It’s no secret I bloody love festivals. Day drinking, living like a nomad, dancing to DJs, sleeping in tents, washing in lakes… I love it. Last summer Ed and I did a good chunk of the festival circuit, and this summer is set to be no different. In fact, we kicked things off this weekend with two days at Field Day! I had the enviable gig of writing the Grazia festival guide again, a task I don’t take lightly, so I’m feeling not only extra GIDDY with excitement, but also clued up on the line ups and the best weekends of the summer. In case you missed the issue a couple of weeks back, here’s the unedited copy that will hopefully inspire how and where you spend the rest of your summer. Whether you want luxury teepees, gourmet feasts, wild swimming or dancing ‘til the morning, the perfect festival for you is out there. Chances are, I'll see you there.
(Ps. scroll right to the bottom to see the Grazia spread)
Free and wild
Let loose, embrace nature and unleash your inner hippy at these stunning free and wild festivals. Sleep in a tipi, wild swim your hangover away, and party in the wilderness well into the night.
Farr Festival, Hertfordshire — 14-16th July
What started a few friends gathering in the woods has fast turned into one of the UK’s leading electronic music festivals. This year’s line up is a banger: John Talabot, Midland, Move D, Gilles Peterson, Joy Orbison… it goes on. Pack your tent and your sleeping bag (though we’re not sure how much sleep you’ll get) and dance yourself silly.
Wilderness, Oxfordshire — 4-7th August
From the live music to the contemporary arts, unique dining experiences, wild swimming and craftsmanship, Wilderness is probably the most wholesome weekend of the year. Whether you want to wake up early for a trail run, zen out for a yoga session, indulge in a banquet feast, or dance to DJs until the morning, here, in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, you’ve got options.
Festival No. 6, Portmerion, Wales — 1st-4th September
Like something out of a fairytale, Festival No.6 is truly remote and beautiful. Held in the picturesque village of Portmerion, Wales, it has people travelling from miles and miles away so to be part of the enchanting weekend, comprised of performance art, installations, intimate talks, live music, conversations, and plenty more. Music genres span rock and roll, folk, house, techno and dance with acts this year including Hot Chip, Noel Gallagher, Bastille, Andrew Weatherall, Leon Vynehall and Maribou State. As for accommodation options, Festival No.6 does them well. Choose between a castle, a cottage, a boutique tipi, or your own tent.
London day festivals
London really comes alive in the summer, especially with the myriad of great day festivals over the summer. Party all day, then sleep in your own bed at night. The dream!
Sunfall, Brockwell Park — 9th July
Brand new for this year, Sunfall is day festival brought to South London’s Brockwell Park from the guys behind Dimensions festival. Reflecting the eclectic sounds of London, festival goers can anticipate a big ol’ mix, from jazz to electronica, house, disco and drum & bass, and a lineup that includes Jamie XX, Joy Orbison, and Fatima Yamaha. Come nightfall the party continues and the crowds splits to a handful of different venues. It’ll be a sorry Saturday to miss.
Citadel Festival, Victoria Park — 17th July
And if Lovebox isn’t your scene, there’s Citadel. Victoria Park transforms overnight into a more chilled out, hippy-loving atmosphere with yoga classes, relaxation sessions, feasts and banquets, live theatre, and workshops. ‘Course, there’s music too. Caribou is playing a London exclusive, along with Sigur Ros, Lianne La Havas and Maribou State to name just a few.
Don’t fancy camping? Mix a summer city break with a little festival action at one of these awesome European festivals (with not a tent in sight!).
Sónar, Barcelona — 16-18th June
If you’re in to your electro music, you should have booked your tickets to Sónar yesterday! The 3-day city festival embraces music, creativity and technology, and boasts a seriously strong line-up with pretty much every DJ you’ve ever listened to here, keeping the crowd happy all day and all night. To rattle off just a few names, Fourtet, Jackmaster, DJ EZ, Ben Klock, Club Cheval, and Kölsch will be helping you get your groove on. Pick between day passes or night passes, or if you’re really game, both.
Dekmantel, Amsterdam — 4-7th August
International DJs flock from far and wide to be here at Dekmantel, not just to play but to join the party too. And if your kind of night involves streaming Boilerroom mixes (or better yet, being at them yourself), then you need to be here too. The dance floors reliably burst with energy, thanks to a line up that draws a die-hard crowd. Book your flights and your Airbnb now so you can get involved.
Way Out West, Gothenburg — 11-13th August
Sun, city, and beautiful people is the vibe of Way Out West, the much celebrated city festival in Sweden’s music capital, Gothenburg. Whilst still relatively small as far as European festivals go, the lineup is stellar, boasting the likes of Sia, PJ Harvey, Jamie XX, The Kills, Skepta, Haim and Chvrches. It’s got a good time vibe; a young, Scandi crowd enjoy picnics on the grass outside before heading in for a dance in the afternoon. And if you’re a night owl, you can chose to party into the night with Stay Out West too.
Lollapalooza, Berlin — 10-11th September
America’s most colourful and energetic festival is back on European ground! Yep, Lollapalooza returns to Berlin this summer, following its successful debut last year. There’s no camping here (so book your hotel now!), and pick between the two days. Saturday has the likes of Kings of Leon, New Order and Catfish and the Bottlemen, whilst Sunday has Radiohead, Major Lazer and MNEK.
Good for the food
Can’t hack the cold beans and tuna out of the tin for the 3rd day in a row? Check out one of these great UK foodie festivals.
Summer Days, Clitheroe Castle — 6-9th July
If you’re kind of summer festival involves eating well, sipping cava sophisticatedly out of the glasses you cleverly packed (rather than straight out of the bottle) and listening to a little laid-back tunes, you need to be at Summer Days Festival, a brand new boutique food and music festival in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle. Music-wise, there’s some golden oldies like Simply Red and Jools Holland, along with Mystery Jets, Everything Everything, and a selection of lesser known acts. Then when it comes to food, you can rest assured you’ll eat well thanks to an array of proudly local food and drink vendors. Sounds too good to miss.
The Good Life Experience, Wales — 16-18th September
For a hefty dose of culture, food and the great outdoors, head to Flintshire in Wales for The Good Life Experience. Cerys Matthews, one of the founders of the festival will lead a few sing-a-alongs; Bill Granger and Thomasina Miers will be among those cooking up a storm over a campfire; and Ben Fogle will be singing the praises of adventure and the great outdoors. There’ll also be axe throwing, archery, tree climbing, leather-working, bushcraft, live music, and dancing to get involved with, so don’t expect a lazy weekend. We’ll also add that there’s no VIP or backstage areas here, everyone is on the same level, making friends.
Wow factor festivals
Like your festivals with a little wow factor? Try one of these...
Secret Solstice, Iceland — 16-19th June
It’s dubbed the Midnight Sun festival because the sun never goes down. At Secret Solstice the party runs all day and all night, so if you take all nighters on the chin, this one is for you. Two years in and 2016’s line up is BADASS with Radiohead as the headliner. Along with the main festival in Reykjavik centre, there’ll be a handful of unique off-location parties too, including one inside a glacier and another in a volcano?! Still not sold? Go for the green card: this year it just got even better having earned its CarbonNeutral credentials.
Blue Dot, Cheshire — 22-24th July
Jodrell Bank is best known for being Brian Cox’s stomping ground, but this July, it’s playing host to a few extra visitors. Bluedot is a brand new “festival of discovery”, but before you get turned off, a boring science lesson it ain’t. Guests can expect music from Caribou, Floating Points, Everything Everything, Underworld and more; along with workshops, live experiments, great food and comedy. Pack your sleeping bag ‘cos you’ll be camping out under the stars.