The first hints of summer weather bring talk of music festivals. With the United Kingdom’s history of Cool Britannia it could be argued that this is the greatest place on earth for popular music and thus festivals. The Beatles, David Bowie, The Clash, Oasis, and the Spice Girls (and so many more) have secured the country’s status across the globe with songs that continue to inspire generations. Perfect weather may not be guaranteed but a stellar show always is.
Here are five of Britain’s biggest music festivals in Britain for the most musically inclined summertime bucket lists.
The Glastonbury Festival has won International Music Festival of the Year at the Pollstar Best International Festival Awards for five consecutive years. Since its humble beginning in 1970, when tickets cost £1 and included free milk, Glastonbury has become the pinnacle for modern artists to seal their status. Every artist from Cold Play and Jay-Z to Bruce Springsteen have headlined the festival, which is the most anticipated in the UK music calendar. The festival takes place in June and as can be expected tickets are by registration only and personalized. Tickets cost £238 (about $320) +£5 registration and includes five nights of bring-your-own-tent accommodation.
The Isle of Wight Festival has been filling up the small island off England’s south coast with megastar lineups for 50 years. Come June, you can roll up in your camper van or stay in its boutique camping village with hot showers, USB points, and round the clock security. If you’re a local you’ll pay a lower price for your entrance ticket. If not, the weekend pass costs £209 (roughly $280) and includes camping that can be upgraded to include extras. It is also possible to buy a day pass if you do not wish to camp out. This major player on the festival circuit has attracted big name artists such as Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and Kasabian.
The self-proclaimed “most colourful show on earth” is a circus themed music festival that takes place in August and is set in the Lulworth Estate, Dorset, which includes a forest and castle. Its immensely popular costumed-themed days set Bestival in the Guinness World Record for “most people in fancy dress at a single event” in 2010. Due to its proximity to the rugged south of England coastline Bestival also offers much more than great music. Water parks, hot air ballooning, and even sailing is on offer outside the festival. Past headliners at this Indie/Dance festival include Pet Shop Boys, Basement Jaxx, and the Beastie Boys. Weekend tickets cost £170 (about $250) and includes four nights’ camping. Tickets can of course be up graded to include hospitality.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that all British music festivals are set in the countryside to accommodate large crowds. That’s not so. During the festival season London hosts some of the most popular music festivals in the UK. Lovebox was started in 2002 by the artists Groove Armada. Since then, the electro-pop festival has gained momentum and Londoners have claimed it as their own. Lovebox is the talk of the town in July. Mega stars such as NERD, Skepta, Childish Gambino, and WuTang Clan have headlined the festival. A general admission day ticket is £59.50 (approximately $80). There is no camping at Lovebox so you can head safely back to the comfort of your hotel at the end of the day.
SW4, as its commonly known, is a UK Festival Awards nominated music festival that takes place in August on the last summer Bank Holiday weekend in Clapham Common, London. It started in 2001 as a one-off party for local residents and soon expanded to two days of dance music. The festival attracts big name acts such as the Magician, Idris Elba, and Armand Van Helden playing to London’s eclectic crowd. Tickets start from £49.50 (roughly $67) for a day pass. There is no overnight camping at SW4 but the after parties continue throughout the capital’s clubs such as Ministry of Sound and Electric Brixton.
Are music festivals a quintessential part of your summer fun? Do these UK festivals tempt you take a trip? Start planning today!