Fes­ti­val plan­ners are busy putting togeth­er their line­ups for 2015 – and these are just a few of my per­son­al­ly tried-and-test­ed events.

When it comes to fes­ti­val size, I’m not one for marathon walks from tent to stage (noth­ing like a trip back to base­camp for an after­noon snooze and a cup of tea) so there’s no men­tion of the G word here. Small to mid-size events offer enough enter­tain­ment – some­where around four stages and a dance tent should keep you busy enough over a long weekend.

Tick­et sales fes­ti­val-wide are prov­ing to be very healthy this year with Ear­ly Bird tick­ets long gone and some events have sold 75% of their tick­ets. Check out these easy-to-nav­i­gate events, which are all set in beau­ti­ful land­scapes (I’ll be writ­ing about some very small and niche fes­ti­vals soon). The first fes­ti­val list­ed is in May. Yikes, that’s only three months away! The win­ter real­ly is just about on its way out and fes­ti­val sea­son is approach­ing fast.

Bearded Theory  –  May  21 to 24 

seth lakeman towersey festival
Seth Lake­man, Tow­ersey festival

Beard­ed The­o­ry is noth­ing to do with the hip­ster’s favourite face fur­ni­ture, more to do with mak­ing a fun, fake beard to bag your­self Top Beard prize. This event puts on a con­sis­tent­ly good line­up of rock, indie and folk faves at this fes­ti­val sea­son open­er, which for the sec­ond year is set in the grounds of Cat­ton Hall, south Der­byshire. This year they’ve pulled out all the stops. My top pick acts are Alaba­ma 3, New Mod­el Army, British Sea Pow­er, James, Misty in Roots and The Beat. I could go on. Mys­ti­cal Sounds Tent offers an equal­ly expert­ly put togeth­er dance extrav­a­gan­za, with a psy­trance-heavy line­up primed for mid after­noon to late night rav­ing – Eat Sta­t­ic for starters. This small fes­ti­val remains one of the friend­liest events on the cal­en­dar, and is still only a measly £87 (adult price) but hur­ry, there are only around 1000 tick­ets left, at time of pub­lish­ing. Get your tick­et here

The Blockheads at Bearded Theory
The Block­heads 2014, Beard­ed The­o­ry 2014

Field Day  June 6 to 7

Expert cura­tion means this week­end-long event in Vic­to­ria Park, east Lon­don is stuffed full of a heady mix of cut­ting-edge sounds, with artists and DJs both fea­tured. The stages are spread out through the park, and the place is dot­ted with an eclec­tic mix of food stalls. Loca­tion wise, Vic­to­ria Park is slap-bang in hip­ster ter­ri­to­ry so there’s no prizes for guess­ing the crowd FD tends to attract. This year’s head­lin­ers are Ride and Pat­ti Smith. Tick­ets at £78 for the weekend.


Womad - July 23 – 26

SWNS_WOMAD_DAY1_21Wom­ad attracts a loy­al crowd, what­ev­er the line­up! The announce­ment has been made now, and appear­ing are Bel­low­head, De La Soul, Tinari­wen, 47 Soul fea­tur­ing artists from Pales­tine, Jor­dan and Syr­ia, Dona Onete from Brazil. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to the infec­tious bass-rich com­po­si­tions from Aure­lio from Hon­do­ras. Wom­ad is turn­ing its focus increas­ing­ly to world food too, and the Taste the World Stage, which proved pop­u­lar last year, will be host­ing dif­fer­ent artists prepar­ing a range of dish­es. Wom­ad has sev­en stages, and the fes­ti­val is set in lush, leafy Charl­ton Park in Wilt­shire. Check out the San-Fran Dis­co Bar, plus a range of work­shops and the largest chil­dren’s activ­i­ty area of any UK fes­ti­val. What is par­tic­u­lar­ly notice­able at WOMAD is the fam­i­ly fes­ti­val aspect – you find the great­est span of ages – from babies and tod­dlers up to great-grandparents.

Final day at WOMAD festival 2014, in Wiltshire. July 27 2014.

End of the Road – September 4 to 6 

Pea­cocks ven­ture out at the Woods Stage

The 10th year anniver­sary of End of the Road is a week lat­er than its usu­al slot and it promis­es some spe­cial head­lin­ers. This fes­ti­val is set in the beau­ti­ful grounds of Larmer Tree Gar­dens where pea­cocks strut about, and secret pop-up gigs ran­dom­ly hap­pen in a pirate ship in the woods – make sure you keep an eye out for these. Suf­jan Stevens appears on Sat­ur­day night, his first ever UK fes­ti­val appear­ance. Also appear­ing are Ozzie psy­che­delics Tame Impala plus The War On Drugs,  Djan­go Djan­go, Future Islands. and My Morn­ing Jack­et. Heav­en­ly Records are hold­ing a 25th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion at EoTR with a few of their acts. Oth­er Heav­en­ly artists hope­ful­ly will be per­suad­ed to join the rev­el­ry. Tick­ets have already been sell­ing fast; EoTR oper­ate a tier sys­tem and are cur­rent­ly  already on Tier 4, at £195.

EELS front­man E at EoTR 2013

Festival No 6 - September 6

I attend­ed Fes­ti­val No 6 in 2014 for the first time and can vouch for its tru­ly mag­i­cal prop­er­ties. It is set in spec­tac­u­lar set­ting on the estu­ary of the riv­er Dwyryd, with the Ital­ian-style vil­lage of Port­meiri­on look­ing as if it had been con­struct­ed exclu­sive­ly to host this very event. You can drift from your tent (or any man­ner of glamp­ing-style sleep­ing arrange­ment – includ­ing the hotel, and cot­tages dot­ted round the vil­lage) to the main stage area which is set on a plateau with views across the estu­ary. Then down through the woods where you dis­cov­er a Welsh arti­san mar­ket, and final­ly you drop down into the Ital­ian vil­lage where you find artists, talks and choirs. On the shore­line is the hotel ter­race where rev­ellers sip cham­pagne at tables over look­ing the bay. Dip your toes in the swim­ming pool while wait­ing to see bands on the stage down by the rocks. A path through the woods lead to a pon­toon set in a leafy bow­er while DJs pumped out dance music day and night. This year Grace Jones, and Belle & Sebas­t­ian are head­lin­ing – no doubt show­cas­ing their new upbeat album.

Dancing at Festival No 6

All tick­et prices are accu­rate at time of publishing

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