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The best UK festivals

We’ve cherry-picked this year’s best UK festivals – find your favourite and get out there this summer

The best UK festivals 2016
By James Manning and Alexandra Gerrity |

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

norman jay
© Dean Chalkely

The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender

Ultimate party weekender lands in Margate for the first time

The Funk & Soul Weekender is back for another three days of brass and bopping. This year, the event will be taking place at Dreamland in Margate, which means revellers get to enjoy the vintage fairground rides, as well as some of the biggest names in jazz, world music, and obviously funk and soul.

Line­-up includes Sister Sledge, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Gilles Peterson, Ezra Collective, Craig Charles, Norman Jay, Roy Ayers, Trojan Soundsystem.

Dreamland Margate. May 29-31. £125 (full weekend pass).


Fat White Family
© Steve Gullick

Bigfoot – Jun 19-21

Ragley Hall. Jun 19-21.
Street food and surprisingly crunchy tunes in Warwickshire

This boutique weekender places a big emphasis on food and drink: 15 restaurants will be dishing up delicacies, and you can wash it all down with libations from more than 50 craft breweries, natural winemakers and artisanal spirit producers. The music is much more than an afterthought, though, with Fat White Family, Little Dragon and some revered DJs supplying the surprisingly crunchy tunes.

Line­-up includes Fat White Family, Little Dragon, Hot Chip Megamix, George Fitzgerald, Erol Alkan, Maribou State (DJ set).


Ata Kak, Awesome Tapes From Africa

Kingdom Festival

Innovative design and dance music unite at this trendy-looking new festival

This new Leicestershire fest from the team behind Peckham Rye event GALA says it wants to 'explore the boundaries between sound, space, music, and architecture'. The line-up includes big names from the clubbing world including Horse Meat Disco, Maurice Fulton and Secretsundaze, and the organisers are promising 'experimental stages, captivating pavilions and unique banqueting experiences'. Sign us up ASAP.

Line­-up includes Kokoroko, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Charlotte Dos Santos, Daniel Avery, Dan Beaumont, Horse Meat Disco, Maurice Fulton, Midlan, Nightmares on Wax DJ, Secretsundaze, Susanna Raiend, Zakia, Yu Su.

Belvoir Castle, Grantham. June 24-27.

TRNSMT Festival

 The new(ish) Scottish fest continues to deliver

Now in its fourth year, this replacement for another big Scottish festival, T In The Park, isn’t messing about in 2020. Liam Gallagher, Courteeners and local lad Lewis Capaldi are headlining, and the bill also includes Rita Ora, Little Simz and Keane.

Line­-up includes:

Fri Jul 10: Courteeners, Ian Brown, Sam Fender, Little Simz, Aitch, Blossoms.

Sat Jul 11: Liam Gallagher, Foals, Keane, Twin Atlantic.

Sun Jul 12:  Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Rita Ora. 

Glasgow Green. July 10-12. 

Download festival_2010_press.jpg

Download Festival

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.

Line­-up includes Kiss, Iron Maiden, System of a Down, Deftones, Korn, The Offspring, Gojira, Disturbed, Alestorm, Black Veil Brides, Daughtry, Of Mice & Men

Donington Park, Donington. June 12-14.

Music, Dance and electronic


Welsh woodland dance fest goes from strength to strength

Now in its 11th year, this boutique festival 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 and disco to afrobeat and electronica). Those who want a little luxury can even shell out for boutique camping.

Line-up includes Channel One, Willow, Helena Hauff, Move D, Young Marco, Saoirse, Craig Richards, Anz, GiGi FM, Call Super.

Carreglwyd Estate, Wales. Jun 11-14 £165.


Isle of Wight

Huge headliners at one of the UK’s biggest rock festivals

Now in its 52nd 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, the IOW fest knows how to please a crowd.

Line­-up includes Lionel Ritchie, Lewis Capaldi, Duran Duran, The Chemical Brothers Happy Mondays, Snow Patrol, Stone Roses, Dido, Kaiser Chiefs, Pete Tong, Becky Hill, Example, Maisie Peters.

Newport, Isle of Wight. Jun 11-14.

Photograph: Louis Roberts / Black Deer Festival

Black Deer Festival

All-out Americana (in Kent)

Fire up the BBQ and don your cowboy boots for this festival of Americana and western music. Back (in black) for its third year, you can expect more country bands than you can shake a slide guitar at, and some great smoked meat to tuck into while you watch.

Line-up includes Wilco, The Waterboys, The Felice Brothers, Amy Montgomery, Madison Violet.

Eridge Park, Kent. Jun 19-21. From £140 (weekend), from £120 (excludes camping).

Glastonbury festival
© Emma Stonner


The Big One.

The UK’s most iconic music festival is back, 
taking over a chunk of Somerset with music, mischief, hippies, healing and a lot of cider. It’s difficult to convey quite how vast Glasto is, with whole worlds of activity taking place outside the arena as well as an awe-inspiring musical line-up ranging from pop to reggae to rock to dubstep to metal to folk to techno. Two of the three headliners have already been announced, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney, and Diana Ross is playing the Sunday afternoon legend slot. But if you’re lucky enough to have bagged a ticket then bring an open mind and a sense of humour, and prepare for the usual transcendent dose of mayhem, madness and (did we mention already?) mud.

Line­-up includes Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, 

Worthy Farm, Pilton. June 26-28.

Love Supreme Jazz Festival
© Mark Bridge

Love Supreme

A very civilised weekend of jazz, soul and more

This genteel weekender in the grounds of an Elizabethan Manor House specialises in jazz, funk, blues, disco, and soul, with a bit of extra pop power this year courtesy of iconic girl-group TLC. There’s also an 80th birthday set from the legendary Candi Staton and a sweet (love) coup in the form of the last ever UK performance from Anita Baker. 

Line-up includes Anita Baker, Candi Staton, TLC, The Roots, The Isley Brothers, Sergio Mendes, Brand New Heavies, Sister Sledge, Nubya Garcia, Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, Kokoroko.

Glynde Place, East Sussex. Jul 3-5. £169.40 (camping), £143 (without camping), £59.40 (day).

The best clubs in Edinburgh


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.

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