not the usual, expected porta loos- and generally quite clean and stocked up.

The drinks tent however definitely hasn't nailed the best way to avoid people having to wait on average half an hour to be served when a concert is in full swing. I've waited longer than that- sometimes over an hour- a few times and it really lets the whole experience down. Sometimes you're allowed to buy drinks in cans or bottles and leave them unopened (much easier to carry back through a crowd!), and sometimes you're not (a proper pain to carry through a crowd and you're lucky if you have anything left by the time you get back!), so the inconsistencies are annoying.

Obviously music is down to personal taste so the line-ups will never appeal to everyone, and some years are better than others, but when there is a band or singer I really want to see playing at this fest I'll go. It's a fun day/night out.

leia O

Very excited to apply to the offer for the Family Day event at Hyde Park. My six year old daughter was especially looking forward to meeting Justin and having the opportunity to get up close with CBeebies characters. Unfortunately, we weren't told that on arrival we would need to go to the box office to exchange the vouchers for tickets which meant a long trek round the park from our point of arrival and that then we would have to traipse right back to enter from the North gate - this took a long time and we were all exhausted before even entering the event ground. Once in and child identity bracelets on we started wandering around only to find the grounds covered mostly in fair attractions which were costly for the children to ride on. Then the rain (having been forecast as light lunchtime showers) started pouring heavily there was no shelter which forced the buying of more costly rain ponchos - £4 for a piece of plastic with a hood! After a mere half an hour we decided to leave having felt cheated and taken advantage of. Even staff working at one of the food counters were shocked at how much a lot of the other retailers were charging and the giant open air screening of 'Frozen' under the pouring rain only made my daughter want to be at home watching a different movie in comfort, warm and dry. Another exhausting journey home on the underground carrying the pushchair up and down stairs and finally grandma's house was the ultimate prize for a relaxing environment with a roof overhead and good food on the table and free toys for the kids. Hyde park family day? Never again. A literal wash-out on every level. Minus 3 stars.


Mum of two, Camberwell.