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A 2018 Guide to the UK’s Music Festivals

A 2018 Guide to the UK’s Music Festivals

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Apr 25, 2018 —  If you're a UK music festival devotee, you'll know that Glastonbury is taking a break in 2018 – the last one having been during 2012 when London hosted the Olympics. Summer music festivals have become a staple part of the British summer with global stars headlining at locations all over the country.

The concept of music festivals goes back many years. Indeed, the Ancient Greeks celebrated the best in dance, art and music in the Pythian Games back in 6th century BC. However, the modern version we know today started after the 1967 Summer of Love in California, when huge crowds gathered to see Janis Joplin, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel and Jimi Hendrix. The following years the Isle of Wight held the first such festival; this small event grew quickly and by 1970 was attended by over 600,000 people. One of the attendees, Andrew Kerr, was so impressed that the following year he set up his own festival in Glastonbury.

Ever since this moment, there have been several stand-out moments that deserve a mention. The final Nirvana gig in the UK was at the 1992 Reading Festival, when Kurt Cobain arrived on stage in a wheelchair. Then who could forget the 2009 appearance of a reunited Blur at Glastonbury, when original members Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree came together? Another memorable Glastonbury performance was Pulp’s in 1995, when the band stood in for the Stone Roses, whose guitarist John Squire had broken his collarbone.

The Great British Weather is known to be temperamental, even in the summer months. Just ask the organisers of Creamfields, which in August 2012 was hit by two weeks’ rain in a single day, forcing it to be cancelled. So before you go to a festival, you really need to swat up on what to wear, where to pitch your tent, and how to pack – and this blog is a good place to start.

Once you know this, you’re ready to start considering which festivals might be best for you.

In 2017 all the festivals below had hugely positive reviews and huge attendances, so make sure you book your tickets as soon as you can. A lot of them sell out as soon as they are announced and this is even more likely in the year that Glastonbury isn't on.


Isle of Wight Festival

When: June 21-24, 2018

Where: Seaclose Park, Newport


Twice named family festival of the year, the Isle of Wight Festival is also one of the oldest with a huge history of world beating headline acts – Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix both graced the IOW stage in the 1960s and 70s. Expect to see around 65,000 attendees at Seaclose Park with this year's acts including Depeche Mode, The Killers, Liam Gallagher and a host of others.



When: August 2-5, 2018

Where: Lulworth Estate, Dorset


Having moved from its long time base in the Isle of Wight, Bestival will join with the family-orientated version at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. Every year, Bestival has a fancy dress theme, and for 2018 it will be ‘circus’, so plenty of opportunities to clown about in whatever you want. The theme of Bestival is, as always, to celebrate creativity, diversity and fun.

This year the Bestival headliners include Silk City M.I.A., London grammar, Jorja Smith, Grace Jones and lots more.


Download Festival

When: June 8-10, 2018

Where: Donington Park


If it's rock and heavy metal that floats your boat, Download is for you. Attracting the biggest names in rock and metal to Donington Park, the spiritual home of rock, this three-day event is a hard-rocking assault on the ears. You've been warned! The line-up this year includes, Ozzy Osbourne, Guns N Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Marilyn Manson and more.

For 2018 they've another attraction with a WWE wrestling tent.



When: August 23-26, 2018

Where: Daresbury, Cheshire


If you enjoy clubbing in the city, why not take it to the countryside? A festival for devotees of dance music, Creamfields boasts the biggest names in EDM, House, Trance, Grime and D&B. The location at Daresbury in Warrington was first used in 2006 after it outgrew its original site at Speke Festival. Daresbury can hold up to 60,000 attendees a day for the three days. Creamfields started as an offshoot of the Cream nightclub in Liverpool and, since its inception in 1999, has been hosted in cities all around the world including Buenos Aries, Almeria, Vilnius and Abu Dhabi. The 2018 line-up includes such luminaries as Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, The Chainsmokers, Fatboy Slim and Idris Elba.



When: Auguest 2-5, 2018

Where: Hever, Kent


If you're not into the big festivals and want something a bit more intimate, then try Neverworld. Limited to 5,000 attendees since it moved from the founder's back garden. Lee Denny started in 2006 using his parents' back garden in Beckenham when they were away on holiday, and it has grown ever since. The venue was moved a few times to new locations capable of holding larger numbers of people, and for 2018 they have moved to a farm in Hever near Edenbridge Kent. 2018 boasts Bastille, Clean Bandit, Declan McKenna and Tom Grennan at the top of the line-up.

The British Festival scene is big and booming. There are line-ups and events for everyone - so make sure you pick the festival that will suit your style. Be you a rocker, a dance fan just a dreamer, choose carefully and enjoy your summer. Hundreds of people will be attending the various events this summer and tickets can be hard to some by – get in early.

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