Our favourite time of the year is here again.

The fes­ti­val scene is always evolv­ing and this year sad­ly sees a few sig­nif­i­cant changes. Sev­er­al we thought of as a con­stant pres­ence on the fes­ti­val cal­en­dar are either tak­ing a fal­low year or have decid­ed to call it a day. No secret the chal­lenges are main­ly brought about by the pan­dem­ic and the eco­nom­ic cli­mate. UK trade body the Asso­ci­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Fes­ti­vals (AIF) is call­ing for a three-year reduc­tion in VAT on fes­ti­val tick­ets from 20% to 5%, which would help. So it’s good­bye – for now – to Blue­dot, Seachange, Anthro­pos, Stan­don Call­ing and sev­er­al oth­ers. Beat-herder is scal­ing back in order to sur­vive. Tow­ersey is call­ing it a day after this year, and KITE fes­ti­val is part­ner­ing up with Abbey Road Stu­dios for an Octo­ber event just for this year. Past review here

How­ev­er, there are still many events to choose from. We hope you’ll be inspired and dis­cov­er some­thing new to love from our list, with plen­ty of inde­pen­dents. Sev­er­al are per­son­al rec­om­men­da­tions too.

A hand­ful have sold out – Green Man sells out in hours. If you’re after tick­ets, head over to Festicks and Twick­ets clos­er to the day and you’ll most like­ly be suc­cess­ful. Kendal Call­ing is also near­ly sold out.

Focus Wales 9–11 May

This inter­na­tion­al indus­try show­case fes­ti­val has hun­dreds of artists, work­shops, con­fer­ences, talks and events tak­ing place in Wrex­ham over its three fes­ti­val days, with a focus on emerg­ing Welsh tal­ent. Over 250 inter­na­tion­al artists will play on 20 stages at venues in Wrex­ham. Adwaith, Skin­ny Pelem­be, The Mys­ter­ines, Spir­i­tu­alised, Haz­mat, The Gen­tle Good, Sea­zoo and Melin Melyn are just a few artists of many tak­ing part. There’s also a con­fer­ence that fea­tures some impor­tant names in the music indus­try, plus films too. Tick­ets are very rea­son­ably priced, with sin­gle show and day tick­ets too. Focus Wales

Great Escape 15 ‑18 May

This is the fes­ti­val to attend if you want to dis­cov­er new music. Brighton buzzes with life as pun­ters make their way from one venue to anoth­er… and with around 450 artists on over the 4‑day event, there’s a lot to get through. An invalu­able asset is their con­fer­ence with a range of talks that help new artists avoid all the pit­falls. Too many artists to men­tion but here’s a few names to check out: Pic­ture Par­lour, Mary in the Junk­yard, Dirty Blonde, Wun­der­horse, Baby­moroc­co and Night­bus. There are also Spot­light Shows – Faye Web­ster is the first to be announced. Great Escape festival

Bearded Theory 23 – 26 May

There’s a loaded line­up for this year’s Beard­ed The­o­ry. Last year’s new­ly added Moun­tain stage has added a lot to the fes­ti­val, and the for­est set­ting of the Wood­land Stage remains in place for those chilled moments. Jane’s Addic­tion, Orbital, The Orb, BC Camp­light, Dry Clean­ing, Bob Vylan, Melin Melyn and Man­ches­ter band LIINES, who we inter­viewed in 2022 are just a few to see. The Bar-Stew­ard Sons of Val Doon­i­can will be ready to enter­tain the crowds on Sun­day morn­ing along with the fan­cy dress com­pe­ti­tion. NEW FOR 2024: a few Wednes­day tick­ets have just been released, to stag­ger arrivals and – well, give you an extra day of fun. There’s also a new dance tent this year which will fea­ture a set by Steve Davis and Kavus Tora­bi – two mem­bers of the bril­liant Utopia Strong. Beard­ed The­o­ry Tickets

Wide Awake Saturday 25 May

Wide Awake is an exu­ber­ant one-day fes­ti­val tak­ing place in Brock­well Park, south Lon­don. I was very impressed with Wide Awake’s first year and wide-rang­ing mix of music. Those behind the event real­ly know their stuff – the fes­ti­val is cre­at­ed by Bad Vibra­tions, LNZRT and some of the orig­i­nal Field Day founders and the peo­ple behind MOTH Club and The Shack­lewell Arms. The line­up this year is packed: King Giz­zard and the Lizard Wiz­ard, Slow­dive, Young Fathers, Char­lotte Adi­gery and Bolis Pupul, Dry Clean­ing, Mozart Estate, Hele­na Hauff and many more. Wide Awake festival

The Eden Festival 13–16 June

The Eden Fes­ti­val is a fam­i­ly friend­ly event set in the pic­turesque Dum­fries and Gal­loway area of Scot­land. It’s a small gath­er­ing with but man­ages to host 10 stages, cov­er­ing a very wide musi­cal base with every­thing from Afrobeat-influ­enced Amadou & Mari­am to a Left­field DJ set with Neil Barnes, to D&B with LTJ Bukem. Not to men­tion The Bea­t­les Dub Club, Mr Scruff, Dub Pis­tols and the Blazin’ Fid­dles adding yet more to the eclec­tic mix. There are also plen­ty of fam­i­ly activ­i­ties and work­shops through­out the day. The Eden Festival

Black Deer 14–16 June

Since its incep­tion five years ago, Black Deer set in Eridge Park, Kent, has estab­lished a unique niche and is now a sta­ple on the fes­ti­val cal­en­dar. The line­up is pri­mar­i­ly a cel­e­bra­tion of Amer­i­cana but there’s a wider range of stuff going on besides. Apart from Fri­day head­lin­ers Joe Bona­mas­sa and Sat­ur­day’s Sheryl Crow, you’ll also find BC Camp­light, Dami­an Lewis and Eli Paper­boy Reed along­side gourmet­gigs favourite, Turin Brakes. And recent­ly added third wave: Rufus Wain­wright, Jade Bird and more. There’s a UK fes­ti­val exclu­sive from Her­manos Gutiér­rez, plus The Shires, Court­ney Bar­nett, The Staves and Vil­lagers, Divorce, Michele Sto­dart, song­writ­ing duo Pri­ma Queen, and Lana Del Ray col­lab­o­ra­tor Hol­ly Macve. And the Amer­i­cana theme runs right through the rest of the fes­ti­val’s out­put too with smoky Deep South food, cus­tom-built motor­cy­cles, craft beers and gospel brunch­es. Black Deer Festival

Solstice on the Mount 20 June

The beau­ti­ful Was­ing Estate in Berk­shire is set to host plen­ty of music over the sum­mer at their wood­land amphithe­atre. On 20th June, Sol­stice On The Mount will fea­ture head­lin­ers Nick Mul­vey and Rodri­go y Gabriela. They also have a series of con­certs called On The Mount At Was­ing to fea­ture: Sophie Ellis-Bex­tor, Pao­lo Nuti­ni, Crowd­ed House, Jun­gle, and Under­world. A wood­land food glade pro­vides plen­ty of food choic­es. Check out Was­ing Estate concerts

The Rising 4–6 July

This new and very inde­pen­dent gath­er­ing will be con­ven­ing at the 98-acre Kib­ble­stone Scout Camp. Built on ‘sus­tain­abil­i­ty, cre­ativ­i­ty and respon­si­bil­i­ty’, you’ll dis­cov­er a ver­i­ta­ble feast of artists: Bob Vylan, Death of Gui­tar Pop, HENGE, 3 Daft Mon­keys, Ban­co de Gaia, Sub­giant, Ed Tan­gent, Glow­bones, Indi­go Herder. It’s a love­ly new home for Mag­i­cal Sounds Dance Tent. And if you still have the ener­gy, there’s abseil­ing, archery, rock climb­ing and sev­er­al oth­er activ­i­ties on offer. The Ris­ing will be a small and inti­mate event. And joy of joys, there are per­ma­nent toi­lets on site. Find tick­ets – 80 per­cent sold so get your skates on – and info at The Ris­ing

Timber 5–7 July

Tim­ber is a beau­ti­ful event set in the Nation­al For­est, near Feane­dock, on a 70 acre site on the Der­byshire bor­der. There will be sun­rise yoga, secret wood­land DJ sets and world-class author talks – plus vis­i­tors to this inde­pen­dent gath­er­ing can also expect to break bread togeth­er at a com­mu­nal ’20-mile sup­per’, watch the sun set from Timber’s very own Stone Cir­cle, and even don their best flo­ra and fau­na fan­cy dress for a Human Flower Show. Mer­cury nom­i­nat­ed singer-song­writer and found­ing mem­ber of Lamb, Lou Rhodes, has been invit­ed to help curate Timber’s line-up. And the fes­ti­val has pro­grammed a spec­tac­u­lar cir­cus show on a rig built from giant bam­boo by NoFit State Cir­cus. Res­i­dents of the Nation­al For­est get a gen­er­ous 25% off all tick­ets. Tim­ber festival

Kaleidoscope Saturday 13 July

Good to see Kalei­do­scope back after it was can­celled last year due to severe winds. This day event offers a very chilled fam­i­ly day out in the grounds of Alexan­dra Palace, north Lon­don. The main stage is set half way down the grassy slope, so every­one gets a clear view of the stage – and the awe­some back­drop of Lon­don in the back­ground. There’s a dance venue tucked next to the Palace, lots of great food choic­es, sev­er­al bars and a spe­cial area with enter­tain­ment set aside for chil­dren. More artists to be announced but so far the line­up sees Min­istry of Sound Clas­si­cal, Antony Szmierek, Mr Scruff, Soul II Soul and The Go! Team. Kalei­do­scope festival

Beat-Herder 18–21 July

This much-loved event has just scaled down a touch to ride the bumpy eco­nom­ic waves and will be lim­it­ing num­bers, mak­ing for a more inti­mate event. Buy your tick­ets now, folks. At the heart of Beat-Herder are six school pals who forged this incred­i­ble par­ty in the fires of the 90’s free rave scene. And as always there’s loads going on at the Rib­ble Val­ley’s “beloved and bonkers” and very inde­pen­dent Beat-Herder fes­ti­val. Head­lin­ing is Left­field, along­side Orbital. Drum ‘n’ bass enthu­si­asts are in for a treat with Sub Focus, Evolve and Ven­bee. Beat­ing heart of the fest is the Toil Trees, with DJ Floor­plan, Mel­la D and loads more. Also lined up: Crazy P (live), love­ly Beans on Toast, Eva Lazarus, HENGE and The Wail­ers. Beat-Herder tick­ets

Camp Bestival Dorset 25–28 July

Fam­i­ly fes­ti­val Camp Besti­val Dorset is back this year at Lul­worth Cas­tle with an “inter­galac­tic aliens and space” theme. There’s a UK fes­ti­val exclu­sive head­line per­for­mance from PETE TONG IBIZA CLASSICS – Jules Buck­ley & The Essen­tial Orches­tra, Palo­ma Faith and McFly. James Arthur will appear as a spe­cial guest along­side Orbital, Scis­sor Sis­ters co-lead vocal­ist Jake Shears, The Dark­ness and Sophie Ellis-Bex­tor. It goes with­out say­ing there is a feast of dai­ly activ­i­ties for kids, such as the Silent Dis­co, Soft Play, Skate­board­ing Ramps plus lessons in upcy­cling. If it all gets a bit too fre­net­ic, make your escape and head for Sleep Retreat Med­i­ta­tion. Camp Besti­val Dorset

South Facing festival Love Motion 26 July

Love Motion is a one-day event, part of the South Fac­ing con­cert series at Crys­tal Palace Bowl in South Lon­don – there’s a host of days to con­certs to choose from. Love Motion floats our boat with two divas tak­ing the head­line slots – Roisin Mur­phy and Grace Jones. Leg­endary par­ty-starters Horse Meat Dis­co, also join the par­ty. The four-strong DJ col­lec­tive bring­ing love and danc­ing to the world is renowned as a pow­er­ful force in queer and club cul­ture, plus Dim­itri from Paris, dis­co DJ from Lon­don, Oli Keens, and Brighton-based instru­men­tal­ist, pro­duc­er and DJ J‑Felix. Plus there are more announce­ments on their way. Check out all the South Fac­ing fes­ti­val days here.

Womad 25–28 July

The world’s fes­ti­val, WOMAD, brings music and cul­ture from the world over to Charl­ton Park in Wilt­shire. This year there’s a fab­u­lous line­up star­ring Young Fathers, Amadou & Mari­am, Zam­bi­a’s Sam­pa The Great, plus the first hip hop crew to rap in Ara­bic called Dam. Japan’s Noriko Tadano plays the shamisen while Hirahi Afon­so from the Canary Islands plays the tim­ble. San Francisco’s indie-rock inno­va­tors Deer­hoof are also set to per­form. Else­where on the site, The World of Words cel­e­brates all things spo­ken. The chill out space is the World of Well­be­ing with the WOMAD Spa, an oasis of calm with wood-fired hot-tubs, and all-day yoga. The unique Taste the World stage hosts some of the per­form­ers who share their culi­nary exper­tise with their audi­ence.  WOMAD

Ealing Blues 27–28 July

Eal­ing Blues, London’s longest-run­ning blues fes­ti­val, forms part of the Eal­ing Fes­ti­vals series, sit­u­at­ed in delight­ful lit­tle Wal­pole Park. The main action takes place at the Main Stage in a capa­cious tent; there’s also the small­er West Stage plus a lit­tle stage in the bar area. New for this year is a VIP sec­tion. You’ll find plen­ty of food ven­dors, a well-stocked bar plus clothes, craft and jew­ellery stalls. This year’s line­up fea­tures the Chris Cor­co­ran Big Band, Kin­dred Spir­it, When Rivers Meet and Jump 66. It’s worth tak­ing note of the fes­ti­val rules, as last year sev­er­al atten­dees with pic­nics were denied entry. The Eal­ing Fes­ti­val series also includes Com­e­dy and Jazz week­enders. These are all no-camp­ing events. Eal­ing Blues Festival

Margate Soul Festival 2–4 August

Mar­gate’s biggest fes­ti­val has been going for 22 years. It’s a town wide, soul, blues, jazz and dis­co fes­ti­val that takes in beach­side stages, street par­ties, lots of club venues and tons of cool col­labs with secret sets, a vinyl fair and lots more to be announced – plus a new loca­tion for the main stage. The fes­ti­val is very mind­ful of the local envi­ron­ment too, weav­ing soul­ful melodies and rev­er­ence for the envi­ron­ment. Harold Melv­in’s Blue Notes, Heat­wave, Dex­ter Wansel and lots more are set to head­line. Mar­gate Soul Festival 

Houghton 8–11 August

Cool fes­ti­val Houghton is a mec­ca for dance and art fans with a roll call of notable names: Aba Shan­ti, Alabaster Deplume, Itchy Rich, Jen­ny Jen, Sons of Slough, Sug­ar Free and too many to men­tion, plus you can join sculp­ture gar­den tours – Rachel Whiteread is just one of the artists who fea­tures. The Orchard space fea­tures saunas, mas­sages, yoga, life draw­ing, cacao cer­e­monies and night time screen­ings. Get book­ing your Airstream and get ready to dance. Houghton Fes­ti­val

Camp Bestival Shropshire 15–18 August

This is the third year of fam­i­ly fes­ti­val Camp Besti­val Shrop­shire. Head­lin­ers are Faith­less, Palo­ma Faith  and Rick Ast­ley. Also appear­ing are Orbital, The Dark­ness, plus Scis­sor Sis­ters front­man Jake Shears. Fam­i­lies will nev­er be stuck for things to do: new activ­i­ties includ­ed with their fes­ti­val tick­et include Park­our & Freerun­ning, Foot­ball Club, Syn­chro­nised Swim­ming, Life­guard Class­es, Wall Climb­ing and even Mer­maid School. Plus lots of ‘cre­ate’ work­shops. Craig Charles will bring his Funk and Soul House Par­ty show as well as BBC Radio 2’s Sara Cox. Head over to Camp Besti­val

All Points East 16–25 August

We’re big fans of east Lon­don’s Vic­to­ria Park as a fes­ti­val des­ti­na­tion and it has become a per­fect home for giant mul­ti-day gath­er­ing All Points East. APE stretch­es over two week­ends in August, includ­ing Bank Hol­i­day week­end, with real­ly sol­id, imag­i­na­tive line­ups. Announced so far are Kay­trana­da (16 Aug), Loyle Carn­er (17 Aug), APE presents Field Day (24 Aug) and The Postal Ser­vice / Death Cab For Cutie (25 Aug), each day with a host of artists to see you through from 2pm till late. Mit­s­ki has just been announced for Sun­day 18th. It’s dif­fi­cult to pick a ‘favourite day’ but we might go for this one: LCD Soundsys­tem head­lin­ing Fri­day 23rd with Jai Paul, Pix­ies, Float­ing Points, Jock­strap, Nation of Lan­guage, Sofia Kour­te­sis (Live) and Eye­dress. Prices go up this week so hur­ry and nail down your fave dates. All Points East .

Moovin 23–25 August

“Once Man­ches­ter’s best kept secret, it has now estab­lished itself as the place to par­ty over the August Bank Hol­i­day week­end.” Yes it’s fun down on the farm: White­bot­tom Farm, Stock­port, to be more pre­cise. This is the event to tru­ly let your hair down and dance. All week­end. Stages include The Barn, a large con­vert­ed cow shed with a huge bar for speedy ser­vice at rea­son­able prices, space to dance and hay bale seat­ing to kick back on. Check out Left­field, Lau­rent Gar­nier, Mr Scruff, David Rodi­gan, K‑Klass, Most Want­ed, DJ Paulette and tons more. Moovin fes­ti­val

RALLY Saturday 24 August

This one-day event made its debut appear­ance last year. RALLY takes place at South­wark Park, Lon­don and strives to cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for grass­roots cul­ture and pro­mote the dis­cov­ery of new sounds and bound­ary-push­ing artists. You’re spoilt for choice with this line­up: Armand Ham­mer, Alabaster DePlume, DJ Mar­celle, Mount Kim­bie (live), Pear­son Sound, Nilufer Yanya, Sor­ry and WITCH are just a few of the names at this shindig with a boun­ty of artists. Ral­ly fes­ti­val tickets

Victorious 23–25 August

Vic­to­ri­ous is the UK’s biggest met­ro­pol­i­tan fes­ti­val, stretch­ing over three days and sit­u­at­ed in South­sea, Portsmouth. Head along to see Fat­boy Slim, Sug­ababes, Snow Patrol, Jamie T, Biffy Clyro, The Future­heads and many more at this bril­liant fam­i­ly-friend­ly mega fest that takes over the seafront. There’s also Pix­ies, Yard Act, Per­son­al Train­er, The Mur­der Cap­i­tal and Red Rum Club. Vic­to­ri­ous isn’t a camp­ing fes­ti­val but does have a fam­i­ly friend­ly camp­site with shut­tle bus, uni­ver­si­ty accom­mo­da­tion and a list of local b’n’bs – check out the web­site for options. Note: Uni accom­mo­da­tion may well be sold out as it’s a pop­u­lar choice. Vic­to­ri­ous

Manchester Psych Fest Saturday 31st

An annu­al event, Man­ches­ter plays host to the Psych Fest this Sep­tem­ber with a great line­up: Bax­ter Dury, Das Koolies, La Luz, Juniore, Goat Girl, Mdou Moc­tar, White­lands and plen­ty more. Venues are scat­tered around Man­ches­ter’s cen­tre: Albert Hall, O2 Ritz, Projects MCR Skatepark, Man Met Stu­dent Union, Can­vas, Goril­la, YES, Deaf Insti­tute + more to be announced. Exhi­bi­tions, murals and visu­als will be dot­ted around, for a tru­ly buzzy Man­ches­ter day. Man­ches­ter Psych Fest

Cheshire Fest Saturday 31st

Cheshire Fest returns, with The Brand New Heav­ies, Joce­lyn Brown and The Shapeshifters and – just added – Lisa Stans­field. There’s also the Live Lounge area, spon­sored by Stockport’s lat­est hot-spot, Bask, where signed and unsigned artists will show­case their tal­ent in a relaxed envi­ron­ment. New for 2024 will be a Well­ness Vil­lage. More artists are to be announced soon. The fes­ti­val has moved to a new loca­tion inn the grounds of Capesthorne Hall. Cheshire Fest

Forwards Bristol 31–1 August/Sept

Head­ing into its third year, For­wards Bris­tol is a shin­ing exam­ple of an urban fes­ti­val, sit­u­at­ed on the Bris­tol Downs. The gath­er­ing is com­mit­ted to pos­i­tive change with social ini­tia­tives built into its very infra­struc­ture. So far on the line­up are Loyle Carn­er, LCD Soundsys­tem, Jessie Ware, Nubya Gar­cia, Hak Bak­er, Mrcy, Four Tet, Float­ing Points, Mari­bou State, Crazy P plus more. And don’t miss the fab­u­lous CMAT who is also tak­ing part. The for­ward-think­ing event also has a space for debate and dis­cus­sions too, called The Infor­ma­tion stage with names to be announced short­ly. Tick­ets for Forwards

Mucky Weekender Festival 5–7 September

Tak­ing place at ‘Vic­arage Farm’, Win­ches­ter, Mucky Week­ender’s fifth edi­tion fea­tures five music stages with dub, ska, reg­gae, jun­gle, house, dis­co and more. Join Bar­ry Ash­worth with his band Dub Pis­tols and 5,000 fes­ti­val-goers for after­noon tea and cake along­side Alice, Queen of Hearts and the White Rab­bit for this year’s theme Mucky Mad Hat­ters Tea Par­ty – fan­cy dress is encour­aged. On stage will be The Dualers, The Dut­ty Moon­shine Big Band, Dread­zone, Mar­shall Jef­fer­son, LTJ Bukem , Deek­line, Krafty Kuts, Plump DJs… and that’s just for starters. Mucky Week­ender

All fes­ti­vals list­ed have tick­ets avail­able on pub­lish­ing date Ist April

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