Music festivals have evolved since the 1960s psychedelic wig-outs. Nowadays, there’s a festival for all kinds of music fans, even those who have avoided most of the annual mud-fests until now because they aren’t into rock or would rather enjoy dancing to disco. Beyond the traditional festivals in the UK and Europe, there are some wonderful events throughout the world from Japan’s Fuji Rock (according to Fuji Rock, it’s the world’s cleanest festival) to California’s Coachella. But for now, let’s stick to the best festivals in the UK.
Field Day (London, UK)
After trialling a one-day format for a year, the festival has reverted back to a two-day event. With an ironic tattoo and hipster beard, the coolness that surrounds this event continues. It’s a wonderful place to get drunk in the day, line your stomach with craft beer, and feast on vegan food from the Village Green.
There’s also some music cred, too. It’s curated to include a mix of genres, such as smart rap, alt R&B, shoegaze, edgy guitar music, and it even throws in some revered DJs. All this music can be seen at The Barn, one of the UK’s best festival stages, a cutting-edge hangar with one amazing lighting rig.
Glastonbury (Somerset, UK)
In British summertime, when it isn’t a “fallow year” designed to give locals a break, the No. 1 of Uk music festivals employs a large part of Somerset for hippies, healing, mischief, music, and large quantities of cider. It’s difficult to explain just how vast this festival is, with boatloads of activity happening away from the arena, in addition to an uber-impressive musical line-up featuring rock, reggae, pop, folk, techno, and dubstep.
There’s boundless energy no matter where you turn, with anarchic stages and cabaret tents scattered around the fields and woods away from the Pyramid-stage hordes. When it comes to sheer scale, it’s hard to beat Glastonbury. It remains the Mecca of music festivals for hedonists, where British pop culture comes together to converge. By day four, that convergence is typically found in the form of a muddy heap on the grass.
Latitude (Suffolk, UK)
This Suffolk-based festival provides a perfectly chilled weekend away, featuring an adventurous lineup of pop and alternative rock. It’s family-friendly with a music programme that creatively combines theatre, dance, spoken word, poetry, and comedy. DJs lurk in the woods to provide some late night partying, the colourful sheep make their way around the fields, and there’s an opportunity to enjoy the refreshing local ale.
Having started in 2006, Latitude quickly made a name for itself as the genteel and introverted young cousin of Glastonbury. Situated in a lakeside idyll close to the sleepy town of Southwold, Latitude’s success resulted in a number of mini-me boutique festivals that opened up all over the UK in the past decade. While many have died away, however, Latitude has managed to endure. The only downside is that it’s hard to reach, with the only means to get there by Suffolk cow.