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The best UK festivals 2019

We’ve cherry-picked this year’s best UK music festivals – find your favourite and get out there this summer
The best UK festivals 2017
By Nick Levine and Oliver Keens |

Don’t believe the naysayers: it’s boom time for UK festivals. Every summer brings a new crop of innovative summer music festivals in London and the rest of the country 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 2019. See you down the front!

The UK’s best festivals in 2019

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.


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).



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).


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. 


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.


Parklife 2015
© Andrew Whitton


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).


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

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


Music, Dance and electronic


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.



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).


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).


Music, Music festivals


icon-location-pin Cornbury Park, London

A vibrant and varied Oxfordshire weekender

The ever-magical August getaway returns for its ninth year in Oxfordshire. Wilderness’s music bills have got better and better over the years, and its 2019 line-up is led by headliners Robyn, Groove Armada and Bombay Bicycle Club. But as ever, Wilderness isn't just about great sounds: from outdoor theatre to talks and debates, horse riding to yurt-building, a lakeside spa and even long table banquets with leading chefs, this is much more than a music festival. 

Love Supreme Jazz Festival
© Mark Bridge

Love Supreme

A very civilised weekend of jazz and more

Love Supreme specialises in jazz, funk, blues and soul, with a bit of extra pop power when it comes to the headliners. The lush and laid-back setting in the grounds of an Elizabethan manor house sets the tone at this genteel weekender, but if you’re after a late-evening pick-me-up then look out for the electronic artists that also pepper the line-up.

Line-up includes Ms. Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight, Chick Corea, Snarky Puppy, Jamie Cullum, Madeleine Peyroux, Kamaal Williams. 

Glynde Place, East Sussex. Jul 5-7. £169.40 (camping), £143 (without camping), £59.40 (day).



Shindig Festival

Beats aplenty in a picturesque Somerset setting

This increasingly popular gathering set deep in Somerset’s rolling hills offers the perfect start to festival season. With an assortment of stages dotted about the beautiful site, the bass and break-heavy soundtrack is sure to sound pretty blissful. Add a super-friendly crowd and you have all you need for a weekend of wholesome misadventure. Gert Lush. 

Line-up includes Estelle, Kenny Dope, Huey Morgan's NYC Block Party, Benjamin Zephaniah, Don Letts, Audio Bullys

Gilscombe Park, Somerset. May 24-25. £138.45 (weekend tickets)


Truck Festival

An intimate, indie-leaning July weekender

Since launching in 1998, this Oxfordshire weekender has established itself as one of the UK's best-loved small festivals. The pictureque location near Chipping Norton is a winner, and the line-up delivers ace after an ace if you're an indie fan.

Line-up includes Wolf Alice, Slaves, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, Kate Nash, The Futureheads, Sea Girls, Slaves, Idles, You Me At Six

Hill Farm, Oxfordshire. Jun 26-28. £110 (weekend camping)



El Dorado
El Dorado

El Dorado

A weekend of disco and dance returns to Herefordshire

Organised by party specialists Cirque du Soul, El Dorado is marking its fourth year in style. The intimate event is bringing together all strands of dance music – from disco to DnB – for a proper weekend-long knees-up in a beautiful country park. Expect UK exclusives and three solid days of dancing.

Line-up includes Kool & The Gang, Andy C, Todd Terje (DJ set), Romare (live), Mall Grab, Artwork, Detroit Swindle, Shy FX, DJ Zinc, Joey Negro, Mr Scruff.

Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Herefordshire. Jul 5-7. £146.25.


Y Not Festival

An intimate, indie-leaning July weekender

Since launching in 1998, this Oxfordshire weekender has established itself as one of the UK's best-loved small festivals. The pictureque location near Chipping Norton is a winner, and the line-up delivers ace after an ace if you're an indie fan.

Line-up includes Elbow, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals, Franz Ferdinand, You Me At Six, Wolf Alice, Happy Mondays, Echo & 

Pikehall, Derbyshire. Jul 26-20. £110 (weekend camping)


Bluedot Festival


Head up to Cheshire for a spacey weekend under the stars with Kraftwerk and New Order

How does partying for a weekend in a deep space observatory sound? Not too shabby, right? So do yourself a favour and check out this mind-opening festival that combines music, science and tech, all with the vast Lovell Telescope in the background. Held at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, Bluedot offers punters a chance to get intergalactic, alongside alternative bands, live science experiments, talks and ‘cosmic culture’ events. Truly far out. 

Line-up includes Kraftwerk 3D, New Order, Hot Chip, Anna Calvi, Kate Tempest, The Go! Team.

Jodrell Bank, Cheshire. Jul 19-21. £169 (weekend).

Latitude Festival
Rob Whitworth


Big hitters and rising stars combine at this family-friendly Suffolk shindig

Check your Insta feeds over Latitude weekend and you’ll see one overriding star of the show: a troupe of pastel-coloured sheep. The bleating residents of Henham Park will be returning for another year of laid-back, family-friendly fun, with children’s theatre, stand-up comedy, woodland activities and lake swimming intermingling among the musical treats. With George Ezra, Lana Del Rey and Snow Patrol headlining, and Loyle Carner, Neneh Cherry and Sigrid on the bill too, Latitude has pulled off another cool, crowd-pleasing mix.

Line-­up includes Lana Del Rey, George Ezra, Snow Patrol, Loyle Carner, Neneh Cherry, Sigrid, Primal Scream, Slaves, Tom Grennan

Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Jul 18-21. £202.50 (weekend) £77.50 (day).


Chase&Status_Kendal Calling.jpg

Kendal Calling

A music-focused festival nestled in the Lake District

Kendal Calling has quickly grown from humble beginnings into a destination fest for big-name acts, and this year's bill peppers the usual pop, rock and indie acts with a sprinkling of disco, dance, soul and pop artists (this year, distinctly nostalgic) indie outfits. Music is the mainstay, but if you’re after some boutique touches there are plenty of those too, such as workshops, craft booze and film screenings.

Line-up includes Courteeners, Doves, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Manic Street Preachers, Orbital, Years & Years, Mahalia, Tom Jones, Miles Kane, Slowthai, The Fratellis

Lowther Deer Park, Lake District. Jul 25-28. £139 (with £30 add-on for Thursday access too).


Standon Calling

Charming villagey event in the depths of Hertfordshire

Continuing the trend for festivals that started in someone’s back garden and then got huge, Standon Calling returns for its fourteenth year of boutique fun. As well as solid, genre-straddling line-ups, there’ll be all kinds of kooky fun to engage in too: from a swimming pool and a celebrated dog show (bring your pooch) to after-hours clubbing and a comedy programme.

Line-up includes Rag'N'Bone Man, Wolf Alice, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Echo & The Bunnymen, Idles, Kate Nash, The Go! Team. 

Standon Lordship, Hertfordshire. Jul 25-28. £169.


Boomtown Fair
Ian Taylor


The temporary town pops back up for another carnival weekend

This annual shindig is a pop-­up cathedral short of being a full­-blown city. Every year the Matterley Bowl estate becomes a magical town full of hypnotic basslines and mind­bending installations. Music ranges from the underground to outer space – with a few big-name (but still largely alternative) acts and DJs – plus the roster of activities (which has matured in recent years), including banqueting, craft and healing areas as well as Boomtown’s traditional mutated ‘art vehicles’. After dark, the hordes of party-heads come out to soak up enough beats, dub, ska and reggae to see them through until daybreak. And this year's event is especially intriguing because it includes the launch of Area 404, 'an industrial post-apocalyptic themed district' whose main stage is headlined by Carl Cox, Four Tet and Amelie Lens.

Line­-up includes Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets, Groove Armada, Slaves, Salt-N-Pepa, Asian Dub Foundation, Kate Tempest, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Carl Cox, Four Tet, Amelie Lens 

Matterley Estate, Hampshire. Aug 7-11. Four-day tickets from £236.50


Gilles Peterson
Photo: © Youri Lenquette

We Out Here

Gilles Peterson brings his worldwide vibes to a UK location

Liked the idea of Worldwide Festival in the south of France never quite got round to going? You're in luck. DJ and all-round great guy Gilles Peterson is bringing his blend of electronica, jazz, dance and world music to the old Secret Garden Party site in Cambridgeshire. This year is the first edition, but it's bound to be a good'un.

Line-up includes Gary Bartz, Matthew Herbert, Tirzah, The Comet is Coming, Sons of Kemet, Nubya Garcia, Theo Parrish, Joe Armon-Jones, Gilles Peterson

Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire. Aug 15-18. £167, £156 (15-18 years), £66 (10-14 years), free (under 10).


Green Man music festival

Green Man

Tasteful alternative music for civilised folk, with added scenic plus-points

Too old for Reading and Leeds but still want to get a bit squiffy in a field this August? Well, look no further than Green Man: the thinking person’s weekender of choice, complete with a line up plucked straight out of a BBC 6Music wet dream. Set in the lush surrounds of the Brecon Beacons, this one’s as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the ears. And while Green Man definitely falls on the calmer end of the festie spectrum, you can still merrily chug on box wine into the wee small hours.

Line-­up includes Four Tet, Father John Misty, Idles, Sharon Van Etten, Amadou & Mariam, Broken Social Scene, Whitney

Brecon Beacons, Wales. Aug 15-18. £189.



The beats don't stop at the UK's most iconic dance festival

Definitely the most prolific and voluminous dance music festival in the UK, this three-day event sees stadium DJs mix it up with cooler underground spin-masters. Expect a relentless mix of radio-friendly house anthems, fist-pumping trance, stadium techno and a hint of gut-wrenching drum 'n' bass. With so much to bop to, making it through till last thing on Sunday will give you 'hardcore caner' status for eternity – a badge of honour which many of the loyal Creamfields crowd already carry.

Line-­up includes Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, Chemical Brothers, Martin Garrix, Faithless, Annie Mac, Helena Hauff, Pete Tong, Hannah Wants, The Black Madonna, Gorgon City

Daresbury, Cheshire. Aug 22-25. £85 (Saturday), £90 (Sunday), £175 (weekend non-camping), £185 (weekend camping).


Lost Village festival, 2017
© Max Miechowski

Lost Village

Get back to nature with this fest in the woods

This small but perfectly formed dance festival in the woods outside Lincoln offers more than just tons of excellent DJs and live acts. There’ll be high-quality street food, craft beer, cocktails, comedy and a ‘lake of tranquillity’, where you zen the heck out after all the dancing. Plus you’ve got a wild woodland setting to roam around in.

Line-up includes Maribou State, Bicep, Little Dragon, Norman Jay, Hunee, Jayda G, Richie Hawtin, Modeselektor

Norton Disney, Lincolnshire. Aug 22-25. From £159.


End of the Road_2010_press.jpg

End of the Road

Uber-credible picks from indie’s weirder corners 

Landing in the sacred crossover point between namedrop-friendly muso faves and bands that are actually, y’know, fun, Dorset season-closer End of the Road has been excelling itself on the line-up front in recent years. From high-shine leftfield pop to grizzled post-punk, they’ve got all the bases covered. Add to that a solid programme of arts and literature, plus an increasing nod to late-night larks, and you’ve got a veritable playground for the more discerning 20-, 30- and 40-something.

Line­-up includes Metronomy, Beirut, Michael Kiwanuka, Spiritualized, Courtney Barnett, Mitski, Sleaford Mods, Jarvis Cocker, Low, Deerhunter, Wire

Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset. Aug 29-Sep 1. £192.

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Music, Music festivals

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