The best music festivals in London 2019
Over the last six years We Are FSTVL has established itself as one of the seriously big guns among the new generation of dance festivals. Okay, it’s technically in Essex, not London, but it’s still a firm favourite with Londoners, seeing as you can get there on the tube. Big-name dance behemoths and equally big production values are key to the WAF experience. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but you’ll also find grime, garage and bassier flavours too. Line-up includes Andy C, Skream, Chase & Status (DJ set), Craig David presents TS5, DJ Luck & MC Neat.
Returning for a second year after its successful 2018 launch, All Points East is an eclectic ten-day festival that takes over Victoria Park in late May and early June. The opening and closing three-day weekends are given over to music, with 2019 headliners including Christine and the Queens, The Chemical Brothers, Bon Iver and Bring Me the Horizon. In between there are four days of community-driven entertainment on the site, with comedy, film screenings, street food and much more. Those four days are free to enter, with some ticketed events inside. All in all then, a pretty epic event. Line-up includes The Chemical Brothers, The Strokes, Christine and the Queens, Bring Me The Horizon, Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver.
This May gathering has a big focus on street food and craft beer alongside the DJ-driven line-up – beats and eats, as it were. For 2019 it’s returning for the second consecutive year to Peckham Rye Park. The musical roster includes well-regarded big names from the worlds of house, disco and electronica, with Honey Dijon, Auntie Flo (live) and Dan Shake all on the bill. Line-up includes Crazy P (live), Horse Meat Disco, Midland, Honey Dijon.
The second edition of the music-and-nosh festival from the good folks at Kerb, this one-day event celebrates sound system culture with a side order of jerk chicken. The line-up promises a laid-back mix reggae, afrobeat and new wave jazz, while sizzling street food stalls offer everything from pizza and vegan tacos to ginger-beer battered nuggets, from the likes of Wandercrust, Club Mexicano, Shelly Belly's and Only Jerkin’. Tuck in. Line-up includes Kelis, Jazzie B, Omar, General Roots, Greentea Peng, Barney Artist, Kwasiba Savage.
Croydon’s brand new urban music festival doesn’t lack ambition: Lloyd Park will welcome 15,000 music lovers a day from Friday through Sunday, and Nas, Damian Marley and Wizkid have been booked as headliners. Loads more acts are confirmed, too, including reggaeton star J Balvin, hip hop icons De La Soul and local rising star Nadia Rose. Basically, everything’s in place for The Ends to get off to a cracking start. Line-up includes Nas, Damian Marley, Wizkid, J Balvin, Nao, De La Soul, Maleek Berry, Kojo Funds.
Over the last decade Field Day has slowly become one of London’s very best music festivals, with a consistently excellent booking policy covering the world’s finest alternative acts. This year marks another big change for the event; after last year’s move from east London’s Victoria Park to Brixton’s Brockwell Park, it’s relocating again – this time to four huge warehouses in Enfield. The line-up is typically on-point, though, with Skepta and Jorja Smith headlining a bill that also includes Diplo, Earl Sweatshirt and Pusha T. Line-up includes Skepta, Jorja Smith, Earl Sweatshirt, Diplo. Jungle, Todd Terje, Bonobo (DJ set), The Black Madonna.
Now in its third year, Mighty Hoopla is London’s biggest pure pop festival and a highlight of the LGBT+ summer calendar. Chaka Khan will headline this year’s event, which takes place in Brixton’s Brockwell Park for a second year running, but on a Saturday for the first time. The Queen of Funk presides over an impressive line-up that includes girl bands All Saints and Bananarama, plus Liberty X, Samantha Mumba, Jamelia and cult Swedish pop artist Tove Lo. This year’s event will also welcome an array of mostly LGBT+ club nights and venues including Sink The Pink, Guilty Pleasures, Massaoke, The Cocoa Butter Club, Hungama, We Love Pop, The Chateau and The Grand. Basically, it’s safe to presume there will be glitter.
Line-up includes Chaka Khan, Alice Chater, All Saints, Artful Dodger, Bananarama.
Calling all techno heads: in 2019, this bangin’ festival is spreading out over two days for the first time. Junction 2 is a meeting of some pretty serious minds (London Warehouse Events and Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label) and takes place in Boston Manor Park in Zone 4, which has never been used for a festival before. Once again, the line-up is stacked with top DJ talent, but if you get technoed out at any point there’s actually a bit of nature to explore amongst the towering industrial backdrop. Line-up includes Ben UFO, Bicep, Craig Richards, Daniel Avery, Daphni, Jeremy Underground, Motor City Drum Ensemble.
Jazz, funk and soul are having a real purple patch, and there are a host of festivals popping up across London showcasing some of the scene's best talent. Brixton's latest addition, Cross the Tracks, will see legends rub shoulders with rising stars in one place, alongside some ace street food and craft breweries. Line-up includes Chaka Khan, Jordan Rakei, The Comet Is Coming, Oscar Jerome, Nubya Garcia.
The UK’s biggest urban festival takes over Finsbury Park for three days every summer. You’ll get a busy, unpretentious atmosphere and see superstar headliners from both sides of the Atlantic. This year’s picks are at the top of their game, with Cardi B, Migos, Travis Scott, Future and A$AP Rocky all coming to N4. Line-up includes Cardi B, Bugzy Malone, Juice Wrld, Stefflon Don, Rae Sremmurd, Not3s.
For the seventh year running Hyde Park plays host to some of the planet’s biggest musical stars, with an upmarket festival vibe that takes in small stages, theatre and comedy, food and drink and a posh VIP area. The 2019 headliners are shaping up nicely. London's own alt-rock queen Florence and the Machine, and – taking a break from his Vegas residency – Robbie Williams. Oh, some up-and-comers called Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and Stevie Wonder are headlining too... Line-up includes Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Barbara Streisand, Florence and the Machine, The National, Robbie Williams, Black Eyed Peas.
Consistently one of the finest festivals in London, catering for cool kids and party monsters alike, Lovebox generally packs as much fun into two days as many festivals manage in three. This year will be its second out west in Gunnersbury Park, but the vibe hasn't changed since its many years out east. The 2019 line-up is especially stellar, with headliners Solange and Chance the Rapper topping a quality bill that includes south London hip hop king Loyle Carner, rising star Lizzo, Northampton rapper Slowthai, hip hop boyband Brockhampton, innovative beatmaker Kaytranada, superstar European DJ Solumun and the legends Cyprus Hill playing their iconic 1993 release ‘Black Sunday’ in full. In short: it's one not to be missed. Line-up includes Solange, Cypress Hill, Loyle Carner, Kaytranada, Slowthai, Solomun Saturday line-up includes Chance the Rapper, Brockhampton, Four Tet, H.E.R., Action Bronson, Cupcakke, Lizzo, Giggs.
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 – which is where Citadel comes in. Returning to Gunnersbury Park once again as the calmer post-Lovebox antidote, Citadel has more of a chilled vibe to it, but still boasts some top musical acts including Friendly Fires and Dream Wife, plus all manner of other pursuits, including comedy, arts, talks, workshops and lots of top food and drink. Line-up includes Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille, Friendly Fires, Bear’s Den, Honeyblood.
The mighty Alexandra Palace has a lot of strings to its cultural bow, and last year it added another in the form of Kaleidoscope, a one-day music and arts festival. This festival is set to be back for 2019, but the organisers are keeping the line-up underwraps for the timebeing. If last year's is anything to go by – The Flaming Lips, Ghostpoet, Mystery Jets and John Cooper Clarke (amongst others) – it's sure to be a hit. Date TBC. Line-up TBC.
New festivals can sometimes be a hit or miss, but this all-day party from the team behind the legendary Krankbrother street parties is definitely going to be in the first camp. The line-up is a real who's who of the melting pot that is the London jazz, dance and soul scene, with highlights including Henry Wu, Neneh Cherry and Ezra Collective. Line-up includes Neneh Cherry, Ezra Collective, Moses Boyd Exodus, Henry Wu
Returning for a fifth year in Trent Park – a country house estate in Cockfosters – this one-day festival honours all the wonderful varieties of house music across multiple stages hosted by top sound systems and club nights. The organisers have also said that they’re improving the site, going bigger on the production values and bringing in more street food traders, too. Line-up includes Kerri Chandler, Kings of House (Louie Vega and David Morales), Dennis Ferrer, Dimitri From Paris, Soul Clap, Todd Terry, Todd Edwards.
The excellent electro festival returns to south London this year with new stages and its very own pool party – let’s hope the weather obliges. But either way, this year’s line-up should be just as enticing as in previous years, judging by the acts announced so far. Line-up includes MK, Orbital (DJ set), Big Narstie, Skream, Nadia Rose, Hannah Wants, Goldie, Roni Size.
Last year, ever-inventive DJ Artwork took his Art’s House party – which began in his own home, a good few years ago – to the next level by making a whole darn one-day festival out of it. Returning in 2019 to the same, oasis-like venue between Bow and Stratford, Art's House smartly bucks the festival trend of simply heaving name DJs on to a bill. For this one-dayer, Artwork is joined by just one guest, with DJ Harvey returning to man the decks. Both will be playing all day on this fab little slice of (relative) London isolation, plus there's street food, good booze and various entertainments galore. If anyone knows how to throw a party, it’s Artwork.
Going to a festival doesn’t have to mean travelling to Zone 6 and being surrounded by glitter, wellies and overpriced street food for the day. The Southbank Centre has been throwing its own high-brow, multi-day music festival since 1993, and this year Nile Rodgers is taking the reigns. The line-up is yet to be announced, but the producer, guitarist and songwriting supremo has worked with some of the biggest names in the biz, so expect it to include some of the summer’s must-see shows. Line-up includes TBC.
Clubbing outfit Elrow are streamlining their summer festival this year into a one-day-only affair held in the more capacious confines of north London's Trent Park. (Last year's event was a weekender at the smaller Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park). Elrow may be changing locations, but expect the same day-glo, glitter-cannon, super-fun approach to outdoor raving in the capital, plus a line-up curated by Jamie Jones that’ll be packed with more big names than Elton John's birthday party.
Clapham Common’s bank holiday dance music explosion returns for another weekend of big drops, club anthems and arms in the air. If you’re longing for superstar DJs but can’t afford Ibiza and are loath to spend the last days of summer in a dark room, head to SW4 for your fix of big-room house, EDM, electro, techno and trance, as well as other genres creeping in from all angles. Line-up includes Martin Garrix, Tinie Tempah, Craig David presents TS5, Mabel, Plan B.
To celebrate two decades at the top of its game, London imprint and supreme party planner Defected is throwing a five-stage one-day shindig to close the festival season in style. Line-up includes Todd Terry, Horse Meat Disco, Joey Negro, Todd Edwards, Honey Dijon.
The hefty dance party organised by south London drum and bass label Hospital Records returns to Finsbury Park for a fourth year. Surprisingly enough, D&B is set to be the main focus. Although the line-up is yet to be announced, expect a carefully chosen collection of old-school masters, big-hitting names and newer blood. One for the party-heads. Line-up includes TBC.
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