UK Festivals 2017: A complete guide

David Smyth
Festivals in focus: Sunset at glastonbury: Getty Images

It’s slightly warmer, you’re getting out of bed in daylight again and you probably have at least two daffodils within your field of vision. Feel like going camping yet?

Before you know it, it’ll be time to hose off last year’s wellies, check the sleeping bags for moth holes, reapply that henna tattoo and make a new in-car mixtape titled “Traffic Jam Chill”. The major UK festivals have announced most of the key names in their latest line-ups and there’s more than enough music for everybody. Here’s our round-up of the best places to see a perfectly nice field being completely trashed in summer 2017.

The biggies


Aug 19-20, Hylands Park, Chelmsford (

If you mostly listen to the Top 40, V has many of your current faves covered, although it looks like chart kingpin Ed Sheeran will be elsewhere this summer. Instead they’re bringing back Pink as well as British lady favourites Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne and Emeli Sandé. From the world of rap, there’s Jay-Z, Dizzee Rascal and man of the moment Stormzy. But it’s Pete Tong’s orchestral versions of Ibiza classics that should be the sound to really unite the masses.


Jun 21-25, Worthy Farm, Somerset (

Everyone feels like they’ve been to Glastonbury thanks to the BBC’s blanket coverage, but smoothly edited telly is no match for the strange magic that grips you on a late-night wander through the Shangri-La field. It’s the nation’s most popular festival for a reason, only part of which is an ever-stellar line-up that includes Radiohead, Foo Fighters and if rumours are true, Ed Sheeran. Tickets sold out long ago, naturally, but keep an eye on the website to register for a spring resale.

Isle of Wight

Jun 8-11, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight (

Isle of Wight is the latest festival to announce “co-headliners”, when one a night isn’t enough to appeal all round. On the Friday, they’re making unlikely bedfellows of rap legends Run DMC and French dance-pop giant David Guetta. They’ve also booked the returning Arcade Fire and, to maintain the historic event’s retro feel, Rod Stewart.

Camp Bestival: Fun for all the family

Best for kids

Camp Bestival

Jul 27-30, Lulworth Castle, Dorset (

Music isn’t always top priority at this colourful one where the childless are an extreme minority. Kids’ telly stars such as Mr Tumble, Dick and Dom and Mister Maker are the real draws here, but this time there’s a lot of great stuff on in the evenings too. Pet Shop Boys and Madness will do the classics, Brian Wilson will play the ultimate classic — his Pet Sounds album — and Leftfield and All Saints will get the children of the Nineties dancing.

Green Man

Aug 17-20, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons (

Wimpy parents who can’t handle children sitting on their shoulders for eight-hour stretches will love the tiered amphitheatre that surrounds Green Man’s idyllic main stage, which means everyone can see even sitting down at the back. They also offer a “Settler’s Pass” for those who want to turn their trip into a week’s holiday, plus an impressive music line-up including PJ Harvey, Ryan Adams and Michael Kiwanuka.

Beautiful Days

Aug 18-20, Escot Park, Devon (

Veteran folk band The Levellers organise this family affair, which has a large children’s area organised by Majical Youth Theatre with crafts, circus, storytelling and more. I like the sound of a show called “Aerodynamics of Biscuits”. The music is also of a folky strain, including the likes of The Waterboys, Eliza Carthy and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott.

Standon Calling: Easy come, easy go (Daisy B Photography)

Close to home


May 26-28, Damyns Hall Aerodrome, Upminster (

An airfield gets transformed into rave central at the start of the festival season, with umpteen stages heavily populated with DJs. There’ll be veteran names such as Carl Cox, Sven Väth, Armand Van Helden and Basement Jaxx, plus the rejuvenated Craig David, Radio 1’s MistaJam, and rappers Giggs and Wiley.

Wild Life

Jun 9-10, Brighton City Airport (

This relative newbie was originally billed as a double-header from “organisers” Disclosure and Rudimental, but in its third year, it’s spreading the net wider. Dance, pop and rap are still the order of the day, with prominent sets from Fatboy Slim, Jess Glynne, Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy. There’s also persistent chart botherer Zara Larsson, George Ezra back with new music, and major new breakthrough star Rag’n’Bone Man.

Standon Calling

Jul 27-30, Standon House, Standon, Herts (

This smallish gathering for 10,000 is one of a few festivals with a fancy-dress theme. This year it’s “Tales of the Enchanted Valley”, which seems to mean “Come as Red Riding Hood”. It’s also family- and dog-friendly. The latter will be wagging tails to the sounds of Clean Bandit, Orbital, Slaves and Laura Mvula.


Aug 25-27, Richfield Avenue, Reading (

Reading named five different headliners across its three days last year, but this time they’re back to booking genuinely big guns. Kasabian will be rousing the rabble with songs from a brand new album on Friday, followed by a rare sighting of hip-hop giant Eminem on Saturday before Muse close proceedings with their usual rock spectacular on Sunday.

Latitude: Music meets theatre, poetry, documentaries and talks

Music and more


Jul 13-16, Henham Park, Southwold (

When we say this artsy event has a dance stage, we don’t mean Calvin Harris. There’s ballet on the waterfront as well as oodles of theatre, poetry, documentaries and talks. It all complements a serious music bill that features Goldfrapp, Fleet Foxes, The 1975 and a whole Saturday curated by Mumford & Sons.


Aug 3-6, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire (

If you’d really rather be staying in a boutique hotel in Notting Hill than a festival campsite, this one comes closest to the experience, with its spa, yoga school and array of fine-dining experiences (for an extra cost) from Yotam Ottolenghi, Nuno Mendes and Angela Hartnett. There’s also dance from Sadler’s Wells, talks organised by Tate Britain and, if you still have the energy, music from Grace Jones, Bonobo and Two Door Cinema Club.


Aug 9-13, Watergate Bay, Newquay, Cornwall (

A professional surfing competition first and a music festival second, Boardmasters has an incredible sea view that will make anyone on stage look good. This year that includes the long-absent Jamiroquai, psychedelic oddballs The Flaming Lips, Mercury Prize winners Alt-J and the omnipresent Stormzy.

Festival No. 6

Sep 7-10, Portmeirion, North Wales (

If you hate mud, head to Sir Clough William-Ellis’s Italianate village in Wales, famously the set for cult TV show The Prisoner. Around the streets there’ll be arty happenings, a stage curated by actress Maxine Peake, Michelin-starred banquets and bands, of course. They include headliners Bloc Party, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips, and most excitingly, The Bootleg Beatles with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Secret Garden Party: Ending on a high

Quirky types

Barn on the Farm

Jun 29-July 2, Over Farm, Over, Gloucester (

No clever branding here: it’s literally a big barn on a farm, with a reputation for booking future guitar stars having previously hosted Ed Sheeran, James Bay and Catfish & The Bottlemen. Tom Odell is the first big name on the bill this summer, with impressive soul man Rationale and tuneful indie types Sundara Karma also appearing.

Secret Garden Party

Jul 20-23, Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon, Cambs (

Bad news for the world of boutique festivals: having started as an event for just 500 people 15 years ago, the Secret Garden Party is calling it a day after this summer. They basically invented glamping, and there are now plenty of other events inspired by their colourful style, but it’s a sad move nonetheless. Helping them to bow out with a bang will be Wild Beasts, Ray BLK and Metronomy.

End of the Road

Aug 31-Sept 3, Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury (

They’ve got peacocks and stunning woodlands, and a music line-up that is invariably one of the summer’s best. In 2017 that means louche troubadour Father John Misty, anthemic Americana from Band of Horses, vintage noise from The Jesus & Mary Chain and intense country rock from Lucinda Williams.


Sep 7-10, Lulworth Castle, Dorset (

A huge change for the original kooky weekender this year, which has made the decision to leave its long-term home on the Isle of Wight for the Dorset site of its little sister, Camp Bestival. Organiser Rob da Bank blamed it on the “boring economics of getting people on to the island”, and it hasn’t affected the quality of the line-up, which this year features The xx, A Tribe Called Quest and Pet Shop Boys.

Headliner: Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil, who will play at Download (Redferns)

A bit special


Jun 9-11, Donington Park, Derby (

Now that the rival Sonisphere festival seems to be no more, Download has the giants of rock all to itself. This year the black-clad and hairy can enjoy ambitious metal from System of a Down, pop punk from Sum 41 and Good Charlotte, Scots anthems from Biffy Clyro and classic rock from Aerosmith.

Love Supreme

Jun 30-July 2, Glynde, East Sussex (

It’s a jazz festival in spirit, but includes everything from electrofunk singer NAO to soul veterans The Jacksons in that definition. Also performing within sight of the grand hills of the South Downs are George Benson, Gregory Porter, Herbie Hancock and Laura Mvula.

Ramblin’ Man Fair

Jul 28-30, Mote Park, Maidstone (

A newish festival for oldish music, this is where you’ll find all the classic rockers and their numerous fans. This summer that means long-running bands such as Saxon, Extreme and ZZ Top, as well as newer acts with a vintage feel such as Monster Truck and blues-playing teenager Aaron Keylock.


Jul 27-30, Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire (

The world music experts have the broadest range of live music on offer every summer. The limited bill announced so far includes South African vocal legends Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Survivors, performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah and techno-jazz boundary breaker Squarepusher. Book the fancy Weekend Spa Ticket if the thought of all that tires you out.

Cambridge Folk

Jul 27-30, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge (

This venerable event, for mostly traditional music, must be doing something right to still be here after more than 50 years. Day tickets for the Saturday have already sold out despite only a handful of acts having been announced so far, including an acoustic set from Jake Bugg and novelty bluegrass from Hayseed Dixie.


Aug 24-27, Daresbury Estate, Halton, Cheshire (

The Electric Daisy Carnival isn’t coming to the UK this summer, so that leaves this four-day event looking like the biggest thing in dance music this summer. Absolutely everybody’s showing up over the course of four days, from chart-toppers The Chainsmokers to big name DJs deadmau5, Axwell & Ingrosso and Eric Prydz, to Radio 1’s Annie Mac and MistaJam.

Parklife: Nothing to do with Blur

Pop pickers


Jun 10-11, Heaton Park, Manchester (

Nothing to do with Blur, but a large green space just north of Manchester with an array of popular names on its bill, including hometown heroes The 1975, R&B superstar Frank Ocean, chart favourite Jess Glynne and grime man Stormzy. Londoners may prefer Brighton’s handier Wild Life festival, with which this one’s line-up seems to overlap somewhat.


Aug 25-27, Southsea Seafront, Portsmouth (

This is an affordable event which is more suited to a day trip, with any camping on offer being off-site. Its line-up will please pop fans, with cheeky chappy Olly Murs, glam diva Rita Ora and fast-rising newcomer Raye all booked. But there are plenty of bands too, including Stereophonics, Elbow and The Charlatans.


Sep 1-3, Norfolk Showground, Norwich (

Norwich’s dance and pop festival is keeping the occupants of its five stages a secret for the time being. Last year’s bookings included Jason Derulo, Jess Glynne and Years & Years, which should give you an idea of the kind of event they have in mind.