wilderness festival oxfordshire united kingdomWilderness Festival

Summer season is festival season, and in the UK organisers are stepping up their game to offer the most epic and creative festivals of all time. This year will be one to remember, and between the enchanted forests of Gottwood and the trippy grounds of Festival No. 6 you won’t know where to buy tickets first. Whether you’re going for the music, the escape or the intellectual stimulation, you’ll find something in our guide to the best UK festivals for summer 2016.

HowTheLightGetsIn Festival

When

26 May to 5 June

Where

Hay-on-Wye

Why go

HowTheLightGetsIn is the world’s largest philosophy and music festival. Based in Hay-on-Wye, it offers a week jam-packed with thought-provoking debates, ridiculously danceable music, comedy and legendary parties. It hosts 700 events scattered across nine stages, with a schedule that includes a philosophy breakfast with Amazonian explorer Ed Stafford and a talk from Nobel-prize winner Frank Wilczek. Philosophy isn’t the only star of the show – the festival also has an impressive line-up – Gilles Peterson, Ghostpoet and ESKA, among others. Not just for the intellectually curious, HowTheLightGetsIn is for anyone wishing to delve into the realm of the unknown.

Line-up

Ghostpoet / King Charles / Nerina Pallot / C Duncan / Gilles Peterson / Zero 7

The Hay Festival

When

26 May to 5 June

Where

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Why Go

Founded in 1987 and nicknamed ‘the Woodstock of the mind’, The Hay Festival brings together writers from around the world to debate and share stories in the beauty of the Welsh borders. It celebrates poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and fuses the power of ideas to help challenge and reshape our thinking.

Line-up

(Among many, many others) Julia Donaldson / Steve Silberman / Robert Saviano / Ed Vulliamy / Steve Hilton / John Kampfner / Cressida Cowell / Wayne Hemingway / Yuri Herrera / Graham Swift / Rob Penn

Love Saves the Day

When

28 to 29 May

Where

Eastville Park, Bristol

Why go

Love Saves the Day is a love and glitter-fuelled electronic music festival taking place over Bank Holiday weekend in Bristol, a city rooted in music history. The birthplace of Banksy, Julio Bashmore and Skins, the festival combines the excitement of the city’s thriving underground scene with the adventure and escapism of a weekend in the blossoming Eastville Park. Showcasing pioneering artists from around the globe and a variety of eclectic musical styles all in one spectacular space – this is the ultimate underground party. If you don’t believe us, check the line-up for yourselves.

Line-up

Hot Chip / Dizee Rascal / Congo Natty / Laid Blak / DJ Luck and MC Neat / Chase & Status / Katy B / Stormsy / Nightmare on Wax / Skream

Gottwood, Wales

When

9 to 12 June

Where

Anglesey

Why go

Set in beautiful woodlands, Gottwood is an independent and intimate underground electronic music festival in the Welsh countryside with one main camping area. The festival attracts a young crowd that loves glitter, bucket hats and hula hoops. A harmonious blend of tradition, scenery and groove, this little party in the middle of the woods is sure to enchant you. The festival is now SOLD OUT, but it’s worth checking back to see if they’re reissuing tickets.

Line-up

2 Bad Mice / Adam Shelton / Al Dobson Jr / Alex Arnout / Bradley Zero / Daniel Avery / Hunee / Hodge / John Talabot

WILD LIFE, Brighton

When

11 to 12 June

Where

Brighton City Airport

Why go

Who better to start a festival than those who spend all summer touring the very best ones? Founded by Disclosure and Rudimental, WILD LIFE is a two day festival in an airfield in Brighton. While the founders are chart-toppers, the line-up is eclectic with the likes of Stormzy and Skepta alongside Skream and David Rodigan. This is not a festival about gourmet food or breathing masterclasses – it’s about enjoying the music and getting messy.

Line-up

Disclosure / Rudimental / Ice Cube / Skepta / Annie Mac / Bastille / Busta Rhymes / DJ EZ / Andy C / Four Tet / Flume / Stormzy / David Rodigan / De La Soul / Eats Everything / Julio Bashmore / Skream / Tiga / Kurupt FM

Field Day

When

11 to 12 June

Where

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Why go

Field Day is one of London’s favourite day festivals which consistently books some of the world’s best DJs and performers. Set in Victoria Park, it’s mainstream enough that you get music worth listening to – Skepta and James Blake – but alternative enough that you don’t get 13-year-olds coming to see Bruno Mars.

Line-up

James Blake / PJ Harvey/ Dusky / Four Tet / Gold Panda / Mystery Jets / Mabel / The Temper Trap / Tourist / Roots Manuva / Skepta

El Dorado, Cirque du Soul Festival, Herefordshire

When

1 to 3 July

Where

Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire

Why go

The Cirque du Soul crew are leaving the confines of urban cities and university hotspots for the great outdoors with El Dorado Festival. This is their first weekend festival and it’s set in the lush green fields of Herefordshire. With an eclectic ensemble of the biggest electronic names, five amazing themed stages and a lost kingdom, this is one for the explorers.

Line-up

Craig David’s TS5 / Basement Jaxx / Artful Dodger / Eton Messy / Mr Scruff / Jungle / Gentleman’s Dub Club / Shakka / The Heatwave Presents Hot Wuk / Submotion / David “Ram Jam” Rodigan

Wilderness, Oxfordshire

When

August 4 to 7

Where

Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire

Why go

Set in the Oxfordshire countryside around a lake – where wild swimming and boat races are encouraged – Wildlife is a luxury festival for those who love glamping but can’t hack Glastonbury. Apart from the music, they have a strong focus on food and drink with restaurants like Petersham Nurseries, Duck and Waffle, Moro and The Quality Chop House. You’ll also find talks, debates, theatre, arts and wellbeing workshops as well as daily yoga sessions, fly fishing, archery and more. Oh and did we say there was an outdoor spa….

Line-up

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters / The Flaming Lips / Crystal Fighters / Parov Stelar / Lianne La Havas / Glass Animals / Matt Corby / Shura / Tourist / Goldie / Jackmaster

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

When

5 to 29 August

Where

Edinburgh, Scotland

Why go

For one month of every year, Edinburgh sheds its air of calm and turns into tinsel town, welcoming a host of artists, actors, dancers, comedians and musicians to its streets. The Fringe is now the world’s largest arts fair; in 2014 the festival hosted 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows in 299 venues. Be sure to book travel and accommodation early to avoid disappointment.

Line-up

(Among many, many others) Sigur Rós / Deep Time / Alan Cumming / Mary Lynn Rajskub / Jimmy McGhie / Jonathan Pie

Green Man, Wales

When

18 to 21 August

Where

Brecon Beacons, Wales

Why go

Held in Brecon Beacons, Wales, Green Man is an independent music and arts festival known for its non-corporate, ethical approach. It showcases music, film, comedy, poetry, literature and theatre. With ten areas, the festival is diverse, offering something for all ages and types. Areas include ‘Far Out’, adventures for the night owls and ‘Nature Nurture’, a spa and wellbeing centre.

Line-up

Belle & Sebastian / James Blake / Wild Beasts / Warpaint / White Denim / Fat White Family

Shambala Festival

When

27 to 30 August

Where

Northamptonshire

Why go

Shambala is a small family friendly festival with an inclusive vibe. Many of the details surrounding the festival remain a mystery until it opens, but we do know that it’s located in Northamptonshire. The festival features a variety of musical styles including rock n roll, folk and pop as well as DJs and speakers headlining a venue which will feature invigorating debates, independent films, comedy and vibrant workshops.

Line-up

47 Soul/ Afriquoi/ Beardyman’s Dream Team / Jah9 & The Dub Treatment / Soom T / Benny Page / Clap! Clap! / Nightmares on Wax

Festival No. 6

When

1 to 4 September

Where

Portmeirion

Why go

Winner of the best small festival in the world, Festival No. 6 is a bespoke banquet of music, arts and culture with a beautiful backdrop. The festival is set over 70 acres of the magical Gwyllt woods, with woodland raves, live stages, storytelling, foraging trails, kids activities and floating dance floors. The festival is quintessentially British; sleep in a castle or a cottage or even under a canvas.

Line-up

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds/ Hot Chip/ Bastille/ Cassuis/ Roots Manuva/ Andrew Weatherall/ Ben UFO/ Craig Richards/ The 2 Bears/ Crazy P/ Savage

End of the Road Festival

When

2 to 4 September

Where

Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset

Why go

This is an annual music festival which takes place on the border of Dorset and Wiltshire and focuses on alternative music, mostly folk and alternative as well as Americana and country. The festival occurs over four stages but there’s a clearing in the woods with a piano where secret sets take place all weekend long. The festival is family friendly with children’s areas and also includes a healing field, comedy sessions, a film tent, a library in the forest and a games area.

Line-up

Joanna Newsom/ Animal Collective/ Bat for Lashes/ Savages/ Cat Power/ Teenage Fan Club

More Festivals

The Best International Festivals of 2016

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