Which 2019 British festival do you really belong at? A guide
You know if it’s Glasto
Rewind a few years, and it was a quick decision with your mates if you wanted to go to Reading or Leeds, V Fest or just get drunk in the local park all summer. Now, there's festivals almost every weekend, they are all over the country, and your possibilities are quite literally endless.
Do people still wear glitter? Do I pack just one pair of wellies? Should I dress sensibly or just cover my boobs in body paint? Are the frequent questions you might ask yourself in the lead up to this summer.
So if you manage to gather up all of your flaky friendship group, and can somehow persuade them all into agreeing to go to a festival – here is a comprehensive guide to all you need to know. Even though you'll probably still end up getting hammered off £2 tinnies, vomit all over yourself and shag in a porta-loo.
Queen’s Yard Summer Party
Location: Hackney Wick, London
Line-up: Dan Shake, Hammer, Krywald & Farrer, Fabio, Gideön and loooooads more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? An excellent crowd of mainly East Londoners, aka very good looking and exceptionally well dressed people (if laid back, sexy casual is what you're into). If you want a really decent party to go to this bank holiday, that isn't a full on festival – this is for you. A good mix of chill and heavy.
Ticket price: £71.50 for the whole weekend, or around £30 for a day ticket.
Location: Meridian Water, London
Line-up: Skepta, Bonobo, Jorja Smith, Todd Terje, Bonobo, Jungle, HAAi, Mall Grab, Seth Troxler and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Cool, young Londoners milling about in the sun with craft beers and the contents of their Discover Weekly. As night falls, graphic design professionals and half of London’s media startups try to squeeze in and watch a DJ set. A generally very good crowd.
This year it’s moved from South London’s Brockwell Park to a cool warehouse-come-outdoor complex which looks a like an aircraft bunker. The real cherry this year however is the 3am finish – you don't have to manoeuvre the crowds at 11pm as you leave, wanting more and wondering what to do next.
Ticket Price: £77.50 for the weekend, £40-£47 for a day. Buy your ticket here.
Line-up: Cardi B, Migos, Tyga, Travis Scott, Future, A$AP Rocky and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? The kind of people you find on a Friday and Saturday night in the RnB room of your local club. It’s exactly like that room, just in a field and spread over the whole weekend – oh, and the acts are actually there.
Ticket price: £65 for each day, £175 for the whole weekend.
Line-up: Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille, Friendly Fires and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Quite indie and fun. You’ll find families there too, so it’s very friendly. But it’s not all about the music, there are tents dedicated to cool talks hosted by the Science Museum you can pop into. Oh, and the food there is always spot on.
Ticket price: £39.50 + BF
All Points East
Line-up: Headline shows from the likes of The Chemical Brothers, The Strokes, Christine and the Queens, Bring Me The Horizon, Mumford and Sons and Bon Iver.
What’s the vibe and who's going? The crowd will depend on the weekend you go, but it’s a big gig in a park. Expect a lot of people moaning about how they couldn’t get tickets for Glastonbury, but it’s okay because this line-up is nearly as good, and they get to stay in London.
Ticket price: £71 day ticket.
Line-up: Alabaster De Plume, Amy True, BCUC, Blow 3.0 and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Genuinely spiritual people who you couldn’t imagine living the real world. Or people dressed like that for the weekend. Or families. Anything goes.
Ticket price: £165.95 (tier one adult weekend).
South West Four
Location: Clapham, London
Line-up: Alison Wonderland, Andy C, Chip, Craig David, Alix Perez B2B Spectrasoul and more.
What's the vibe and who's going? KPMG grad schemers from Exeter uni trying to recapture their uni days.
Ticket price: £57.50 (Saver ticket). Get an exclusive Tab student discount on your ticket here.
Location: Peckham, London
Line-up: Honey Dijon, Horse Meat Disco, Gerd Janson, Midland, Palms Trax, Mr Scruff, Dan Beaumont.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Imagine the most beautiful people South of the River (plus a few from the North), dancing around to disco all day. Gala is that. It’s essentially Pop Brixton and Peckham Springs on a very good night.
The great thing about Gala is it’s small enough to bump into everyone you know (there’s only two stages), yet just big enough for it to feel like you’re at a proper festival. There’s no walking admin, queuing admin, or getting a good spot admin. Just a full day of partying to what is guaranteed good music.
Ticket Price: £60.00. The final few tickets are on sale here.
Line-up: Chance The Rapper, Solange, J Hus, Giggs, 2Chainz, Four Tet, Annie Mac, Cypress Hill.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? A very mixed crowd usually, you’ll get people from all over the UK, and of all ages coming to London to see their favourite acts. It’s a guaranteed good day festival in London. Nothing more, nothing less.
Ticket price: £60-80 a day or £120 for the weekend.
Line-up: Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets, Four Tet, Ms Dynamite
What’s the vibe and who’s going? BoomTown is incredibly full-on. You’ve got DnB kids with shoulder bags bumping into hippies with dreads all over the place. A mini-city is built around you, with endless alleys and nooks and crannies to discover.
You could have psytrance all day and night if you wanted to, but explore and there’s a mix of random live acts in the day and high-calibre DJs at night.
Ticket Price: Tier four from £264 (+ BF & Eco Bond).
Line-up: Above and Beyond, Afrojack, Andy C, Annie Mac, Calvin Harris, Chase and Status, Duke Dumont and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Very Drum and Bass. If you still have a good time listening to Chase and Status, you should go.
Ticket Price: Friday £65, Saturday £85 or three day camping £210.
Love Saves the Day
Line-up: Lily Allen, Chase & Status (DJ set), Jimothy Lacoste, Maribou State, Slowthai.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Bristol and UWE students on a post-exam rager, trotting out perfectly curated wavey garms, glitter, and hand movements perfected at the front of the Lakota dance floor.
Ticket Price: £55 day or £105 weekend.
Location: Houghton, Norfolk
Line-up: Antal, Ben UFO, Move D, Craig Richards, Midland, Prosumer, Four Tet, Hunee, Joy Orbison.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? The vibe is heavy. The people can be too. Something you should know about Houghton is the music doesn’t stop from Friday-Sunday, so expect little to no sleep. The Houghton crowd is basically hot fleece-bois and very well dressed girls – mainly from London – who are very into their music. Everyone has money, and probably a signet ring, even if they’re too ashamed to wear it – hence the prosecco pop-ups and three course dinner in the lake-side restaurant (sounds OTT but would highly recommend).
The whole experience is best enjoyed with hallucinogens – it’s a woodland setting with a beautiful lake in the middle, and a huge quarry where some of the weekend’s best DJs play. Midland's Sunday set there last year famously had everyone dancing holding ferns in the air – an emotional end to the weekend.
There's no signal at all but you won't give a fuck when you're there, mainly because it's small enough to bump into people you know (and you will know A LOT of people). Houghton is hands down one of the best festivals around at the moment, but a word of warning – don’t go if you can't handle techno. Because boy does it go off.
Ticket Price: £187.00. Buy one here.
Location: Norton Disney, Lincolnshire
Line-up: Maribou State, Bicep, Richie Hawtin, David August, George Fitzgerald, Peggy Gou.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? The most Depop festival of them all. Bucket hats, K spoons, leopard flares, and Nike Air Max 97. They still do glitter and french plaits here. The crowd is a bit younger (think last year of uni and recent grads), but everyone’s fun and the line up is undeniably banging. Plus you can’t knock the effort and thought that goes into the production and the aesthetic of the whole thing (despite the branding being a little bit The Village).
Ticket Price: £187.50
Line-up: DJ EZ, Bugzy Malone, Andy C, Wilkinson, Shy FX, David Rodigan, My Nu Leng and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Usually made up of masses of Notts students enjoying finishing uni. You’d expect it to be smaller than it is, but the festival site is surprisingly big, with lots on at the same time. The acts don’t disappoint.
Ticket Price: From £45.
Location: Heaton Park, Manchester
Line-up: Cardi B, George Ezra, Solange, The Streets, Migos, Disclosure, Chase and Status, Mabel and more.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? 50 per cent students who’ve just finished their exams, 50 per cent locals who are there for a very good time. If you’re in Manchester you’d be a fool (a fool!) to miss Parklife.
Ticket Price: £69.50 day or £175 weekend VIP.
Line-up: Anne-Marie, Tinie Tempah, MK, Andy C, Sonny Fodera, Sigala, DJ EZ.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Fiat 500 girls with bright outfits and crystals on their faces, and lads with shit shirts who like making *that* pose with their hands.
Ticket Price: £130 third release.
Location: Lowther Deer Park, Lake District
Line-up: Courteneers, Doves, Manic Street Preachers, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Orbital, Years & Years, Tom Jones.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? Very wholesome, family vibes. Nice people in white shirts and hats that won’t get dirty, though you might get a bit of chun on them if you have one too many before the fairground rides, you rascal.
Ticket Price: Adult weekend camping £148.
Location: Henver, Kent
Line-up: Craig David, TS5, The Vaccines, Mystery Jets, Professor Green, etc.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? This "unpretentious" festival describes itself as "a spectacular immersive kingdom of music, party and wonder." Annie Mac called it a "mini Glastonbury" and pretty much everyone there will be in mad fancy dress.
Ticket Price: £158.40 adult weekend ticket.
Cocoon in the Park
Line-up: Sven Vath, Patrick Topping, Eats Everything, Alan Fitzpatrick, Enzo Siragusa, Rich NXT, Annie Erres, Bobby O’Donnell.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? It’s the last one ever following their 10th anniversary last year. Lots of white people with their tops off, fist pumping to electrobeatz.
Ticket Price: £55 third release.
Location: Worthy Farm
Line-up: Stormzy, Kylie, The Killers, The Cure, Liam Gallagher and literally everyone else.
What’s the vibe and who’s going? It’s Glastonbury. All the tickets are gone. You’re either going or you’re not, and if you’re lucky enough to have tickets there’s nothing this festival guide can add. If you bagged tickets and need a guide to the vibe, Lord help you.
Ticket Price: They sold out in seconds, sorry pal.