Glastonbury lost its rock and roll edge when the ticket price soared over £200, Hunter wellies became the norm and the average age of the crowd hit 38. So why not give in to the finer things in life once and for all this summer and add a touch of knowing sophistication to your choice of festival? Here are nine festivals that we like to think offer something a bit different:
Love Supreme, East Sussex: 3-5 July
It’s all things Jazz at Love Supreme, the UK’s first outdoor Jazz festival. Each year it draws greater names and bigger crowds, last year hosting jazz legend Herbie Hancock. The experience is one of civilised camping, with a fine-dining tent (alongside the food village) and well-being area, as well as the offer of Supremium tickets for added comfort. They’ve also recently launched Supreme Standards – an online platform and podcast to support new Jazz, funk, and soul artists.
Tickets can be bought here (£170 adult standard camping; £99 child).
Deer Shed, North Yorkshire: 24-26 July
Now considered the UK’s best family festival, Deer Shed caters for all generations. This year, in addition to the usual music, sport, science, art, comedy, film, and theatre, they’ve designed Incognito – a large-scale multi-player mystery game to be played throughout the camping and festival site. It’s looking to be their most ambitious and exciting year.
Adult and children tickets are available here (£140 adult full weekend; £30-£70 child)
Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire: 30 July-2 August
Wilderness might be the only music festival ever to be described as decadent. Fine dining, yoga, horse-riding and cricket games are for some ticket-holders more desirable than the music line-up – perhaps a four-day collective retreat for non-music-buffs who enjoy music. That is not to dissuade music nerds, the festival hosting a huge variety of mainstream and alternative acts, but to persuade those who feel their musical education (and passion) is half-cooked – you won’t feel out of place in Oxfordshire’s beautiful Cornbury Park.
Tickets start from £175, general camping; 2020 line-up released soon!
Hay Festival, Wales: 21-31 May
Though starting as a small, folksy gathering in the beautiful Welsh countryside, Hay is now the largest literary festival in the UK, and boasts eight other locations worldwide. These humble origins might just be the secret to its success as it combines the rural charm of its bookshop-lined lanes with big name headliners, not just from literature but from politics and the wider arts. And what better way to learn about the big, wide world, with space to think and clean air to breathe? Make the most of your visit with your favourite accommodation, from camping, glamping, hotels, and homestays – a holiday in itself.
It is free access to the festival site but tickets must be booked for each event (£5-£40) – early-bird tickets are on sale now.
The Green Gathering, Chepstow: 30 July- 2 August
Winner of the Greenest Festival Award, The Green Gathering is unique among festivals. It is festival fun meets social justice activism – a showcase for what is best about community. Run by the charity organisation Green Gathering, it rivals big commercial festivals in success and popularity by providing a relaxed, inspiring, and heart-warming event. It also includes an incredibly diverse line-up, including punk bands, reggae, rap, cabaret, poetry, protest artists… the list goes on.
Tickets are £100 adult; £10-£75 child – early-bird tickets already sold out.
Camp Bestival, Dorset: 30 July-2 August
Another family favourite, Camp Bestival might just be the friendliest festival around. If you’re looking to introduce your kids to the madness and fun of a festival weekend, Lulworth Castle is the place – mostly because you know you’ll also have an awesome time. The line-up keeps getting bigger and better, with Jess Glynne, Lewis Capaldi, and the Venga Boys drawing some of the biggest crowds last year. 2020 line-up soon to be released!
Weekend tickets from https://www.campbestival.net/tickets/buy-tickets (£190 adult general camping; £30-£125 child); Day tickets available closer to date.
Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons: 20-23 August
Location, location, location… Set amid the hills and forests of the Brecon Beacons, Green Man celebrates the beauty of the Welsh landscape. The Settlers Pass gives you access to a week of camping – a chance to explore the surrounding nature and heritage sites (pass includes discounted entry). The range of music is extensive, with a focus on alternative artists. However, there’s also art installations, literature tents, film, theatre, and a massage therapy area! You might be so relaxed and reinvigorated you don’t even notice the hangover.
Tickets go on sale from late January (2020 price unconfirmed)
Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh City: 7-31 August
You’re not likely to forget about Edinburgh Fringe, the biggest celebration of art and culture in the world. However, it is easy to leave it too late! Book your accommodation before prices skyrocket, and get tickets for your must-see events. By creating an online account, you can use the Fringe Planning Calendar to ensure you make the most of your time; they have a free Fringe app too.
Tickets are priced per event/show.
Feasty Fest, Surrey: 13 September
Food comes first at this festival, formerly known as The Cheam Celebration of Food and Drink. This year will see over 100 producers gather to share their speciality food and drink – cuisines from 25 different countries. It’s also a day full of music, entertainment, and family fun, hosting free activities for kids all day. However, it’s the annual chilli eating competition which can’t be missed – ten rounds of chillies getting hotter and hotter!
Tickets to the site must be purchased but are a steal at £3.50 for early birds.