Once upon a time going to a UK festival meant standing in a muddy field, surrounded by drunk teenagers. But over the last ten years the whole scene has undergone something of a makeover. For us lucky 21st century revellers, the current wave of boutiquey UK festivals come packed to the gills with things to see and do – not just music, there’s everything from spoken word poetry to archery to wild swimming. And, of course, there’s been a huge uptick in the quality of the food and drink too. No more sorry hamburgers and lukewarm lager.
There’s only one problem: with so much to do, staying fighting fit can be a challenge. That’s where Naked come in. Their smoothies* are the perfect pick-me-up for the weary festival-goer. A healthy boost when you need it most and the ideal addition to any serious festival essentials kit. Travelling light? No problem. Pop by the Naked juice bar – you can’t miss it: the place is exploding with colour – at Wilderness, Lattitude and Festival No 6 for a deliciously fruity top-up. And while you’re there, check out Naked Colourtopia: a hands-on art project that will really get your creative juices flowing.
Before you read more about the UK festival scene, give our competition a go: win a pair of VIP tickets to Festival No 6.
*Naked smoothies contain vitamin C which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Six brilliant UK festivals in 2017
An exclusive party on a 5,000 acre estate in Oxfordshire? It’s easy to see why some people have Wilderness pegged as the poshest of all UK festivals. But leaving that to one side, what can’t be denied is the sheer brilliance and variety of this four-day extravaganza of music, performance art, debate, and, er, mouse taxidermy (yes, really). Okay, you’ll have to pay that bit extra for some of the more luxurious activities – The Chef’s Table banquet with food prepared by some of the UK’s most exciting cordon bleus, for example – but who doesn’t deserve a treat once in awhile.
Line up includes: Grace Jones, Two Door Cinema Club, Michael Kiwanuka, Toots and the Maytals, Bonobo, First Aid Kit, Jackmaster, Nightmares on Wax
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. August 3-6
For children of the Sixties, Portmeirion, home to music and arts celebration Festival No.6, has a special resonance. The Welsh seaside resort was the setting for cult TV show ‘The Prisoner’. (No.6 is a reference to the show’s jailed protagonist who was forever trying to escape his shadowy captors.) These days punters escape to this fantastical Mediterranean-style resort in search of family-friendly entertainment. And this year, like every year, there’s an eclectic line-up of bands, plus various arts, poetry and, spoken word events. Also, dressing up is strongly encouraged, so get thinking about your outfit.
Line-up includes: Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Bloc Party, Rag’n’Bone Man, The Cinematic Orchestra, Wild Beasts, Laura Mvula
Portmeirion, Wales. September 7-10
Latitude: home of colourful sheep and even more colourful bands. Now in its 12th year, the festival was a bit of a trailblazer back in the day, with myriad family-friendly boutiquey fests popping up in its wake. Tucked away in the Suffolk countryside, close to Henham Park lake (remember to bring your togs for an outdoor swim), Latitude has it all: bands, comedians, spoken word acts and theatre. Oh, and for late-night revellers merry on the first-class local ale, DJs spinning records in the nearby woods. Tree-mendous.
Line up includes: Goldfrapp, The Horrors, Mumford and Sons, The 1975, Leon Bridges, Fleet Foxes, Public Sector Broadcasting, John Cale, Mavis Staples
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. July 13-16
The brainchild of DJ Rob Da Bank, Bestival has been garlanded with awards for its exciting line-ups, magical setting and dress-up fun (this year’s theme is ‘colour’, so expect some eye-catching attire). There are big changes afoot this year, with the festival shifting from its usual base on the Isle of Wight to Lulworth Cove in Dorset, the home of its sister event, Camp Bestival. But you can count on the same dizzying mix of music, theatre and eye-popping spectacles. Plus if you find love on site, you can always get hitched at the inflatable church. We do, we do, we do!
Line-up includes: The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Dizzee Rascal, Pet Shop Boys, Jamie T, DJ Shadow, Rag'n'Bone Man, Soul II Soul, Annie Mac, Ray BLK, Toddla T, Nadia Rose, Andy C
Lulworth Cove, Dorset. September 7-10
One for the hedonists, this. There’s so much glorious madness to be had at Secret Garden Party that the music, excellent though the line-ups tend to be, can often play second fiddle. How does a time-travelling party ship sound? Or an imaginarium that hosts 'martian smugglers'? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Home to magical treehouses and floating islands, SGP is basically an enchanted forest in the Cambridgshire countryside where it’s socially acceptable to go as loopy as possible. This year’s dress-up theme is celebrity, so expect to see a fair few Kanye West lookalikes racing pigs or some such madness. Our advice: leave your dignity at home and party like a rock star.
Line-up includes: Metronomy, Toots & The Maytals, Honne, Jagwar Ma, Akala, Rejjie Snow, Ray BLK, Let's Eat Grandma
Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire. July 20-23
The Japanese host a festival against the stunning backdrop of Mount Fuji, and in recent years Wales has got in on the act too, with Green Man, a four-day event set among the stunning Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons. Despite ballooning in size in recent years, Green Man has maintained its eco-friendly, corporate-shy ethos, and is notable for its genial, low-key vibe. Music-wise, the line-up cleaves towards the indie side of things. But there’s also DJs, folkies and an impressive array of alt-comedy stars. Green is most definitely for go.
Line-up includes: PJ Harvey, Ryan Adams, Michael Kiwanuka, Lambchop, Angel Olsen, Conor Oberst, Badbadnotgood, Shame, Deep Throat Choir
Brecon Beacons, Wales. August 17-20