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11 British music festivals with a difference

Who needs big headliners? The new generation of British music festivals has enough creativity, fun and hedonism for all

By James Manning
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‘The festival circuit has peaked’. That was the widely reported verdict of music promoter Harvey Goldsmith at last month’s Hay literary festival. ‘There’s too many of them and there are not enough big acts to headline them. That is a big, big problem.’
 
We take a slightly different view on that. Yes, it’s true that the rock titans and million-dollar headliners of old might be on their way out. But who needs them? A new generation of great British music festivals has thrived by building their own world of hedonistic, creative fun which offer all-round entertainment, making fans and artists want to return to every summer. Today’s festival circuit isn’t about fat chequebooks: it’s about big imaginations.
 
We don’t know whether there’ll always be a market for the current top tier of festival behemoths. What we do know is there’s magic to be found in a field not far from you this summer. Several festivals like Green Man and Secret Garden Party have already sold out this year, so you’ll need to get booking. The only question is: just what is it that you want to do…? 
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