The Wowcher Guide to Summer Festivals

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Festival season is finally here! And we’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you decide which glitter-filled fantasy realm to escape to this summer… Whether you’re after a dance-fuelled hedonistic weekend, a one-day boogie that skips all the stress of camping, or somewhere you can let loose with the kids, we’ve got you covered!

Glastonbury II

Glastonbury

When? 21st-25th June Where? Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset How much? £238

Go here if you like: Chilled vibes in the day, huge acts and electric raves at night. The UK’s biggest festival really does have something for everybody with more or less every conceivable genre of music, from rock favourites and chart-toppers to undiscovered bands and orchestras from around the world. There are hundreds of acts on the Somerset festival’s multitude of stages, with organiser Emily Eavis hinting at a few surprises to come. And if that fails, go and watch Jack Bauer (no, seriously…)

Other things to do: Of all the festivals mentioned, Glasto arguably has the biggest variety of things to do away from the stages. You can relax in the Healing Fields, release your inner artist in a crafts tent, see some freaky goings on at the Unfairground or just check out the view of Worthy Farm from the famous Glastonbury sign. Once the main acts have finished, check out Shangri La for some raving well into the night. There’s so much to do, in fact, that even the veterans haven’t covered it all while some people have a jam-packed weekend without seeing a single band!

Headliners: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran.

Glastonbury III

Latitude Festival

When? 14th-16th July Where? Henham Park, Suffolk How much? £197.50 (Day tickets available)

Go here if you like: The biggest alternative bands. Latitude pride themselves on bringing well-known names in rock, dance and pop to create a funk atmosphere with songs that everyone can sing along too. Over the past few years, the fields of Suffolk have graced popular acts like Bloc Party, Alt J and The National while allowing smaller acts the chance to shine on their other stages.

Other things to do: Like Glastonbury, Latitude boasts a number of other things to do away from the catchy beats and jangly guitars. There are comedian tents, a film arena and even a theatre for those who like to delve into the arts and even the Faraway Forest; complete with impromptu poetry readings and interactive art installations. Latitude is the perfect place to let your artistic side run free!

Headliners: The 1975, Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes

V Festival

When? 19th-20th August Where? Hylands Park, Chelmsford/Weston Park, Staffordshire How much? £189

Go here if you like: What’s hot in the charts. If you’re the kind of person that loves to listen to the radio on the way to work and throw some shapes to the latest tunes on a Friday night, you’ll feel right at home at V Festival. With a number of stages chock-full of established channels and a few cheesy favourites from back in the day, you’ll feel like you’re in your favourite night club. Except at all weekend. And a bit muddy.

Other things to do: While it may lack the variety of some of its peers, there are still some things to do at times when the music isn’t quite taking your fancy. There’s a fairground with a huge Ferris wheel overlooking the festival and even a silent disco for those wanting to get their groove on.

Headliners: Pink, Jay Z.

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Reading and Leeds Festival

When? 25th-27th August 2017 Where? Richfield Avenue, Reading/Bramham Park, Leeds How much? £213

Go here if you like: An eclectic mix of rock, pop and dance music and a younger, more energetic crowd. Over the past few years, the festival has attracted some of the biggest names in rock, like the Arctic Monkeys or Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and has become the mecca for newer guitar bands. It’s not just a place for the moshing crowd however, with dance tents and chart favourites such as Disclosure playing the main stage last time and Eminem making an appearance this year.

Other things to do: If you’re feet get too tired or your pit stains unmanageable from the crowds, there’s plenty more you can do if you fancy a break. The alternative stage features some of the most famous stand ups if you need cheering up from the mud, while there are plenty of acoustic tents with obscure acts – any of whom could become a mainstay for a relaxing playlist!

Headliners: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran.

Bestival

When? 7th-10th September Where? Lulworth Castle, Dorset How much? £191

Go here if you like: An up and coming festival full of variety. Last but most certainly not least on our list, Bestival has been rising in popularity year upon year as a result of fostering a great atmosphere and ever-improving line-up. Despite being dubbed a ‘medium-sized’ festival the roster of acts from rock, pop and more holds up against its larger compatriots and has received glowing reviews from its friendly crowd.

Other things to do: Perhaps in an effort of shaking off the ‘mini Glastonbury’ tag they’ve developed in some corners, Bestival have gone about carving out some of their own niches for exciting extra-curricular activities and alternatives to the music. There’s wooden crafting, a Bollywood section and even a beard and moustache competition. With plenty of activities for the little ones too, Bestival is fast becoming a great family festival in its own right.

Headliners: The XX, A Tribe Called Quest, Fleet Foxes.

They say the best things come in small packages. So if you’re a first-time festival goer, feeling thrifty this year, or just looking to lose yourself in the wonderful intimacy of a smaller crowd, we’d recommend one of these beautiful festivals…

Farmfest

Farmfestival

When? 28th-29th July 2017 Where? Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Somerset How much? £89 (Day tickets available)

Go here if you like: That intimate family vibe only a small festival can offer. Nestled in the rolling Somerset hills, this mini-Glasto offers first-class acts, glitter galore and a beautiful setting, without all the hassle of queuing and large crowds.

Other things to do: Plenty of frolicking to be had across this kid-friendly festival. Tuck into a delicious array of local food and drink, check out the wonderful line-up of comedians, poets and ‘general silliness-makers’, and take a shot at the annual fancy dress competition! Boogie on down with your little rascals at the Soul Train stage to acts like afrobeat bonanza Bood’nBone, or keep them entertained for hours with circus tricks, magic shows and arts ‘n’ crafts at Kids’ Kingdom!

Headliners: Roots Manuva, Nightmares On Wax, DJ Yoda

Parklife

When? 10th-11th June Where? Heaton Park, Manchester How much? £99.50 (Day tickets available)

Go here if you like: Sleeping in your own bed at the end of a long hard day’s partying. There’s something for everyone at Manchester’s flagship dance music festival. Presented by the one and only Warehouse Project, this epic weekender showcases the best in cutting-edge music; from electronic to indie rock, hip hop and reggae. A diverse, show-stopping line-up perfect for those looking to have a blowout on a shoestring.

Other things to do: Lose yourself in a hedonistic weekend on the holy ground where the likes of Oasis and The Stone Roses have performed.

Headliners: The 1975, Frank Ocean, Stormzy, Fatboy Slim, London Grammar

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Lovebox

When? 14th-15th July Where? Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London How much? £126 (Day tickets available)

Go here if you like: Partying all day and sleeping all night. This daytime rave closes before the pubs do, so you can be tucked up in bed by midnight like a good little Cinderella. The brainchild of dance legends Groove Armada, this superstylin’ party in East London’s Victoria Park brings the love with a selection of acts so tantalising your only problem will be juggling the inevitable line-up clashes. Take the chance to catch Jamie XX, whose emotive album ‘In Colour’ is sure to have you on your feet and wiping away a tear or two.

Other things to do: It’s all about the music here – dance your little socks off until it’s time to hit the hay!

Headliners: Jamie XX, Solange, Chase and Status

Shambala

When? 24th-27th August Where? Secret country estate, Northamptonshire How much? £179

Go here if you like: An immersive escape from reality. Not to be dismissed in the shadow of the more flamboyant Secret Garden Party, this secluded festival offers over 200 diverse musical acts across 12 stages, as well as a host of extracurricular activities. Adventure into this beautiful utopian land for a worldly line-up and a crowd as keen on saving the planet as they are music. It’s a special place that will have you returning to the real world re-fuelled, revitalised and full of love for your fellow man.

Other things to do: Where to begin? You’ll find everything from pioneering workshops and inspirational talks, to interactive theatre, jaw-dropping circus and high-flying acrobatics… delve a little deeper to discover the likes of drag queen bingo and puppet cabaret. Get some much needed R&R at Shambala Springs; a luxury spa area on the shores of the estate’s lake. Unwind and recuperate in the hot tubs, wood-fired sauna, cold plunge pool and Moroccan relaxation lounge. Sounds absolutely heavenly right? And of course, at this meat-free festival you can gorge on finger-licking good festival cuisine to your stomach’s content – not a sausage in sight, but organic veggie masterpieces aplenty.

Headliners: Electric Swing Circus, The Beatbox Collective, Alice Russell

Festival Number 6

When? 7th– 10th September Where? Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales How much? £180

Go here if you like: The finer things in life. You’re in for a real treat with this one… Alongside some of the world’s finest alternative acts, the very heart of this boutique-chic festival is encapsulated by its promise to ‘take pleasure seriously’. Set in the truly unique setting of Portmeirion; a magical Italian-style village boasting pastel-coloured houses, cobbled streets and a breath-taking ocean view. Serious bijou vibes.

Other things to do: Make the most of exploring this fairy-tale land; from the enchanted woods, to the golden sandy beaches and magnificent castell. Take some valuable time out from busting shapes on the dancefloor to take a refreshing dip in the sea or even try your hand at paddle boarding! Budget-permitting you can dine like royalty here, whether you sample the first-class street food or attend a bespoke banquet hosted by Michelin-starred chefs. Get you, fancy! Don’t miss Irvine Welsh, best-selling author known for his controversial creation ‘Trainspotting’, and firm favourites the 60-strong Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir – their cover of New Order’s Blue Monday is a YouTube sensation, and rightly so.

Headliners: Bloc Party, The Flaming Lips, Mogwai

Festival Number 6

Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming Festival Survival Guide!