Music festivals calendar: May
This year's festival season kicks off with a shed-load of top-notch spring parties
'Tis the season to sip warm cider and enjoy live music in a field. Yes, festival season is upon us and to help you plan your summer we've rounded-up all of this year's offerings in one seriously handy calendar. Whether you're after a week-long getaway or whether you're after inspiration for one of the upcoming long weekends, our 2014 festivals calendar has all the dates you need for your diary this summer.
Music festivals taking place in May 2014
- Critics choice
Line-up includes Mike Skinner, Actress, Kelela, Floating Points, Ryan Hemsworth, Doc Daneeka + more.
What's the deal? New multi-venue city festivals are cropping up all around the world nowadays, but not many have a line-up as far ahead of the curve as Elsewhere. A new Hackney two-dayer by London promoters Dollop, it brings a range of electronic innovators to London across the Friday and Saturday of the early May bank holiday weekend.
Line-up includes Albert Hammond Jr., Clean Bandit, Fuck Buttons, Courtney Barnett, Lizzo, Kodaline, Johnny Flynn, Blood Red Shoes, Fair Ohs, Chloe Howl, Drenge, Circa Waves, Nina Nesbitt, Pulled Apart By Horses, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice, The Hold Steady, Yuck.
What's the deal? Leeds tries its hand at a musical pub crawl, with a host of ecclectic acts performing at a range of the city's top venues. Strokes man Albert Hammond Jr. is a big draw in the line-up, as are cosmic noise act Fuck Buttons and hot-topic classical/electro-pop band Clean Bandit. There's also an 'unconference' for music industry types in the unlikely event that you become bored of drinking and dancing.
Line-up includes Laurent Garnier, 2ManyDJs, Andrew Weatherall, Derrick Carter, Derrick May, Felix Da Housecat, Jamie Jones, Tiga, Moritz Von Oswald, DJ Sneak, Lord of the Isles, Visionquest, Vitalic, Sunday Circus + more TBA.
What's the deal? Dance your DayGlo socks off by the water at this Glasgow festival, set in a riverside museum and taking place over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The line-up is full of techno and house legends, such as French beat maestro Laurent Garnier and Belgian electro-techno mashup-lovers 2ManyDJs, and Detroit luminary Derrick May. There are also after-parties taking place in the city to allow the hardcore ravers room for all-night grooving, but you'll need separate tickets for those.
Line-up includes Kelis, Jungle, Charli XCX, Chlöe Howl, Ella Eyre, Arthur Beatrice, Fat White Family, Benjamin Clementine, Circa Waves, Courtney Barnett, Denai Moore, Traams, Woman's Hour, Flux Pavilion, Flyte, Future Islands, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Marika Hackman, Rosie Lowe, Royal Blood, September Girls, Shopping, Shy Nature, Theo Verney + more TBA.
What's the deal? For Londoners unfamiliar with The Great Escape: it's Brighton's answer to the Camden Crawl, except with more varied and usually better acts, if we're honest, and fewer stalls selling overpriced Che Guevara t-shirts and fake Zippos. The music takes place at various bars, clubs, halls and other temporary venues across the city, and although it's a key event for music industry types to 'network' (read: drink more than usual), for everyone else it's basically a good excuse to catch loads of cool upcoming bands and DJs.
Line-up includes Jah Wobble, Dreadzone, Headsticks, Joe Solo, The Membranes, Linea, XSLF, Band of the Underhand, Super Fast Girlie Show.
What's the deal? Old punks and regulars on the crusty circuit gather in celebration of the late, great Clash man Joe Strummer’s life with much of this not-for-profit festival's money going to Joe’s various favoured charities. For its 2014 run, Strummercamp will see punk/reggae rocker and Public Image Limited co-founder and Jah Wobble take the stage, and a set from ambient dub act Dreadzone.
Line-up includes Big Country, Neville Staple, Jesus Jones, Eat Static, Hypnocoustic, Lisa Knapp.
What's the deal? A decades-old festival that holds two seperate weekends of family-friendly fesival fun – spring instalment in May and the summer leg in August. The spring event features Scottish rockers Big Country, '90s indie-dance outfit Jesus Jones and Neville Staple from The Specials in the big headline slots. There is also a mini-real ale and cider festival and activities for children.
Line-up includes Rita Ora, Paolo Nutini + more TBA.
What's the deal? After hitting Carlisle and Derry-Londonderry in previous years, Radio 1's Big Weekend lands in Glasgow for 2014. Previously aone-day event, Big Weekend has gotten bigger and bigger over the last few years, and is now a crucial date on the pop calendar. So far, only pop-hop princess Rita Ora and blues-tinged smooth crooner Paolo Nutini have been announced, but there'll be plenty more chart giants on the roster very soon.
- Critics choice
Line-up includes Halls, Warm Brains, Gentlemen, Blueprint Blue, Great Ytene, Paradise, Cable Street Collective + more.
What's the deal? Over the second May bank holiday weekend you could do a lot worse than head down to the London Fields Brewery arches, the site of this fundraising festival for the Macmillan cancer support charity. The music bill, which leans towards reverb-heavy psych-rock and pop, includes some of London's best young bands, and there's plenty of comedy and other fun stuff too. Oh, and because of the location, there'll be a fair amount of craft beer sloshing about.
Line-up includes Todd Terje, Annie Mac, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Eats Everything, Craig Richards, Clean Bandit, Neneh Cherry, Nina Kraviz, DJ Q, Hercules & Love Affair, Todd Terje, Horse Meat Disco, Shy FX, Tessela, The Heatwave, Ms Dynamite, Greg Wilson, Congo Natty.
What's the deal? Bristol's carefully curated event of ecclectic electronics returns for a fourth year, looking stronger than ever. The city's immense heritage for electronic music gives the festival a good grounding, and pretty much any genre you care to name is well-repped – the majority lean towards house, techno and disco, but bass-freaks will get their fix as well, from dubstep, drum and bass and garage.
- Critics choice
Line-up includes Fatboy Slim, Annie Mac, Sub Focus, Disclosure (DJ), Richie Hawtin, Knife Party, Shy FX, High Contrast,Kevin Saunderson, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (DJ), Derrick Carter, Richy Ahmed, Solomun, Duke Dumont, Riva Starr, Tiga, Sven Väth, Andy C, Nina Kraviz, Ellen Allien, Miss Kittin, Tensnake, Duke Dumont, Maya Jane Coles, Kerri Chandler, Timo Maas + more.
What's the deal? Last year, we called We Are FSTVL – a new electronic music mash-up in a field at the eastern end of the District Line – 'bloody huge'. Turns out they were only just warming up: WAF is back for 2014, and it's a bank holiday monster. Across two hedonistic days and nights you can shake some serious booty to some of dance music's biggest names – Fatboy Slim, Sub Focus and Knife Party among them – and a full gamut of rising stars. Like last year, house and techno of all forms are very well represented, but if you can think of a beat-based genre it's probably covered here somewhere. See you in Essex.
Line-up includes The Boomtown Rats, The Stranglers, Bipolar Sunshine, Newtown Faulkner, Bad Manners, Gentleman's Dub Club, The Gaslight Troubadours, The Real Thing, Benin City, Glitches, Wolf Alice.
What's the deal? Celebrating its tenth year in 2014, Wychwood is three nights of family friendly festival fun held on in the lush green gloucestershire countryside, with plenty to keep both adults and little'uns amused. Music ranges from local folk acts to big names, including Bob Geldof's Boomtown Rats (good thing Wychwood doesn't take place on a Monday), The Stranglers and their timeless, innovative take on punk, dreadlocked folksy singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner and Bipolar Sunshine's lo-fi dream-pop. You can also entertain yourself at one of the 100+ workshops, comedy shows (from Gary Delaney and Paul Tonkinson), a mini-real ale festival, or even take the kids to a children's literary festival.
Want more? Find more music festivals this year
Get the party started this season with some of the globe's best DJs at Love Saves The Day and We Are FSTVL
Glastonbury's got the big names and hippy vibes while Download adds the rock-factor to this year's festival season
London really comes to life as Lovebox, Wireless and British Summer Time kick off in the capital this month
Party like you're sixteen again at Reading festival or enjoy the more chilled, homely vibe of Wilderness
Our May festivals mixtape
Rock titans, cutting-edge DJs, R&B superstars – as usual, London’s throwing one hell of a party this summer
Say hello to the bands and artists set to seduce your ears this summer
Prepare for all eventualities with our list of the world’s most epic festival fails
Check out our snazzy infographic showing the history of the headliners who’ve entertained revellers at Worthy Farm