Don’t believe the naysayers: it’s boom time for UK festivals. Every summer brings a new crop of innovative summer music festivals to join the long-established big beasts of festival season. So no matter what you’re looking for – rock ’n’ roll headliners, folk festivals, boutique festival frolics, house and techno bangers – there’s something for you happening in a field this summer. Here’s our round-up of the very biggest and best UK music festivals taking place in 2017. See you down the front!
The UK's best festivals
The temporary town pops back up for another carnival weekend
This annual shindig is a pop-up cathedral short of being a full-blown city. Every year the Matterley Bowl estate becomes a magical town full of hypnotic basslines and mindbending installations. Music ranges from the underground to outer space, and the roster of activities (which has matured in recent years) includes banqueting, craft and healing areas as well as Boomtown’s traditional mutated ‘art vehicles’. By day it’s fairly family-friendly, but after dark the caners come out to soak up enough beats, dub, ska and reggae to see them through until daybreak.
Line-up includes: Cypress Hill, MIA, Sugar Hill Gang, Dawn Penn, The Specials, Loyle Carner, Soweto Kinch, Toddla T, Booka Shade, Amy Becker, AJ Tracey.
August 10-13. £202 (weekend), £177 (discounted for coach travellers).
A hedonistic wooded wonderland in the Cambridgeshire countryside Nestled in plush green surroundings, Secret Garden Party is the undisputed home of hippy hedonism on the UK festival scene. ‘Spectacular’ comes as standard: bands, DJs and artists are tucked into every playable space around the site including treehouses, floating islands and yurts. SGP is known for being a woodland fairytale, but this year’s theme – a tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things celebrity – should see SGP's always up-for-it dressers take things to new heights of tacky and LOL.
Line-up includes: Metronomy, Toots & The Maytals, Honne, Jagwar Ma, Akala, Rejjie Snow, Ray BLK, Let's Eat Grandma.
Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire. July 20-23. £102-£197.
Big names make a habit of leading the charge of Rob da Bank’s band of misfits
The big news for this year is that the annual trips on the Isle of Wight ferry are no more – say goodbye to the island, say hello to Dorset! Bestival is moving to the mainland this year (to the very beautiful site of Camp Bestival, in fact). Tacked onto the tail end of the festival season, Bestival will still offer four days of live music and premier league DJs, plus lots of fancy dress thanks to their yearly changing theme. Punters can also enjoy some anarchic fun at the carnival of small stages, or visit the inflatable church for a quickie festival marriage (not legally binding, gladly).
Line-up includes: The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Dizzee Rascal, Pet Shop Boys, Jamie T, DJ Shadow, Rag'n'Bone Man, Soul II Soul, Annie Mac, Ray BLK, Toddla T, Nadia Rose, Andy C.
Lulworth Cove, Dorset. September 7-10.
Musical legends, mud, and more mud at the UK’s biggest music festival
For the final time before its fallow year, the big daddy of the UK festival scene is back. The legendary site at Worthy Farm will boast a population bigger than Reykjavik, with all eyes pointed at the Pyramid Stage. As ever Emily Eavis (head honcho and daughter of the festival’s founder Michael) remains tightlipped about who will be leading proceedings, but after Kanye’s ‘meh’ inducing performance, we’re hoping for better. But face it, if you haven’t already bagged yourself a ticket for this year (complete with mugshot) then it’s not likely you’re getting in this time around. Put your wellies down and get your game plan together for next time.
Worthy Farm, Somerset. June 21-25. Sold Out.
Blissfields started life as a oneoff party in 2001, and has snowballed into a pretty comprehensive three-day fest. Acts run from pop and rap to indie and D&B, and tickets hovver just under the very reasonable £100 mark: bonkers. FYI, this year's theme is 'the bizarre'. New for 2017 is the very real luxury of actual toilets across the entire site.
Line-up includes: Metronomy, Lady Leshurr, Sundara Karma, The Japanese House, S4U.
Vicarage Farm, Winchester. July 6-8.
A very civilised weekend of jazz and more
Love Supreme specialises in jazz, funk, blues and soul, with a bit of extra pop power when it comes to the headliners. The lush and laid-back setting in the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house sets the tone at this genteel weekender, but if you’re after a late-evening pick-me-up then look out for the electronic artists that also pepper the line-up.
Line-up includes: The Jacksons – A Celebration of 50 Years, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula, Badbadnotgood, Nao, Robert Glasper Experiment, Yussef Kamaal.
Glynde Place, East Sussex. June 30-July 2. £145.
Festival No 6
A cultured party in the eccentric village of Portmeirion
Now in its fourth year, Festival No 6 invites weekend warriors to get absorbed in the surreal Mediterranean-style seaside resort of Portmeirion, made famous by the TV show ‘The Prisoner’. The festival lives up to its unusual setting with an equal focus on music, arts, poetry, spoken word, and other cultural tidbits. It’s decidedly family-friendly, and flower garlands and dress-up fun are strongly encouraged.
Line-up includes: Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Bloc Party, Rag’n’Bone Man, The Cinematic Orchestra, Wild Beasts, Laura Mvula.
Portmeirion, Wales. September 7-10.
Consistently one of the finest festivals in London, catering for cool kids and party monsters, Lovebox packs as much fun into two days as many festivals manage in three. The sublime, but elusive, Frank Ocean is the first headliner to be announced and his only London date on a European tour. It’s one of the highlights of the London summer thanks to a storming, genre-blurring line-up of DJs electronic acts and live bands, plus all sorts of weird fun on the side (performance, art, dance, and mysterious mischief) and a full range of banging afterparties.
Line-up includes: Frank Ocean, Chase & Status, Jamie xx, Solange, Sampha, Kaytranada. Rag ’n’ Bone Man, Mac Miller.
If we’re being honest, Sundays at a festival are usually a bit of a damp squib. After days of abuse, both your inflatable mattress and soul are dangerously deflated. Going to a festival on a Sunday all fresh and rested, on the other hand, sounds a lot more appealing, especially if it’s tailor-made for the day of rest. On top of the class music line up – mighty Foals are headlining this year – there’ll also be various arts-driven distractions and entertainment throughout the day, plus top food and booze offerings. Welcome back, Citadel, the Sunday festival that packs enough fun, food and artsy goodness to give Friday and Saturday a run for their money.
Engage your brain and your funny bone at this laidback music and arts festival
Latitude is back for its twelfth instalment of adventurous pop and alt rock in an idyllic setting. We’ve come to expect a stellar lineup including worldclass comedians, poets and theatre as well as thoughtprovoking debates. Latitude is family friendly and full of brain food, but there’s more to it than just indie and chin scratching. DJs are hidden in the woods after hours, colourful sheep roam through the fields, dance troupes parade around the site and ale lovers won’t be short of fuel.
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. July 13-16. £197 (weekend).
The best clubs in Bristol
Not many places can match Bristol when it comes to clubbing - even its comedy clubs are second to none. Whether you're after well-known turntable talent banging out the beeps and bleeps in quality bars or you're just nonchalantly looking for something low-key, cool and credible, Bristol should have you well covered. We've put together a list of the best places to rave away your troubles in our city, so take a look and take the plunge - your ears will like you.