On this page you will find a list of UK music festivals for 2016. It is not a definitive list, but it is fairly comprehensive. If you wish to alert us to any we have missed, please go to our contact page.
Most of them are proper festivals – self contained outdoor events with camping where you rock up at the start and dribble back out at the end. We have, however, included a few ‘urban festivals’, where a promoter takes over a venue or venues for several days to put on bands, but there is no camping and you have to find your own accommodation.
CLICK ON THE FESTIVAL NAME TO VISIT THE FESTIVAL WEBSITE (or in some cases just facebook page)
Highlighted in red are festivals that we reccomend. Either we have been to them and can vouch for them, or they are run by people we know to be solid and will be the real deal. Just cos something is not highlighted it does not mean it is not worth checking out anyway.
Festivals are the most fun you can have with your clothes on – although you don’t necessarily have to stay fully clothed. They are a gathering of like minded individuals who wish to escape the drudgery of wage slavery and let their hair down listening to music, drinking beer and standing around campfires talking nonsense. These days many festivals will include children’s areas, cinemas, political debates, craft workshops, comedy tents and more. If you have never been to one, you really should. It might just change your life – it certainly changed ours.
Throughout April CARDIFF INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL : Chapter Arts – a festival of film – obviously
1 to 3 April LAUGHARNE WEKEND Laugharne. Literature festival with a musical twist in the home of Dylan Thomas. Probably the coolest literature festival in the country.
8 – 10 April 2016 UNITED NATIONS OF DUB Pontins ‘Prestatyn Sands’ self catering holiday park in North Wales with dub
15 to 17 April ALL TOMORROWS PARTIES 2.0 CURATED BY STEWART LEE – Prestatyn. The legenadary avant guard fest that refuses to die – Pontins Holiday camp
21 to 23 April MANCHESTER PUNK FESTIVAL: Manchester – take a wild guess
22 to 23 April SOMETHING ELSE SOLAR WARM UP PARTY: Forest of Dean. Low key warm up for festival season with the Something Else crew
29 April to 2 May BIG LOVE FESTIVAL: Hay on Wye. Dance your socks off in Baskerville Hall
29 April to 1 May MACHYNLLETH COMEDY FESTIVAL: Machynlleth (west coast Wales): Tucked away on the west coast of Wales this comedy festival is starting to earn itself a serious reputation.
6 to 8 May SOMETHING ELSE SOMEWHERE ELSE: Oxon: The Something Else crew get into full swing properly. Small, friendly, old skool and proppa.
13 to 15 May CUSUS CIDER AND MUSIC FESTIVAL Dorset; Intimate and friendly atmosphere, 2 stages, firepit and more cider than you can shake a stick at – all in the beautiful surrounds of Cranborne Chase
26 to 29 May BEARDED THEORY: Derbyshire. Old school festival that has grown in recent years from being a grass roots event in a pub in 2008 to something now attracting 12,000 festival goers. Still has good vibe though with minimal commercialisation.
26 to 29 May Knockengorroch World Ceillidh Galloway, Scotland: A cedillidh (just about), with Radical Dance Faction and Black Uhuru
20 to 22 May SURPLUS SPRING GATHERING: Porthkerry: Warm up for the festival season in Porthkerry, near Cardiff. The cream of the underground festival crew gather within walking distance of a beach. The most fun you can have for £35
21 and 22 May BRISTOL VEGAN FAYRE: Bristol grub and dub in Bristol Docks… a snip at £8 – yes- eight quid!
26th May to 5th June HAY BOOK FESTIVAL, Hay on Wye: A festival with books and talks by book type people, with a bit of music chucked in, as Bill Clinton put it “The Woodstock of the Mind”. Events individually ticketed. You really need to plan your visit, if you just turn up you will may well find the event you want to go to sold out.
26 May to 5 June HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN Hay on Wye – Hay Book Festival fringe area (ish) – a festival all on it’s own. Live music, DJs, films, talks, comedy, drink, food for you bellys and your brains
27 to 29 May STRANGE DAYS FESTIVAL Cardiff – several live music venues get together for a bank holiday weekender of psychedelic, rock, noise and experimental music.
27 to 29 May RAW POWER FESTIVAL London three days of full on experimental heavyness in a nightclub.
27 to 29 May NO MANS LAND: Somerset: Groovy funky thing at secret location
27 to 30 May WELSH CIDER AND PERRY FESTIVAL Chepstow Castle. As far as Wales goes, this is THE cider festival
30 May to 5 June HEDGE-U-CATION FAMILY CAMP: South West week of workshops eco education and music
3 to 5 June MERTHYR RISING: Merthyr Tydfil: series of events around the historic town of merthyr to mark the Merthyr Rising of 1831 – when the red flag was first flown. Music, comedy, films, politics and more – at £10 you cant afford to NOT go.
3 to 6 June BALTER FESTIVAL: Secret location somewhere in the south wales valleys – dance meets punk and ska
3 to 5 June CLIFFTOP REGGAE PARTY: Aberystwyth – reggae on the top of a cliff
3 to 5 June WYCHWOOD: Cheltenham: low key but high quality event on the race course
4 June STRAWBERRY FAIR: Cambridge. One of the oldest and best. A FREE community event that attracts over 30,000 people.
3 to 5 June COASTLINE BLUE GRASS FESTIVAL: Llangollen bluegrass in north wales
9 to 12 June ISLE OF WIGHT Isle of Wight: the original cashing in on the festival scene event, revitalised for the 21st century – Jimmi is unlikely to turn up.
10 to 11 June POSITIVE VIBRATIONS FESTIVAL Liverpool – live music, DJs & Selectas, dub sound systems, food & drink, a record fair, pop-up stalls, a Reggae Q&A, an international art exhibition, face & body painting and inspiring creative workshops for the kids.
10 to 12 June: SYMETRY FESTIVAL: Norfolk. DJS and cheesy quavers doing big box little box in a forest
10 to 12 June DOWNLOAD: Donnington: Noisy muthafuker, the granddaddy of metal fests held on the site of Donnington racecourse, take ya ear plugs and sleep with one eye open
16 to 18 June SONAR: Barcelona, Spain described officially as a festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art. Music is by far the main aspect of the festival.
16 to 19 June TRIPLICITY Exmoor: Psychedelic and trippy shindig
17 to 19 June SONIC ROCK SOLSTICE: Bromsgrove: Space Rock extraveganzaaa
17 to 19 June UNEARTHED INA FIELD Solva (west wales) “Celebrating the expansion of consciousness from the material to the ethereal” Fire Dancers, trapeze performances and workshops, hula hoop and workshop, drumming and workshop, belly dancers and live music. Don’t know much about this but we know Solva is a damn fine location
20/21 June STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATIONS: Stonehenge (maybe?)
17 to 19 June GOLD COAST OCEAN FEST Croyde Bay, Devon. Surf, film and music at one of the most beautiful costal villages in the UK
22 to 26 June GLASTONBURY MEGAFEST: Pilton: Benefit gig for Avon and Sommerset Police; The Wimbledon of the festival circuit. Not as good as it used to be.. OFFICAL! If you aint got a ticket, dont bother, cos it is sold out and these days they have security to rival the G8 summits.
25 June to 2 July ROSKILDE Denmark: Europes answer to Glastonbury
1 to 3 July SURPLUS FESTIVAL: Porthkerry – small old skool festival within staggering distance of the beach. The very best of festival underground sounds. Possibly the best festival of the season and dirt cheap. Watch out for the Peppermint Iguana Crew running workshops in the campaigns tent
1 + 2 July BLISSFIELDS: Hampshire: in a field full of bliss we assume, don’t know much about it.
7 to 10 July NOISILY FESTIVAL: Leicestershire Festival of Electronic Music and Arts
8 to 10 July CORNBURY: Oxfordshire: Looks a a bit radio two-ish! …. Wipe your feet on the way in
8 to 11 July: FREEROTATION: Hay on Wye: Well cool electronica festival in mid Wales
7 to 10 July EXIT Serbia Award winning annual summer festival in the Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad. Originally run by the students union, several NGOs have helped out in the past and has a social conscience, but there have been several take over bids in recent years
8 to 10 July T IN THE PARK Scotland: Big corporate thing north of the border
9 July BRUTON REGGAE FESTIVAL: Bruton, Sommerset: Reggae
13 to 17 July LARMER TREE FESTIVAL: Dorset: Well run civilised little folky/world music event in the Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset every July. Excellent facilities, ideal festival for people who do not like festivals. ALWAYS sells out and always has pronghorn close on the Sunday night.
14 to 17 July ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST Trowbridge Independent, DIY, eccentric even, they rate smiles over sub-bass, Gypsy over Corporate, Ska over Skrillex or Slipknot, actual over synthetic. Which sounds good to us.
14 to 17 July 2010 BENICASSIM Spain. Big names and big sun .. take your suncream
15 to 17 July TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS FESTIVAL: Tolpuddle, Devon: Annual trade union event to mark the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Music, film, talks, marches.
15 to 17 July BEAT HERDER: Ribble Valley, Lancashire: “Northern folk at thier best”, or so the Granarchist tells us!
22 to 23 July CHAGSTOCK: Dartmoor: Family event
22 to 24 July NOZSTOCK: Herefordshire: Cracking 3,000 capacity event near the home of Strongbow with a diverse line up and a cheap price.
22 to 24 July TROWBRIDGE VILLAGE PUMP; Trowbridge: A beer festival with some music,
22 to 25 July: AUDIO FARM FESTIVAL: Bangor: Fuses music, art, culture and awareness into a communal gathering of music and creativity
23 to 24 July STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL: Ebbw Vale: Classic rock on the top of a mountain off the Heads of the Valleys. Headbangers heaven
14 to17 July LATITUDE, Sufolk: Music, comedy, books, cinema, theatre and far too cool for the likes of you
21 to 24 July SECRET GARDEN: Huntingdon: shhhh… it’s a secret! if the gig is as good as the website it will be very good
28 to 31 July WOMAD: Wiltshire: World Of Music And Dance, too cool for one country
28 to 21 July CAMP BESTIVAL: Dorset: family friendly festival in a castle – not to be confused with Bestival
29 to 31 July SOMETHING ELSE A BIT UP NORTH Chester. You cant keep a good festival crew down
29 to 31 July KOZFEST Devon. Space rock happening (sold out)
29 to 31 July: RED SUN FESTIVAL Cardiff. Three days of indoor heavyosity in the heart of Cardiff
4 to 7 August: GREEN GATHERING Chepstow. Like the Green Fields of Glastonbury, but without the Babylon . Workshops, politics, yougurt weaving, windmill building and wicked music. Accept no substitutes. Watch out for the Peppermint Iguana Crew running workshops in the campaigns area
4 to 7 August WICKHAM: Hampshire: M.O.R. thing by the sea
6/7 August TARTAN HEART: Scotland, more MOR type stuff
4 to 7 August KAYA FESTIVAL OF WORLD MUSIC AND ARTS: Margham Park South Wales. What it says on the lid – picturesque site
12 to 14 August BRECON JAZZ: Brecon. Its in Brecon (mid Wales) and its got jazz… nice! Festival has changed hands many times in recent years, but it just wont go away
5 to 29 August EDINBURGH FRINGE Edinburgh. World’s largest arts festival, with something for everyone: theatre, comedy, music, dance, musicals, opera, children’s shows, exhibitions and much more. Bigger and better than the festival it is supposed to be a fringe of!
12 to 14 August FARMER PHILLS Shrewsbury – eclectic little gathering with music, dance comedy and more
11 to 14 August BOOMTOWN FAIR: Hampshire: Ever moving and ever growing festival. Started out as a cider festival and really old skool but is now a beast in danger of getting out of control. Split into distinct city themed zones. Still worth checking out – if you can handle it. Don’t expect a lot of sleep.
11 to 14 August BLOODSTOCK: Burton on Trent: Metal bloody metal, for fans of tinitus and necrophilia.
18 to 21 August GREEN MAN: Brecon: cool, classy and hip as fuck – if slightly overpriced. Always sells out.
18 to 21 August ARC TANGENT Bristol – lo-fi grungy metal type thang with God Speed You Black Emperer
19 to 21 August LOWLANDS: Holland. 3 days festival with music, street theatre, movies tents, Comedy Stages, visual arts, literature arenas, multimedia Stages and more.
20 to 21 August V FESTIVAL: Chelmsford: more corporate nonsense from the man that brought you tubular bells and virgin cola. Justin fucking Beiber for fucks sake
19 to 21 August BEAUTIFUL DAYS: Devon: the Levellers and friends go back to their roots
25 to 28 August SHAMBALA: Secret location in the Midlands : one of the coolest events on the circuit.
26 to 28 August NEW ROSE FESTIVAL Penzance – the bastard son of the three chords festival, punk and pasties in Cornwall.
26 to 28 August SOLFEST: Cumbria: One of these days we are gonna make the effort to drive that far north. Looks wicked.
26 to 28 August CARLING WEEKEND: Reading and Leeds: Mean Fi**ler commercial nonsense for kids to line Vince Powers’ pocket. When you have an option of buying your ticket in instalments – you know it is over priced
25 to 28 August CREAMFIELDS; Daresubry: big ravey thing for people who don’t know how to find a proper free party
1 to 4 September FESTIVAL NUMBER SIX Portmeirion – North Wales. This expensive festival looks unfeasably cool and too hip to be true. We aint been there yet but we know the location and struggle to think of a better site for a festival – it’s where they filmed classic 60s TV series ‘The Prisoner’. Not normally out cup of chai, but we are determined to check it out soon.
2 to 4 September COMMON GROUND: Forest of Dean: a politically conscious benefit festival, organised a by a small collective of like minded people – music with a hard core slant
2 to 4 September OFF THE TRACKS: Donnington: Nice small festival off the tracks of Donnington Racetrack. Directly under the flight path of West Midlands Airport
2 to 4 September: HIDDEN VILLAGE FESTIVAL Peterborough. Five stages of dance music
2 to 4 September END OF THE ROAD Dorset: It’s in the Larmer Tree grdens, so we imagine it will be a chilled out way to end your season
8 to 11 September BESTIVAL: Isle of Wight: bit more dance orientated than the other one on the White Isle.
9 to 11 September UNDERCOVER FESTIVAL Brighton: Post-punky-reggae party on the south east coast
23 to 25 September SOMETHING ELSE IN THE DEAN: Forest of Dean. Perfect way to end the season, small, friendly, old skool and in the middle of a bloody big corn maze.