Which UK music festival is right for you?
Music festivals have become a staple of British summers for almost everybody under thirty – but before you pack your checked shirts, cheap ray-bans and tins of cider into a rucksack and hop onto a train, it’s a good idea to make sure you know which festival is right for you.
Sure, most of the music festivals 2017 UK are seem fairly similar – lots of grass, tepid alcohol and live music – but each festival is different and unique. They have their own vibe. Picking the right one can be the difference between a great weekend and the best weekend of your life.
Before we get onto the list, here are a few tips on how to make your festival season a little cheaper:
- Volunteer: If free tickets, accommodation and hot meals in exchange for a short shift volunteering sounds good to you, it might be worth your time to sign up to be an Oxfam steward. Not only do you get everything for free – from your ticket to a decent meal every day – but you only have to work an 8 hour shift each day. (We know, that might sound like a chore, but – having done it – it’s the easiest thing in the world. You just throw on your high vis and watch the music.
- Go into vulture mode: At festivals, drinks are expensive. However, most festivals offer a scheme where they pay you for collecting things – bottles, paper cups, rubbish. That kind of thing. If you’re in the mood to save some money, go around for half an hour or so, collect everything you can find and cash it in. That brief period will pay dividends. (Pro tip: try collecting after the headline act. That’s where the big money is.)
- Avoid buying things inside the arena: As a rule, the food, drinks and merchandise inside the arena are overpriced. Sure, a pint or two between acts isn’t going to break the bank, but drinking there all weekend will add up quickly. Instead, try and time runs back to your tent for food and drink between acts you want to see.
The right festival for you – music festivals 2017 UK:
Perfect for: Everything and everyone. Glastonbury is the standout choice of music festivals 2017 UK.
Headliners: Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran
Date: 21 – 25 June 2017
One of the UK’s oldest festivals, Glastonbury doesn’t just earn its place on festival bucket lists because of its incredible line-up. There are circus acts, incredible food stalls, theatre pieces, secret sets, hidden gems and a 24-hour buzz of energy. Oh, and mud. Plenty of mud.
If you can get a ticket, you have to go Glastonbury at least once in your life.
Perfect for: Fans of boutique festivals
Headliners: The xx, A Tribe Called Quest, Pet Shop Boys
Date: 7-10 September
Even if we chose to forget the incredible line-up (The xx!), the fancy dress and its reputation for non-stop fun, Bestival would still be a must-visit festival because of its sheer diversity. There’s spontaneous sets near the lake, more art and culture than you can shake a stick at and just a generally infectious atmosphere. Plus, it’s near the end of festival season – what better way to see the summer out?
Perfect for: Your first ‘proper’ festival
Headliners: Kasabian, Eminem and Muse
Date: August Bank Holiday Weekend (25-27 August 2017)
Location: Reading and Leeds, surprisingly.
If you’re not afraid of a bit of grime, Reading/Leeds is for you. It usually attracts a younger crowd (18-23ish) but delivers a massive punch of a consistently brilliant line-up that covers everything from metal and indie-rock to hip-hop and house.
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL
Perfect for: Fans of folk (and a more relaxed festival vibe)
Headliners: PJ Harvey, Ryan Adams, Future Islands
Date: 17-20 Aug 2017
Location: Brecon Beacons
Set against a backdrop of the Breacon Beacons, Green Man brings together folk icons with poets, authors and comedians for a distinctly cultured vibe.
As well as theatre performances, poetry readings and headline sets, there’s also a host of real ales, ciders and local food. Green Man is less about mosh pits and walls of death and more about appreciation of great music, food and drink.
Perfect for: Metalheads
Headliners: System of a Down, Biffy Clyro, Aerosmith
Date: 9-11 Jun 2017
If you’d rather watch paint dry than listen to Ed Sheeran, Download is probably the festival for you. Planting itself firmly at the heavy end of heavy rock,
Download always pulls together an incredible line-up that brings together acts that span the history of rock. And if there’s still any doubt in your mind,
System of a Down and Biffy Clyro are both incredibly good live. You don’t want to miss out.
Perfect for: Fans of whimsy and wonder
Headliners: The 1975, Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes
Date: 13-16 July
With sets hidden in the woods and sheep just chilling in the field, Latitude is about much more than the music. Like a less-folky Green Man festival,
Latitude places a lot of emphasis on the celebration of variety – from clowns and jugglers to dance troupes, comedy shows and film screenings, there’s something here for everyone.
ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
Perfect for: People with eclectic music tastes
Headliners: Arcade Fire, Rod Stewart, Run DMC
Date: 8-11 June 2017
Location: Isle of Wight, duh.
With the Isle of Wight, you’re not just getting a solid line-up, you’ll be heading to an historic festival – one of the first ‘proper’ festivals in the UK and the location of many, many, many iconic performances. Plus, the Isle of Wight isn’t too bad to look at, either. And you get to go on a boat to get there, which is always fun.
Perfect for: Families with young children
Headliners: Madness, Mark Ronson and Brian Wilson
Date: 27-30 July
Offering the same fantastic festival experience as Bestival but with a little (well, a lot) less debauchery, Camp Bestival is completely family-friendly. That means, in addition to some stellar acts on the stage, there’s face painting, kids entertainment and fancy dress. Everything you need to keep the whole family entertained and having a great time.
So there you have it – a breakdown of the best music festivals 2017 UK. Did we miss any? Is there a festival you would add to the music festivals 2017 UK list? Let us know in the comments below. If not, see you in the summer!