Ahh, summer - despite the fact that the weather rarely ever lives up to expectations and it’s over in the blink of an eye, it’s still a wonderful time because FESTIVALS!
Forget the likes of Reading & Leeds, Creamfields, T in the Park and V Fest - here’s the best of the wackiest and weirdest festivals we could find. Even if it's a little too late to get organised and head to some of them this summer, there’s always next year…
1. Wilderness Festival August 4 - 7
Wilderness Festival is described as “four days in a nature reserve to meet new people, meet new ideas and new experiences.” Unlike the majority of festivals, it’s not all about the musical line-up; mass yoga, capoeira, perfume making workshops, and guerilla archaeology are some of activities available for you to participate in - or you could just chill out in the forest and enjoy some wild swimming in the lake.
2. Shambala Festival August 25 - 28
Shambala is a small diverse festival in Northamptonshire - expect to enjoy rock, pop, folk and world music alongside art installations, theatre, cabaret, spoken word, workshops, and entertainment for the little ones. Art installations this year include an interactive womb (yes - womb), and The Cabinet of Strange Reflections, a weirdly wonderful mirrored maze to dazzle and confuse you while you wind your way to its core. Son Caméléon will also be making an appearance:
3. Buddhafield Festival July 13 - 17
Buddhafield is a celebration of community and togetherness - a joyful and unique creation of community. “Ritual, song, dance, arts and crafts, yoga, t’ai chi, meditation, and play, blend together in a drink- and drug-free environment. The Festival is for people from all traditions — and none — coming together in a mindful and family-friendly space, allowing hearts and minds to open.”
4. Beat-Herder Festival July 15 - 17
Beat-Herder was founded in 2006 on less capitalist ideals than most existing festivals - borne from Yorkshire and Lancashire’s free party history, the festival has done its best to maintain low prices, with alcohol on sale at the same price as it would be as your local (up North, that means cheap)! Expect a mix of folk, psychedelic rock, dubstep, reggae and techno across a variety of stages like the Trash Manor, Toil Trees and Smoky Tentacles Shisha Lounge…
5. Green Man Festival August 18 - 21
Green Man is Wales’ biggest music event, known for its ethical and independent ethos and feel-good forest/countryside vibes. Equally enjoyed by city-folk and hippies alike, expect to enjoy all types of music across ten different individually themed areas; but don’t expect to find any corporate sponsors, advertising or VIP areas because there won’t be any. (Hallelujah)
6. Beautiful Days Festival August 19 - 21
Also with no advertising or corporate sponsorship, Beautiful Days festival in Devon has sold out in advance every year since its conception in 2003 - they must be doing something right. There is entertainment for the young and old alike in the form of music (obvs), a walkabout theatre, site art installations, comedy, theatre, family camping, food & craft stalls, healing area, play areas and real ale bars run by Otter Brewery.
7. One Love Festival September 2 - 4
If you’re into all things Reggae and Dub, One Love is the festival for you: “bringing Reggae and the message of Bob Marley to the people - One Love, One Heart”. Based in Hainault Forest Country Park, 70 bands will play on two live music stages, including the ‘Battle of the Dubplates’ winners who will be selected from 8 artists/groups and headline the Saxon Sound arena on Sunday.
8. Blissfields Festival June 30 - July 2
At 2,500 ticket capacity, Blissfields is a small feature on Winchester’s musical calendar when compared to the likes of Glastonbury (which saw a staggering 135,000 festival goers last year!) But don’t be fooled - what Blissfields may lack in size, it makes up for with its reputation for fun, good music and weird and wonderful enjoyment. This year’s theme is ‘Houseparty’ - expect to enjoy a host of themed activities in unique and fascinating areas like The Hidden Hedge, winner of the Unique Festival Arena category in the 2015 AIF Festival Congress Awards…
7. Festival No. 6 September 1 - 4
Festival No. 6 in North Wales might be a bit of a trek to get to, but it’s well worth it - organisers claim it is set in the most stunning festival setting in the world, and to be fair, they’re probably right. Expect music for all tastes alongside arts and culture, great food, activities and experiences all in the insanely beautiful town of Portmeirion (Google it) with the backdrop of the unspoiled North Wales coastline. Beck, who headlined in 2014 said:
“This is the coolest, most surrealist, funkiest, freakiest, best festival in the world… Can we just come back every year?”
10. WOMAD Festival July 28 - 31
World of Music Arts and Dance festival is a celebration of music, arts and culture from all corners of our planet. Expect a colourful array of global food, music, and activities in the main arena; or enjoy an oasis of treatments, therapies, discussions, workshops and spaces away from it all in the World of Wellbeing. Broadening of cultural horizons and a good time guaranteed.
12. Supernormal Festival August 5 - 7
Supernormal is anything but super normal (ba dum tss); it’s a three-day experimental arts and music festival where artists, performers and musicians work collaboratively and creatively for a new kind of audience seeking experiences out of the mainstream. Born from a place that values the currency of ideas and imagination rather than commercialism and profit, the event is determinedly small and intimate with an audience of 1,500. Artists/performers on the programme this year include Giant Swan, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, and Second Supernormal Super Sensory Summer School. Sounds cool.
11. Standon Calling Festival July 29 - 31
Originating as a birthday garden party for festival founder Alexander Trenchard, Standon Calling has grown to be a well respected and much enjoyed festival in the UK festival circuit over the last 11 years. It’s basically a big ass themed manor house party in the beautiful grounds of Standon Lordship; this year, you are welcomed to immerse yourself in the Legend of the Lost Seas and chill by the pool.