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Music festivals calendar: May

This year’s music festival season kicks off in May with some top-notch springtime parties

© Paul Underhill

It’s May and the summer music festival season is just around the corner, so get your spring 2017 festival hat on with our comprehensive calendar of some of this month’s biggest and best UK and London festivals. Choose from Brighton’s The Great Escape or keep it local with We Are FSTVL. And if you want to be really organised, check out upcoming festivals in June, July, August and September with our full 2017 festival calendar.

RECOMMENDED: More UK and London music festivals

UK music festivals in May 2017

The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender

The Soundcrash Funk & Soul Weekender

Three days of soul heaven in Sussex

Top London promoters Soundcrash have started their very own festival, bringing some great acts together for a weekend of juicy funk and blissful soul music. With a line-up of bands and DJs spanning revered veterans and cool newcomers, and a weekend’s chalet accommodation included in the very reasonable ticket price, this looks like a great way to kick off the 2017 festival season.

Line-­up includes: George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Sugarhill Gang, Omar, Crazy P Soundsystem, Gilles Peterson, Soul II Soul, Hot 8 Brass Band, Mr Scruff, Jordan Rakei.

Camber Sands Holiday Camp, East Sussex. May 12-15. £109-£175.

The Great Escape

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: Rag 'n' Bone Man, Ray BLK, Stefflon Don, LA Salami, Cabbage, Dream Wife, Klangstof, Anna Straker.

Various venues, Brighton. May 18-20. £60 (3-day ticket).

Masked Ball

Masked Ball

Boutique beats at a weekend-long masquerade ball

Pack the Ferrero Rochers – the Masked Ball is an after-dark party for wannabe-aristocrats, but with ticket prices that won’t break the bank. Started in 2007, this DJ-centric seaside fest takes place in a colossal coastal guesthouse and fully embraces its ‘boutique’ label. The line-up leans towards disco,house and funk, with some big names on hand. Masquerade dress code essential.

Line-up includes The Cuban Brothers, DJ Food, Felix Dickinson, Horse Meat Disco,  Justin Robertson, LTJ Experience, Norman Jay MBE, PBR Streetgang, PsycheMajik, Shit Robot, Spiritual South, Space Echo and Tiger and Woods.

Porthleven, Cornwall. May 26-28. £45-£59.



A dance-focused rural retreat for all the family

After a few successful years up north, leftfield dance festival Alfresco returns to it's lakeside home in Kent. There’s a line-up of cool DJs and live acts for the parents plus plenty for kids, including a rock ’n’ roller disco, DJing lessons, magic shows and more.

Line-up includes: Paranoid London, Optimo (pictured), Wolfgang Flur (ex-Kraftwerk), Psychemagick, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Felix Dickinson, Paramida.

Colebrook Lakes, Royal Tunbridge Wells. May 26-28. £69, £35 (day).

Common People

Common People

Bestival spin-off that reaches two cities in one weekend

Bestival mastermind Rob Da Bank succesfully turned his sights to the mainland a few years ago with new no-camping venture, Common People. Taking place in Southampton and Oxford in one weekend, it features a few Bestival-sized headliners alongside tons of grime, hip hop, and dance outfits. Street food, boutique bars and bouncy castles are sprinkled around site for good measure. Cheap as chips and no need for a ferry ride.

Line-up includes: Duran Duran, Primal Scream, Kurupt FM, Public Enemy, Lady Leshurr.

South Park in Oxford and Southampton Common in Southampton. May 27-28. £24-£45.

London music festivals in May 2017

Peckham Rye Music Festival

We all know that Peckham loves a good party, so it’s no surprise that this ace, under-the-radar weekender is returning to south London after launching last year. Spread across ten Peckham venues, the line-up boasts some excellent leftfield and alternative names (including some local south-east London talent), covering anything from funk to dub to house and much more. It’s a day and night affair – with four outdoor stages if the weather’s fine – and also features fringe events, workshops, talks and other fun.

Line-up includes: Kode9, Cooly G, Addison Groove, Scratcha DVA, Patrice Scott, Space Dimension Controller, Axel Bowman, DJ Spinn, The Busy Twist, Secretsundaze + more. 

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Various venues , London Friday May 12 2017 - Sunday May 14 2017



Over the last four years WAF has established itself as one of the big guns among the new generation of dance festivals. Returning to London (well, Essex, but it’s on the tube) for two more days this summer, it boasts another heavyweight line-up of globe-conquering DJs, hot rising talents and respected undergrounders: among them Carl Cox, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but bass and garage are also represented, and with this number of esteemed selectors on board you guarantee the always-up-for-it FSTVL crowd will be partying hard and true into the small hours.

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Damyns Hall Aerodrome , Corbets Tey Friday May 26 2017 - Sunday May 28 2017


Eating out is the new going out for many a Londoner, so it’s no surprise that this May bank holiday gathering in Brockwell Park is as much a food event as a confetti-filled music festival. Chefs, restaurants, bars and breweries from all points south of the river will be serving up the goodies, with DJs and live acts helping you dance those calories right back off. There are also traditional fete-style fun and games in the works courtesy of South London record shop Rye Wax. Line-up includes: Paradise Garage, Horse Meat Disco, Honey Soundsystem, Harvey Sutherland, Late Night Tuff Guy, Crazy P Soundsystem.

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Brockwell Park , Herne Hill Sunday May 28 2017

Steel Yard London

This successful offshoot from Creamfields returns for the second year to London and this time packing the trademark 'Steel Yard' superstructure. This massive metal tent will cover Victoria Park, is 20-metres high and can hold a mindblowing 10,000 people. The Saturday with Eric Prydz has already sold out but tickets are available for the Sunday. Line up includes: Eric Prydz, Axwell and Ingrosso

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Victoria Park , Mile End Saturday May 27 2017 - Sunday May 28 2017

Courtyard Festival

If you can’t make it to ace Welsh festival Green Man, don’t worry. The brains behind the event are hosting another boozy bash in good ’ol London at the end of May. Pegged as a beer and cider festival, punters will be able to sip over 100 tasty Welsh brews, but don’t forget the music too, which has been chosen just as carefully as the booze. Catch indie, art pop, alternative rock and singer-songwriters as you sip.

Line-up includes: Bill Ryder-Jones, Hannah Peel, Huw Stephens, Dutch Uncles, The Proper Ornaments, Slug, Pinegrove, Rozi Plain. 

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Lewis Cubitt Square , King's Cross Thursday May 25 2017 - Monday May 29 2017