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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
By James Manning and Alexandra Gerrity |
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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 2016. See you down the front!

 

The UK's best festivals

Live at Leeds competition

Live at Leeds

One-day multi-venue fest returns to the northern hub

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 Sundara Karma, Tom Grennan, Metronomy, Drenge, Kate Tempest, Sam Fender, The Sherlocks.

Various venues across Leeds. May 4. £38.

BUY LIVE AT LEEDS TICKETS HERE

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 Kwengface, Mathilda Homer, Walt Disco, SKYND, Wooze, Self Esteem, Lewis Capaldi.

Various venues, Brighton. May 9-11. £TBC (day tickets and two-day passes), £70 (three-day ticket).

BUY THE GREAT ESCAPE TICKETS HERE

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Love Saves The Day

House, techno and D&B in Bristol

Love Saves The Day hits Bristol’s Eastville Park with another massive line-up of DJs and live acts. From house and techno to grime, reggae and D&B, with a sprinkling of live acts, LSTD’s musical menu offers a tasty spread. And with the guys behind Glastonbury’s Wow Stage and Croatia’s Love International festival at the helm, you know all those little other details that make a festival great will be taken care of.

Line­-up includes Lily Allen, Chase & Status, IAMDBB, Maribou State, Jimothy Lacoste, Little Simz, Bonobo (DJ set), Slowthai,  Sub Focus (DJ set), DJ Hype.

Eastville Park, Bristol. May 25-26. £85 weekend, £45 (Sat), £39.50 (Sun).

BUY LOVES SAVES THE DAY TICKETS HERE

Bullet For My Valentine
© Chapman Bauer

Slam Dunk Festival

The pop-punk and hardcore festival that travels the country

Taking place at two different venues over two days, Slam Dunk lets you mosh in Leeds or Hatfield, where it’s outgrown the university and moves to a new site at Hatfield Park. Really keen? You can purchase a ‘megaticket’ to smash both of them. 

Line-up includes All Time Low, Bullet For My Valentine, NOFX, New Found Glory, Neck Deep, Bad Religion, glassjaw, Less Than Jake, Simple Plan. 

Various venues, Leeds, May 25. Hatfield Park, May 26. From £59. 

BUY SLAM DUNK FESTIVAL TICKETS HERE

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Daniel Avery - Press Nov 4 LARGE.jpg

AVA Festival

Electronic music showcase turned banging warehouse party

Officially titled the Audio Visual Arts Festival and Conference, and created in 2015 to celebrate and promote Northern Ireland’s electronic music scene, AVA has turned into a two-day festival famous for also showcasing just how hard locals can party. Last year's warehouse spot is on the agenda again, and is suitable for the international names it attracts – although it’s local acts that really whip up the crowd. 

Line-up includes Ben UFO, The Black Madonna, Daniel Avery, Horse Meat Disco, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Mall Grab.

S13 Warehouse, Belfast. May 31-Jun 1. £75.

BUY AVA FESTIVAL TICKETS HERE

Parklife 2015
© Andrew Whitton

Parklife

Mad fer it, inner-city Manchester party: no tents required

This Manchester weekender may sound like a Britpop nostalgia fest, but it actually has a super-contemporary, genre-blending bill to rival the best of them. (Plus a bit of a coup in the form of The Streets' first UK festival appearance in six years.) And, 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 Airbnb) before heading back for Day Two.

Line­-up includes Solange, Cardi B, Migos, The Streets, Khalid, Disclosure, Mark Ronson, George Ezra, Nas, Christine and the Queens

Heaton Park, Manchester. June 8-9. £69.50 (Sunday), £95 (Saturday), £125 (weekend).

BUY PARKLIFE TICKETS HERE

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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 Def Leppard, Slipknot, Tool, Slash, The Smashing Pumpkins, Trivium, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Halestorm.

Donington Park, Donington. June 14-16. £210 (camping), £185 (ticket only).

BUY DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL TICKETS HERE

Music, Dance and electronic

Gottwood

Welsh woodland dance fest goes from strength to strength

Now in its tenth 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 to disco to afrobeat to electronica). Those who want a little luxury can even shell out for boutique camping.

Line-up includes Andrew Weatherall B2B Manfredas, Craig Richards, Hunee, dBridge, Kink (live), Palms Trax.

Carreglwyd Estate, Wales. Jun 6-9. £180.

BUY GOTTWOOD TICKETS HERE

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Isle of Wight

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

Now in its 51st 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 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Fatboy Slim, Biffy Clyro, George Ezra, Anne-Marie, Madness, James, Lily Allen, Bastille.

Newport, Isle of Wight. June 21-24. £175 (weekend), £60 (Fri), £70 (Sat/Sun).

BUY ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL TICKETS HERE




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 second 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 Band of Horses, John Butler Trio, The Staves, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, The Mavericks, Neko Case, The Dead South.

Eridge Park, Kent. Jun 21-23. From £125 (weekend), from £105 (excludes camping).

BUY BLACK DEER FESTIVAL TICKETS HERE

The best clubs in Glasgow

La Cheetah, Clubs, Glasgow
© Stephen Robinson
Clubs

The best clubs in Glasgow

With a reputation as good as Glasgow's, it's easy to see why so many clubbers make the pilgrimage from far and wide to sample one of the UK's best clubbing cities. We've picked our best clubs from Glasgow's many, so all you need to do is take your pick and prepare to party - aural treats for your ears and feet await.

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