UK music festivals seem to have it all, from pop princesses to deathcore mosher via just about everything in between and, with Manchester’s Parklife rearing it’s head, the Festival season in the UK is nearly with us. To help you get organised I decided to make a list of the top UK music festivals this summer, so prepare for some seriously good line-ups and some pretty awesome surprises…
Top UK Music Festivals 2015
Saturday 6th to Sunday 7th June
Starting off the UK music festivals season is Parklife, Manchester’s massive music festival in the city’s Heaton Park. Drawing from Manchester’s awesome music and party scene (there’s a stage run by the notorious Warehouse Project, a mecca for Mancs looking for a good time and some all-night partying), the festival has grown into a vast event with eight stages and loads more going on. Confirmed so far in this year’s line-up are electronic duo Disclosure, singer George Ezra and the incredibly funky Jungle, as well as Mark Ronson, Metronomy, Everything Everything and Ella Eyre plus loads of other big names.
Next up we head from north to south for the Isle of Wight festival, which this year boasts a pretty impressive line-up with headliners Fleetwood Mac bringing some Californian cool back to Blighty this summer, as well as 90s icons Blur and The Prodigy. There will also be performances from Pharell, The Black Keys, Paolo Nutini and Jess Glynne, plus the stunning homegrown harmonies of The Struts as well as Foxes, who is starting to make it big after some pretty high-profile features. The Isle of Wight festival always offers up a varied mix, and with more artists to be confirmed there could be some surprises on the way.
How much? Starting at £145 for a teenager weekend ticket, with £180 student weekend tickets and £195 for the full weekend ticket, camping included
Back up to the Midlands this time, and on the same weekend as Isle of Wight fest we have Download – probably the UK’s most popular and best known rock and metal festival and with the kind of line-up that would make any rocker willing to give his right arm – if maybe not his guitar – for a ticket! This year features classics such as Kiss, Judas Priest and Motley Crue, as well as big names like Muse, Slipknot, Rise Against, Lamb of God and Marilyn Manson. A paradise for all things rock-and-roll, this year there’ll be a new real ale pub on site so you can grab a pint after rocking out to some explosive riffs.
How much? £205 for standard tickets, but with three day and five day camping options available there’s loads of options
This 10 day music extravaganza is a music festival in the loosest sense – with two weekends of music and comedy in between in London’s Hyde Park, there’s not really any camping at this event. Effectively a series of epic concerts, this year’s line-up has country girl turned pop princess Taylor Swift, The Strokes, The Who, Blur, and Kylie, who’ll be supported by diva Grace Jones, as well as some straight-up disco from Chic feat. Nile Rogers. You know that the line-up is unbelievably good when the likes of Ellie Goulding and Grace Jones are the warm-up acts!
Predictably enough, Glastonbury has already sold out – tickets to the UK’s most famous music festival are like gold dust. For those of you lucky enough to have already bagged yourself some tickets though, you’ve got an amazing time ahead of you! This year’s line-up features controversial choice Kanye West, along with The Who, Foo Fighters and Motorhead. Worth looking out for this year are French twin duo Ibeyi, whose African-inspired dark R&B will feed your soul. Florence + the Machine will also be performing, with her hotly-tipped new album out at the start of June, and electro-pop breakouts Years and Years will be showing that there’s more to them than their famous track King. Glasto is now officially a performing arts event and not just a music festival, with so many weird and wonderful events going on that you’re sure never to have a dull moment. The rest of us will be watching the BBC coverage and feeling jealous of you.
How much? Bit late now, as Glasto notoriously sells out in hours… Guess we’ll just have to watch it one of the best UK music festivals on the TV! Look for accommodation >>
T In The Park, Kinross
Friday 10th to Sunday 12th July
Now we’re heading all the way up to Scotland for the massive T In The Park, which is also boasting a pretty awesome line-up this year. With Avicii, Kasabian, The Prodigy and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds all taking to the stage, there’s some pretty big names in the ring, and when you add pop sensation Charli XCX, fresh off her success with Iggy Azalea and their track Fancy and the insanely catchy Clean Bandit you know you’ve got pure pop on tap. If you’re feeling a little more indie Alt-J will be playing, as well as the critically-acclaimed and sassy girl rocker St. Vincent. And how could you possibly miss Hozier after his break-out Take Me To Church?
If any UK music festivals have higher, artier aspirations it’s Latitude. This family-friendly festival has various performing arts shows on it’s side stages, but the music remains the main event. This year features indie rockers Alt-J, whose distinctive vocals and chest-thumping basslines made their debut album a massive break-through success. Now touring after the release of their second album, this is one group you really won’t want to miss. Joining them are Portishead, all-female indie chill Warpaint, Wild Beasts, Django Django (who also have new material), up-and-comer Kwabs and La Roux, who’s back after a long break following from her sensational first album. Not to be missed.
When it comes to chilled out, happy and fun UK music festivals then look no further than Lovebox. At first glance it may look like a hipster’s paradise but this festival is so laid back you won’t need a 6 inch beard or ‘ironic’ cartoon jewellery to fit in. A day festival there’s no camping at Lovebox but in central London you won’t need to look too far to find accommodation (I’ve added a link below to get you started). As for the festival itself this year you can expect to see bigger names than ever before including Snoop Dogg, Rudimental, Jessie Ware, Ella Eyre, Mark Ronson, Bonobo, Flume and Hot Chip. From Hot Chip to hot tip…. I’d definitely recommend finding the hammock area in the festival for a kick back and deep & meaningful conversation with strangers you’ll never meet again. What’s a festival for if not for bonding with nutjobs you’ll never forget.
Camp Bestival is arguably the UK’s best family festival, and not to be confused with Bestival itself which takes place in September. This year features artists as varied as Clean Bandit, Kaiser Chiefs and Professor Green, as well as Ella Henderson and Ella Eyre. Well worth seeing is the rapper / writer / playwright Kate Tempest, whose London inspired hip-hop tells stories through beats. Aside from the music there’s loads of events and activities for all ages, so the whole family will be happy.
A bit of a contrast from Camp Bestival, Bloodstock is the UK’s premiere metal festival. This year’s line-up include classics like Rob Zombie, as well as big names such as Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Opeth, Napalm Death and Korpiklaani. The line-up features more obscure subgenres than I could ever mention here, making this festival a metalhead’s paradise.
The lovely and literary Welsh border town of Hay-On-Wye has a strange visitor every summer – the Green Man. This indie festival has humble beginnings, but now hosts some pretty big names. St. Vincent, popularly acclaimed as one of the coolest things in rock music at the moment, will be gracing the festival with her presence, as with the electro stylings of Hot Chip, who are there to support their new album. Wry indie can be found from Father John Misty, as make sure not to miss out on the enchanting voice of Aurora, a Norwegian up-and-comer whose soaring pop and gorgeous folky ballads will be bringing a bit of Nordic flavour to this year’s Green Man.
This huge festival combines comedy greats with, more importantly, it’s fair share of awesome musicians. This year’s line up features superstar DJ Calvin Harris, Kasabian, and Goldie, as well as the great vocals of George Ezra and the folk-pop-electro-dance credentials of Ellie Goulding. If you’re feeling something a bit more old-school that’s there too, with the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen taking to the stage. The comedy tent will be featuring big names like Frankie Boyle and Russell Kane, so there’s definitely something for everyone, and with two locations – the original in Essex and V’s northern cousin in Staffordshire, you’re never going to be too far away from the fun.
The original North / South duo, Reading and Leeds have a long and prestigious history – Nirvana’s 1992 Reading performance has gone down in history of the UK music festivals as one of the greatest rock moments. A massive festival spread over three days, this year’s line-up features musical heavyweights Metallica and Kendrick Lamar, along with big British acts such as Alt-J, Mumford and Sons and Bastille. Bring Me The Horizon and metal duo Royal Blood will be playing the main stage, along with emo giants Panic! At The Disco. Smaller groups like Wolf Alice, Gorgon City and Years & Years will also be represented, along with some new faces that you’ve probably never heard of before but you will definitely be hearing more from soon! With a party atmosphere and some pretty cool food, Leeds and Reading pack in everything you could want from a top UK music festival, and manage to secure amazing line-ups year in, year out.
Marking the end of the UK music festivals season comes Bestival, yet another festival on the Isle of Wight. Last but most definitely not least, Bestival has a mind-blowing line-up this year. With 80s powerhouse Duran Duran headlining alongside the Chemical Brothers and the likes of Rudimental and Skrillex. The curiously named Lily Allen presents Funlord will be getting people’s attention, as well as up and coming pop diva Charli XCX. If you’re in the mood for something a little funkier then Jungle will be performing, along with megastar music producer Mark Ronson. If quirky singer-songwriters are more your thing, the summer-sweet tones of Lianne La Havas will be the perfect end to your festival season, and the festival will also be welcoming the incredibly talented and enigmatic FKA Twigs, whose dark and experimental R&B has been setting fires across the internet for the past year now. All in all, we can totally forgive the name Bestival when they deliver like they have this year!
If all this doesn’t leave you in the mood for festival season, I don’t know what will! Apart from Glastonbury all the UK music festivals listed still have tickets available (as of date of writing) but they won’t take long to sell out too! For those of us not lucky enough to get tickets, there are TV broadcasts of the biggest festivals – so even if you can’t get away and go wild in a field, you can at least hear some awesome music! How many of these top UK music festivals have you ticked off your list? And are there any that I’ve missed out and should know about? Let me know in the comments below!
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