It’s May and the summer music festival season is just around the corner, so get your spring 2017 festival hat on with our comprehensive calendar of some of this month’s biggest and best UK and London festivals. Choose from Brighton’s The Great Escape or keep it local with We Are FSTVL. And if you want to be really organised, check out upcoming festivals in June, July, August and September with our full 2017 festival calendar.
RECOMMENDED: More UK and London music festivals
UK music festivals in May 2017
Three days of soul heaven in Sussex
Top London promoters Soundcrash have started their very own festival, bringing some great acts together for a weekend of juicy funk and blissful soul music. With a line-up of bands and DJs spanning revered veterans and cool newcomers, and a weekend’s chalet accommodation included in the very reasonable ticket price, this looks like a great way to kick off the 2017 festival season.
Line-up includes: George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Sugarhill Gang, Omar, Crazy P Soundsystem, Hot 8 Brass Band, Mr Scruff, Jordan Rakei.
Camber Sands Holiday Camp, East Sussex. May 12-15. £109-£175.
Upcoming darlings overrun Brighton
Often hailed as ‘the UK’s SXSW’ (with half the sunshine), The Great Escape is a yearly pilgrimage for new music obsessives. Almost every pub, bar or venue with a bit of clear space is coopted by the festival for artists from all over the globe. Primarily an event for the music industry to ‘network’ (read: drink together), it’s also a great excuse to catch bucketloads of upcoming bands and DJs. The headliners (or ‘Spotlight Shows’) are ticketed separately: wristband holders for the wider festival can top up their passes to get in.
Line-up includes: Rag 'n' Bone Man, Ray BLK, LA Salami, Cabbage, Klangstof, Anna Straker.
Various venues, Brighton. May 18-20. £60 (3-day ticket).
Boutique beats at a weekend-long masquerade ball
Pack the Ferrero Rochers – the Masked Ball is an after-dark party for wannabe-aristocrats, but with ticket prices that won’t break the bank. Started in 2007, this DJ-centric seaside fest takes place in a colossal coastal guesthouse and fully embraces its ‘boutique’ label. The line-up leans towards disco,house and funk, with some big names on hand. Masquerade dress code essential.
Line-up includes The Cuban Brothers, DJ Food, Felix Dickinson, Horse Meat Disco, Justin Robertson, LTJ Experience, Norman Jay MBE, PBR Streetgang, PsycheMajik, Shit Robot, Spiritual South, Space Echo and Tiger and Woods.
Porthleven, Cornwall. May 26-28. £45-£59.
A dance-focused rural retreat for all the family
After a few successful years up north, leftfield dance festival Alfresco returns for a second year at its new lakeside home in Kent. There’s a line-up of cool DJs and live acts for the parents plus plenty for kids, including a rock ’n’ roller disco, DJing lessons, magic shows and more.
Line-up includes: Alexis Taylor (pictured), Felix Dickinson, Psychemagick, Wolfgang Flur (ex-Kraftwerk), Optimo, Danielle Moore.
Colebrook Lakes, Royal Tunbridge Wells. May 26-28. £69, £35 (day).
Bestival spin-off that reaches two cities in one weekend
Bestival mastermind Rob Da Bank succesfully turned his sights to the mainland a few years ago with new no-camping venture, Common People. Taking place in Southampton and Oxford in one weekend, it features a few Bestival-sized headliners alongside tons of grime, hip hop, and dance outfits. Street food, boutique bars and bouncy castles are sprinkled around site for good measure. Cheap as chips and no need for a ferry ride.
Line-up includes: Duran Duran, Primal Scream, Kurupt FM, Public Enemy, Lady Leshurr.
South Park in Oxford and Southampton Common in Southampton. May 27-28. £24-£45.
London music festivals in May 2017
Over the last four years WAF has established itself as one of the big guns among the new generation of dance festivals. Returning to London (well, Essex, but it’s on the tube) for two more days this summer, it boasts another heavyweight line-up of globe-conquering DJs, hot rising talents and respected undergrounders: among them Carl Cox, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but bass and garage are also represented, and with this number of esteemed selectors on board you guarantee the always-up-for-it FSTVL crowd will be partying hard and true into the small hours.