If you’re reading this then it’s already too late, the wave of first announcements have been delivered and super early bird tickets have transformed into secondary early bird tickets, or worse still are hence known as general tickets (frightening stuff!) Sorry to alarm you but it’s for the good of mankind to grab you mentally by the shoulders, rattle you about before easing you and your comrades back into the race for the summer of your life.
If you’re a festival virgin or you just leave things to the last minute, this definitive festival guide will take you by the hand and open your eyes to some of the freshest and most established music events taking place around the UK and abroad. From day ones to camping ones, to island hopping and warehouse bopping, let us break your festival seal. Hopefully we’ve not scared you into submission but we’re going to break it to you that you’ve already missed out on going to Glastonbury and Coachella (unless you registered back in 2015, then you’ve another chance come April.) Yes, getting tickets for festivals can sometimes feel like a stake out- money in the bank? Check. Alarm set and group whatsapp synced? Check. As many computer/ mobile screens up and ready to attack? Check. But it doesn’t have to be a mission and with pre- registering and monthly payment systems, festival access is becoming less of a stress and more of a victory.
So where do we begin? Well if you’re new to all this then you’ll probably want to stay on home turf because the saying does go ‘don’t run before you can walk.’ Not long after Essex festival We Are Fstvl had ended back in May, tickets for 2016 were on sale. Taking place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of May in Upminster, gathering over 200 artists on 16 stages, and welcoming 50,000 ravers, this festival has some serious notches on its belt. Champions when it comes to hosting a festival, they’ve won Best Medium Sized Festival, Winner of Best New Festival and Best International Festival. No biggie?!
So far we’re looking forward to seeing Fatboy Slim, DJ Fresh, Amine Edge & Dance, DJ SKT, MK, Hannah Wants, Shy FX, Monki, Norman Jay MBE and Eats Everything on the Saturday, covering DJ brands like Half Baked Records, UKF, LoveJuice and Used & Abused.
Sunday brings you Steve Angello, Craig David’s T2, Mistajam, Sven Vath, Richie Hawtin, Sub Focus and Hot Since 82, from Abode, Hospitality, Cocoon and Defected in The House.
If you think Essex is all SHUT UP and OMG, perhaps Brighton festival Wild Life is more your cup of tea, located at Brighton City Airport on 11th/ 12th June and in it’s second year, this festival was curated by two of the music scene’s most respected artists- Rudimental & Disclosure. Even with their own demanding schedule, the six fella’s have somehow found time to put together a mammoth event featuring themselves plus Ice Cube, Annie Mac, De La Soul, DJ EZ,
Stormzy, James Bay, Brit winner Jack Garratt, Kaytranada, Busta Rhymes who we’ve not seen on British soil for a while, plus Skepta, Kurupt Fm and Bastille to name a few. We also loved their partnership with Love Specs, who enabled us to see the festival through LOVE tinted spectacles, with 100% profit of their sunglasses going to LOVE SUPPORT UNITE, a community led sustainable development in Malawi!
You can secure your place with their £39.99 payment plan at www.wildlifefestival.com
Talking of Rudimental’s movements, you can expect to see them as headliners at one of the August Bank Holidays most popular festivals. Clapham Common is the home of electronic and dance festival SW4, taking place on the 27th and 28th of August and having just announced Dizzee Rascal as another headliner in what is an exclusive summer performance. Over the two days rave on and spectate as The Chemical Brothers, Sasha, Booka Shade, Sven Vath, Paul Kalkbrenner, Friction, Bondax, Netsky, MK, Gorgon City and DJ EZ put on a visual show.
Heading up towards Manchester blurring the beauty of Heatons Park with the brains of the industries finest musicians is Parklife. Now in its seventh year, the team that brought us The Warehouse Project captures acts from dance, indie, pop and hip-hop, playing on the 11th and 12th of June with acts consisting of Jamie XX, Diplo, Kano, Years & Years, Jamie Jones, Jess Glynne, 99 Soul, Eats Everything and Major Lazer. Stage hosts include BBC1xtra, Elrow, Bugged Out and David Rodigan’s Ram Jam.
Some say that festivals have become generic but what we love about festivals is when you go there hoping for a glimpse of your favourite DJ and you end up leaving having uncovered a trove of new acts. Well 2016 has many a new festival for you and if you’re not sure you can handle a weekend of it then Junction 2, brought to you by London music event generator LWE might be the place for you to start. They’ve been throwing parties across London for the past 6 years and are planning to bring you an intimate one dayer featuring Âme, Dixon, Nina Kraviz, Adam Beyer, Alan Fitzgerald and Scuba. The festival will be cocooned amongst concrete and trees with water on all sides in an until recently disclosed location in West London.
Taking inspiration from Charles De Beistegui (an eccentric multi-millionaire art collector) and his famous costume ball, otherwise known as the party of the century back in the 1950’s, is Cornwall’s The Masked Ball festival. Celebrating it’s 10th year of immersive
and theatrical entertainment, overlooking the cliff top of Mount’s Bay, you can expect to meet kaleidoscopic characters and crazy critters. Between the 20th and 22nd of May, expect dining experiences on Feast Friday, fancy dress amidst dance music on Celebration Saturday and some twisted debauchery on Survivor Sunday. Musically masked ballers performing across the the festival are 2 Many DJ’s, The Street’s Mike Skinner, Basement Jaxx, Julio Bashmore, B.Traits, Horse Meat Disco, Ben Pearce, Groove Armada, Norman Jay and Krankbrother.
From Cornwall’s coast, to somewhere over the rainbow, Made in Birmingham will be bringing you some wizardry from The Rainbow’s industrial quarter. With grime man of the moment Stormzy and Rudimental already set to play on the 30th July and a further 80 acts to be announced over the coming months. Made have winked this will be their biggest year to date and will be keeping DnB lovers happy with an arena from Hospitality. VIP tickets start from £55 which is a steal if this is your first festival… some of you just aren’t ready for the portaloo life.
Don’t expect tea and scones with this one, Somerley Tea Party held in the New Forest will be more Elf Kid than Madhatter. Set in the magical surroundings of the Somerley Estate, the festival which is now in it’s third year has introduced camping, with Glamping available for the faint hearted. On the 3rd/ 4th June expect Eats Everything, Annie Mac, High Contrast, Oneman, Joy Orbison and Ben Pearce, brewing underground sounds in a hedonistic paradise from respected DJ’s and producers from across the globe. Tickets available from £30.
Those are just a scattering of the festivals in store this summer but if you’d rather beat two birds with one stone, seeking sun, sand and sound systems, you should check back for part two where we’ll be revealing our foreign festival picks. Keep your eyes peeled for more of the UK’s newest and most popular festivals as we near the summer.