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
Live at Leeds
This alt rock and indie-driven festival has become something of a fixture in the Leeds calendar over the past few years thanks to rosters teeming with buzzy up-and-comers, plus a few big names. It’s a multi-venue affair, taking place at various spots around the city, and is a bit of a bargain price-wise.
Line-up includes: The Horrors, Peace, British Sea Power, Circa Waves, Lewis Capaldi, Pale Waves, Sam Fender, Spring King.
Various venues across Leeds. May 5. £36.
The Great Escape
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: MoStack, Mist, The Orielles, Girlhood, Hunter and the Bear, Pale Waves, The Ninth Wave, Stella Donnelly.
Various venues, Brighton. May 17-19. £65 (3-day ticket).
Mad fer it, inner-city Manchester party: no tents required
Like some kind of latent throwback to the Britpop halcyon days of yore, Manchester knees-up Parklife (named after that there Blur hit) is hosting King Parka himself Liam Gallagher in top billing this year. The controversy! Well, not really. It's 2018. And actually, far from a nostalgic '90s throwback event, the Heaton Park weekender boasts a bill to rival the best of them. Plus, as is the beauty of city festivals, you can have a good night's kip in your own bed (or at least a mid-range airb'n'b) before heading back for Day Two. Supersonic.
Line-up includes: Liam Gallagher, The XX, Skepta, N*E*R*D, Lorde, Jamie XX, A$AP Rocky, Chvrches, Giggs, Justice.
Heaton Park, Manchester. June 9-10. Weekend tickets sold out. £65 (day).
Rock behemoths, gather.
The UK’s undisputed number one metal festival, Download always promises a stellar line-up that doesn’t get lost in the noise. Every band with a heavy riff makes the journey each year, including many thrash, crust, screamo and emo outfits: dedicated headbangers had better warm up to avoid whiplash. This year’s decade-spanning headline acts include the one and only Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, You Me At Six and Baby Metal.
Line-up includes: Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, Volbeat, Bullet For My Valentine, Thunder, Cradle of Filth, Rise Against, You Me At Six and Baby Metal.
Donnington Park, Donnington. June 8-10. From £200 (weekend camping).
Hidden away in the lush Welsh woodlands, this boutique dance effort continues to go from strength-to-strength. Now in year nine, it continues to offer a stellar mix of DJs and artists for anyone who likes their beats and bass to be strictly alternative. Get ready to roam through the forest and dance long into the night, accompanied by a delightfully eclectic soundtrack (anything from deep house to disco to Afrobeat to electronica). Those who want a little luxury can even shell out for boutique camping.
Line-up includes: Andrew Weatherall, Axel Boman, DMX Krew, Jackmaster, Margaret Dygas, Paul Woolford, Mr Scruff.
June 7-10. Carreglwyd Estate, Wales. From £165 (weekend).
Huge headliners at one of the UK’s biggest rock festivals
Now celebrating its 50th year, the modern day Isle of Wight festival is a far cry from the hippy love-in that landed back in 1968. Nowadays, big name headliners and commercial rock and pop favourites are the order of the day, with a hefty dose of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. They may not be trying to push the envelope, but after five decades in the game, Isle of Wight knows how to please a crowd.
Line-up includes: Kasabian, The Killers, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher, Manic Street Preachers, The Script, Nile Rodgers and Chic, James Bay, Van Morrison.
Newport, Isle of Wight. June 21-24. £209 (weekend) £65/ £75 (day).
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.
Glynde Place, East Sussex. June 29-July 1. £154 (weekend camping), £54 (day ticket).
Billed as 'the UK's only action sports and music festival', NASS features seven stages of (largely beat-based) music and all kinds of gnarly stuff alongside, including skate and BMX competitions and live street art.
Line-up includes: Dizzee Rascal, Run DMC, Sigma, Friction, Flava D, Holy Goof.
Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet. July 5-8. From £109 weekend ticket, £39 day ticket.
So Farr, so good for this rapidly rising, beat-juggling boutique festival. The event is held in a deserted forest on the outskirts of London and showcases some of the finest DJ talent around. Thus, punters will basically be able to run around and rave in the woods, probably climbing a few trees and making friends with enchanted woodland creatures along the way. There are already some top-grade DJs and electronic acts announced, including Daphni, Mount Kimbie, Moodymann and Lena Willikens, at an event that's still intimate enough to retain a friendly and fun atmosphere.
Line-up includes: Mount Kimbie, Tom Misch, Daphni, Maribou State, Dixon, Moodymann, George Fitzgerald, Jay Shaka, Benji B, Lena Willikens.
Bygrave Woods, Hertfordshire. July 5-8. From £100 (earlybird weekend ticket)
Big hitters and rising stars combine at this family-friendly Suffolk shindig
Check your Insta feeds over Latitude weekend and you'll see one overriding star of the show: a troupe of pastel-coloured sheep. The bleating residents of Henham Park (and Rag'n'Bone Man) will be returning for another year of laid-back, family-friendly fun, with children's theatre, woodland activities and lake swimming intermingling among the musical treats. With Vegas showboys The Killers topping the Saturday night, this year they're aiming higher than ever.
Line-up includes: The Killers, Solange, alt-J, Wolf Alice, the Vaccines, Rag'n'Bone Man, Jessie Ware, The Breeders.
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. July 12-15. £197.50 (weekend) £77.50 (day).
The best clubs in Edinburgh
As an open-minded, adventurous clubber with exquisite taste (especially in the websites you visit), you'll be aware that every major city, including Edinburgh, is home to clubs where cheesy chart choruses loom large and drinks are suspiciously cheap. In this list, you'll find the other clubs - those clubs that we deem the best in Edinburgh. So take a look and remember to pack those dancing shoes.